Microsoft releases Winget 1.3 with portable apps, documentation, and install notes support

Windows Package Manager in the Microsoft tore

Microsoft has released a big update for Windows Package Manager, also known as winget. Version 1.3 is now available with an impressive list of new features and capabilities, such as portable apps support, install notes and associated documentation, an improved progress bar, and others.

What is new in Windows Package Manager (winget) 1.3?

Manifest Improvements

Display Documentation

Some packages include documentation associated with a package version. You will now be able to see the documentation and an associated URL when you run winget show .

Winget showing package-related documentation

Installation Notes

Most command-line packages require a terminal restart for the environment variables to be loaded. Some other packages have nuances related to what a user should understand before running them the first time. Installation notes will be displayed after the package is installed. We’ve also added arguments and settings to manage these notes. The default behavior is to display these notes. You can add “suppressInstallNotes” as a setting to prevent them from being displayed. You can also pass “–display-notes” or “–suppress-notes” to override settings.

Expected Return Code Response URL

Most .exe-based installers can provide custom responses for various failure scenarios. We’ve added an enhancement to provide not only a standard error message, but now a URL can also be included. We’re hoping this will help with troubleshooting why something didn’t go quite right. Manifest authors can add a “ReturnResponseURL” to the array of “InstallerReturnCode” values.

New Settings

The Windows Package Manager settings file is opened with your default JSON editor when you run winget settings. If you happen to have Visual Studio Code installed and configured, you also get the benefit of the JSON schema for tooltips and code completion. If you don’t, you can run winget install vscode.

Installation Notes

The Windows Package Manager was designed to behave in a predictable manner by default and give users the ability to customize those behaviors. The “suppressInstallNotes” setting was added for users who prefer not to see install notes included in manifests.

Verbose Logs

If you add “–verbose-logs” to any command, the Windows Package Manager adds additional information to the logs. This is often helpful for troubleshooting or digging deeper into exactly what the Windows Package Manager is doing. Users can now specify what level of logging they want. The “Logging” levels available are “verbose”, “info”, “warning”, “error”, and “critical”.

New Version Reporting

Some packages like the Microsoft .NET SDK display versions to users that are slightly different from their build numbers. Unfortunately, this caused confusion during the upgrade process, and it caused frustration for manifest authors. The Windows Package Manager will now honor the preferred version publishers would like to display, and the tooling will still be able to make the correct comparisons when determining if a newer version is available.

In the example below from Windows Apps & Features, you can see the Microsoft .NET Runtime packages and the Microsoft .NET SDK package versions displayed start with “6.0”. The but the Microsoft .NET SDK version below the display name starts with “6.3”. Manifests can now use the display version (“packageVersion” in the manifest) to show users what version is installed or which upgrade is available, but it can still use the build version (“displayVersion” manifest key from the registry and “AppsAndFeatures” from the manifest) for comparison.

Windows 11 Settings showing different version of single app

Display System Architecture

Not all packages run natively on every architecture. Sometimes packages are run under emulation. We’ve updated winget –info so it now displays the system architecture so you can quickly see what architecture your hardware has. This might help with troubleshooting why a particular package doesn’t have a matching installer, or why it might not behave exactly as you expect.

Winget showing system architecture using winget --info command

An Even Better Progress Bar

One of our most popular features is the customizable progress bar. Thanks to a community contribution, it just got better. Additional fine-grained blocks make that progress bar buttery smooth. If you didn’t know, you can customize your progress bar in settings. I use:

“visual”: {“progressBar”: “rainbow”}

Don’t worry, all the styles get the improved progress bar.

Support for Portable Packages

Is there a portable package you wish you could manage with the Windows Package Manager? These are essentially just executable programs that don’t have an installer. Maybe you would like to winget install Microsoft.NuGet or winget upgrade Microsoft.NuGet. We wanted to make sure you could manage these portable packages, so we add the appropriate entries in Windows Apps & Features when you install them. That allows you to see them as installed applications. You can even uninstall them from there if you don’t want to type winget uninstall Microsoft.NuGet.

Uninstall via Apps & Features

Note: We’ve added Microsoft.NuGet to the repository so you can test this out. It will fail on Windows Package Manager versions lower than 1.3 as shown in the image below.

In addition to releasing Windows Package Manager 1.3, Microsoft announced it would soon start accepting portable package submissions. It should take another week as the company finishes rolling out the update to all users via the Microsoft Store. For now, portable package submissions remain blocked.

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