Zero Install: Run software without installing them on Windows PC

If you are annoyed by the cumbersome and time taking installation process of the downloaded software, Zero Install is the best program for you to try. Instead of installing the software on your system, you can simply catch them and use whenever you want; without downloading them again. Moreover, if any software is not cached in Zero Install it will automatically download it to your Windows PC.

zero install

Zero Install allows user to use software directly from the web without installing it on the computer system. Users do not actually need to download, extract and install the software to use it. Zero Install can run it without the need of privileged roots.

Zero Install caches the software when it is downloaded from the internet the first time, and the program then runs the software from the cache. Zero Install uses the URL of a program and runs it on your computer system. In other words,it allows the user to use the software directly from their web-sites. The application unpacks its own directory inside the cache, and you can access the software.

Zero Install is cross-platform, and it can install the packages in system locations which do not require administrator access and affects only the user installing it, thus all the users of a PC can install the package and run any new software. Furthermore,it does not need any root password to install the software on PC.

How to Use Zero Install

  • Just download the required version from 0install and install it on your computer system. It won’t take more than a few second to install if you have a decent speed internet connection.
  • Zero Install has a big collection of apps in ‘Catalogue’ where you can look and run any app without installing it on your system.
  • If you like any application, you can add it to the list of ‘My Applications’ for easy access next time.
  • You can also add any new application to the list.

Zero Install identifies all packages from URLs, and there is no centralized distribution repository to store the cache. When you install a different version of any software, it shares library and both files are stored parallel in the library. Each downloaded program is stored in its own cache directory within the Zero Install program. It also checks for the updates automatically whenever you run software and receive the latest software versions automatically without any reinstall or restart.

Zero Install defies an XML metadata format which can be used multiple platforms like Mac OS X, FreeBSD, Fedora, Debian, Ubuntu and Windows. You can download it here.

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Shiwangi is a qualified writer and a blogger, who loves to dabble with and write about computers. While focusing on and writing on technology topics, her varied skills and experience enables her to write on any topics which may interest her. Creating a System Restore Point first before installing a new software, and being careful about any third-party offers while installing freeware is recommended.


  1. Well, of course, as usual, Ms Shiwangi brings us yet another excellent tip. However… I dunno… I just think it might be taking portability (’cause that’s really what it is, but with even less permanence and more bandwidth usage) a bit too far. Would it kill us to download the portable version, move it from the Download folder to wherever it will run from, and then just let it sit there, with a shortcut set to it, for future use?

    Hmm. Maybe I’m not looking at it right, but that’s kinda’ what I’m thinkin’.

    But, hey… what do I know. [grin]

    Gregg L. DesElms
    Napa, California USA
    gregg at greggdeselms dot com

  2. thuya199

    I downloaded it and installed.Nothing happen when i search for a software in catalog tab.What have i done wrong?

  3. Cannot register in English it reverts to German

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