Installing and uninstalling programs on Windows can be easy and quick when it’s just a one-off, but what about when you need to perform these actions in bulk? It can be a hassle and a time-consuming process, so we’re going to teach you how to do it quickly.
There’s nothing inherently wrong with downloading and installing programs one by one or using the native Windows uninstaller to remove them. Actually, it’s sometimes better for single instances to do it like that, but it’s not efficient en masse.
Here’s how to install and uninstall Windows programs in bulk.
Installing a single program might take a couple of minutes out of your day, but imagine how much time you’re burning when doing that multiple times over. The problem is that you have to sit at the desk, manually clicking through the prompts and downloading the necessary files.
This could happen when you get a new system, wipe your current one, or are setting up a network of devices. There’s really no need to go through the repetitiveness thanks to a couple of excellent utilities at your disposal: Windows Package Manager and Ninite.
In 2020, Microsoft introduced the Windows Package Manager (known as winget). It’s a tool that lets you install programs via a command line, and is available on Windows 10 and Windows 11.
To use it, perform a system search for Command Prompt, then right-click the result and select Run as administrator. First, you need to find out the ID of the programs you wish to install. To see a list of everything A to Z, input the following:
winget search | sort
For a more refined result, search via the program’s name with the following command:
winget search app
Replace “app” with the name of the program (e.g., “Zoom” or “Firefox”). This will output a list of all programs that match the search term. Find the program you want and grab its ID. Then, run the following command, replacing “id” with what you just found.
winget install id
But we’re here to do this in bulk. As such, use the following command, again replacing “id”. This example installs three programs, but you can repeat the formatting to install as many as you wish.
winget install id -e && winget install id -e && winget install id -e
If you want to avoid trawling through Command Prompt to find package IDs and manually building your own batch script, that’s completely understandable. Use wininstall, which lets you select the programs you want (and choose from pre-built packs), then copy the code into Command Prompt.
If you found Windows Package Manager too complicated, that’s understandable. An alternative is to use Ninite, a third-party utility that installs Windows programs in bulk.
The only downside is that Ninite doesn’t offer an as exhaustive list as Windows Package Manager, but it does have some of the most popular programs: browsers, messengers, image editors, security software, and more.
On the Ninite website, check the programs you want, then click Get Your Ninite. It compiles a unique executable and all you have to do is run it. You don’t have to press anything else; it installs everything in the background.
Ninite automatically detects the bit version of your operating system, meaning compatibility isn’t a worry. It’ll also decline any bloatware the installer might want to attach, meaning you get exactly what you ask for.
Conversely, you might want to remove many programs at once. The Windows uninstaller is serviceable, but it isn’t excellent. It can sometimes leave folders and bits of data left over; occasionally it might run into a bug that stops it from uninstalling something altogether.
There are many programs available that help you uninstall in bulk, but let’s take a look at two of the most popular: Absolute Uninstaller and IObit Uninstaller.
Absolute Uninstaller is a tool to remove programs without a trace. Download the free program and run the installer. Once launched, Absolute Uninstaller compiles a list of everything installed on your system.
Although you can remove individual programs, that’s not what we’re here for. From the top menu, select Batch Uninstall and checkboxes will appear next to every program. Check everything you want removed and press Uninstall Checked Programs when you’re ready.
You can also use the buttons on the left to sort the programs by those recently installed, rarely used, and large in file size. Handily, you can even filter to Windows apps and get rid of those which came preinstalled on your system.
IObit Uninstaller is another free tool that can bulk uninstall Windows programs. Download the file and run the installer—be sure to uncheck the IObit Recommendation bloatware.
IObit Uninstaller shows you everything installed on the system, including the program’s size, install date and version. To remove in bulk, check next to the programs you wish to uninstall. It’ll keep track of how many programs you’ve checked at the top, along with their total file size. When ready, click Uninstall.
Like Absolute, IObit lets you sort by programs recently installed, large, and infrequently used.
Once you’ve discovered the ability to install and uninstall in bulk, then you won’t go back to the standard method. It’s so quick and simple to do it all at once. System admins will find the ability to deploy the same set of programs to multiple computers a joy, while trigger-happy installers will love the ability to swiftly ditch some useless downloads and manufacturer bloatware.