Quickly setup any machine with one simple command

Perhaps you have a common collection of apps and settings that you would like to install on any machine you have to work on. You don't want to have to always carry thumb drives or memorize complicated commands and URLs.

Boxstarter makes this process a snap!

Step One

Compose the installation:
Set-ExplorerOptions -showHidenFilesFoldersDrives -showProtectedOSFiles -showFileExtensions

cinst fiddler4
cinst git-credential-winstore
cinst console-devel
cinst sublimetext2
cinst poshgit
cinst dotpeek

cinst Microsoft-Hyper-V-All -source windowsFeatures
cinst IIS-WebServerRole -source windowsfeatures

Its simply Chocolatey
If you are already familiar with Chocolatey, you will recognize the syntax. this is going to configure Windows Explorer in a way that wont drive you crazy, allow you to use remote desktop to connect to the machine, install a handfull of apps that you commonly use and install Hyper-V's virtualization host and the IIS web server.

Boxstarter can run any Chocolatey package. The only difference as far as the script is concerned is that your script also has access to Boxstarter's API for configuring windows, running updates as well as logging and reboot control.

Step Two

Save your script
You have lots of options here. Boxstarter supports:
  • Saving to as a package on any Nuget feed.
  • Saving a package to a Network share or any local media such as a thumb drive.
  • Saving to a single text file or any text based HTTP resource (like a github gist)
We'll stay simple here and save to a Github Gist.

After saving the gist, well click the "View Raw" link

Now we will copy the raw URL:

We can always return to http://gist.github.com to easily find our script.

Step Three

Run the script
In either Internet Explorer (other browsers likely will not work) or from a console (CMD or Powershell), invoke the Boxstarter launcher:
START http://boxstarter.org/package/nr/url?https://gist.github.com/mwrock/7382880/raw/f6525387b4b524b8eccef6ed4d5ec219c82c0ac7/gistfile1.txt
Note this URL is a simple Boxstarter url: http://boxstarter.org/package/nr/url. The /nr/ tells boxstarter not to reboot the machine. Depending on what you are installing, you may not want to include that. Especially if you are including more heavy weight applications, frameworks or windows updates.

We add our raw gist URL to the boxstarter url separated by a '?'.

This invokes a Boxstarter installer that will install everything according to your script.
If not already installed, this will install Chocolatey and any of its prerequisites. If you did not include /nr/ in the boxstarter url, it will manage reboots and automatically log the machine back in so you do not have to attend to it throughout the installation.

Other facts about the Boxstarter web installer:
  • You can also install any package on the public chocolatey.org feed as well as the Boxstarter community feed on Myget.org. To install these packages, use the package name instead of URL. So if you wanted to install FireFox, you would use http://boxstarter.org/package/nr/firefox.
  • As briefly noted above, by default the web launch urls will not work outside of internet explorer or from the START command if IE is not your default browser. You need to install a "Click-Once" extension for chrome or firefox to invoke the launcher.

Last edited Nov 10, 2013 at 6:32 AM by mwrock, version 12