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Starting from scratch with Windows 10 Anniversary Update

Author by Carl Schweitzer

A lot of developers and IT Pros love starting from scratch instead of upgrading between versions of an OS. Even though Windows 10 has greatly enhanced the upgrade experience, sometimes we want to install the new bits fresh ourselves. The only problem is installing all of our tools and programs again. Two related technologies come to the rescue to help this be as painless as possible!

Chocolatey is a service that lets us install applications from the command line. We can type "choco install xxx" into the command line and the latest version of application xxx will get installed! Chocolatey contains a directory of applications that we can search through. App developers can submit their applications to be included. Most desktop applications that we can think of have already been submitted, if not, you can submit it.

Boxstarter is a technology that uses Chocolatey in order to install multiple applications in one fell swoop. We start by creating a Boxstarter script. The Boxstarter application installs each application, one after another, until your computer has all that it needs. Boxstarter can also change Windows settings, as well as restart your computer and pick up where it left off.

One of the best Boxstarter features is the ability to host your script in the cloud. By doing so, you can launch all of this from a URL! It will install itself from Internet Explorer or Edge. Lets look at my script that is hosted as a GitHub Gist:

Now we can add that url as a parameter to the Boxstarter base install URL, paste it into IE or Edge, and start the installation process!

Obviously, it will take a while for all the applications to install, but this is easier than installing these manually, plus we get the added benefit of knowing that we are getting the latest versions of all of these applications onto our fresh installation of Windows 10.