Whenever you download software for Windows on the Internet there is a chance that you get more than you hoped for.
I'm talking about adware that developers but also download portals add to programs to earn revenue.
While you could distinguish between adware added by software developers and adware added by download portals, the end result is the same as users who install these programs on their systems will receive third-party offers unrelated to the program they are trying to install.
That in itself would not be problematic but the way these offers are presented often is. Most of the time, these offers are selected by default which means that any user clicking next next next during installation may end up with toolbars, replaced search providers, a new homepage or software running in the background.
Safe havens are available. Some download portals, Softpedia for instance, don't use download wrappers. That does not mean that you should trust software blindly downloaded from those portals as applications may still ship with adware.
Ninite is a safe solution, at least for the more than 100 programs that you can download from the site. All programs offered on the site are free of adware.
When you first visit the website, a list of all supported programs is displayed to you. Select the programs that you want to install on your computer and click get installer to download it to your system. The installer itself is a stub which means that the programs that you have selected are downloaded by it once you run it on a PC.
The installation itself happens silently in the background. Considering that you can install multiple programs this way in one go, you may also save some time using Ninite because of this. Programs are installed to their default locations and if the target system is 64-bit, 64-bit versions are installed if available.
The two main advantages of Ninite are that the company guarantees adware free installation of software and that you can install multiple programs without user interaction on the system.
As far as program support is concerned, you find lots of popular programs supported by Ninite. From Chrome and Firefox over Steam and KeePass 2 to Sumatra PDF, 7-Zip and Dropbox.
The software is sorted in categories and you will notice that alternatives are provided. While the selection is quite good, you may notice that popular programs are not listed. Bandizip, an excellent archiver, SMPlayer, one of my favorite media players, or the Opera web browser are not offered currently.
This does not necessarily have to be Ninite's fault as developers or companies may forbid the inclusion of their programs on the site.
It does mean however that you may not find all programs that you want to install supported by Ninite.
Tip: Run the installer again at a later point in time to install program updates. You could create a new Task using the Windows Task Scheduler to run the installer regularly on the system to install updates automatically. The installer window will pop up each time it is run.
Ninite Pro and Updater
The company behind Ninite offers two paid programs. Ninite Pro is designed for businesses. It starts at $20 per month for up to 100 machines and comes with a business license. It offers PC management, disables update notifications from installed programs, allows you to download once only to distribute to PCs locally, offline installer support, support for additional programs (Microsoft .NET for instance), or software audits to display all machines and whether programs on them are up to date.
Find out more about Ninite Pro on this page on the official website.
Ninite Updater on the other hand is a background program available for $9.99 per year that monitors installed programs and checks for updates regularly. When updates are found, they are downloaded and installed.
Ninite is an excellent program especially if you run it on new machines as it is likely that you will install multiple of the supported programs on it anyway.
Not only do you save time in the process, you can also be sure that adware won't end up on your system after running the Ninite installer.
Probably the biggest issue of Ninite is the low number of applications it supports. The selection has not changed that much since our initial review of the service back in 2009 when it was still called Volery.
Another issue that some users may have with Ninite is that it gives you no control over the installation. You cannot change the installation directory or pick from a list of setup options if provided by the program itself.
Ninite is an excellent solution if you plan to install one or multiple of the supported programs on a machine running the Windows operating system.
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Ghacks is a technology news blog that was founded in 2005 by Martin Brinkmann. It has since then become one of the most popular tech news sites on the Internet with five authors and regular contributions from freelance writers.