When you're moving to a new PC, the prospect of starting over becomes a bit daunting. For the most part, moving your files over isn't as much of a hassle; there are always backup services for that.

How to Transfer to a New PC Using Windows Backup
Easily transfer your data from your old PC to your new PC with Windows Backup.

But what about your apps? The prospect of going to the Microsoft Store or using the downloaded installers for all the apps you had on your previous PC is enough to give anyone a headache. However, with the right set of tools at your disposal, it doesn't have to be.

Use Winget to Install Apps

Windows already comes with a hidden tool that'll make it easy to move over your apps to your new PC. Winget (Windows Package Manager) is a command line tool in Windows that allows users to discover, install, upgrade, remove, and configure applications in Windows 11 and Windows 10 1709 (build 16299) or later. So, you don't need to use apps like Ninite or Chocolatey for this purpose.

With a single Winget command, you can download your favorite apps on your new PC without needing to manually download the apps from the Microsoft Store or from the Internet.

Winget is available on Windows as part of App Installer which can be downloaded from the Microsoft Store. Click on the 'Install' button to install the app on your PC. If it's already installed, make sure you're on the latest version.

With Winget installed on your PC, all you need to do is provide a single command with the IDs of all the apps you want to install on your new PC and a good Internet connection for Winget to download and install those apps.

So, all you really need are the app IDs. How would you get them? If you're someone who likes to be prepared in advance, you can use the Winget search command on your old PC to get the IDs of all the apps you would want on your PC. Then, you can simply store the Winget Install command somewhere, so you can use it on the new PC. But you can also use the search command on the new PC itself to get app IDs; it works the same.

The search command in Winget can show all the applications available for installation, and returns the string or ID you'll need to install the specific application.

  1. Open Command Prompt on your PC.
  2. Then, type winget search [appname] to run the command, where you'll replace the [appname] placeholder with the name of the app whose ID you need.

    For example, type winget search chrome and press 'Enter' to search for the Chrome browser.
  3. The first time you use Winget on your PC, you'll need to accept the terms and conditions. Type Y when prompted.
  4. Winget will return the applications available for installation with chrome in the description or tag, like Google Chrome, Google Chrome Canary, Google Chrome Dev, etc. Note down the ID in the Id column to use with the install command later.
  1. Similarly, you'll need IDs for all the apps you want to install.
  2. If you have too many apps that you want to bring over to your new PC, run the list command on your old PC instead. The list command will list all the applications currently installed on your PC. Type winget list and press 'Enter' and Winget will return the list of installed apps.
  3. Then, note down the 'IDs' of apps you'll want to install on your new PC.
  4. Now, on your new PC, use the install command with the IDs of all the apps you want to install separated by a space, like this winget install Google.Chrome Microsoft.PowerToys WhatsApp.WhatsApp and press the 'Enter' key.

And that's it. Windows Package Manager will get to the work of installing the apps while you do nothing.

If command-line tools are not your cup of tea, you can also use the WingetUI app which provides an interface for Winget and many other command-line tools.

Setting up a new PC can be a hassle. While you can use the installers from your old PC, stored in a USB drive or cloud like OneDrive, to install the apps on your new PC, it will still involve a lot of clicking. For users who want a swift way to install their apps, Winget is the best option.