How To Create a Configuration Package

How To Create a Configuration Package

Some people are surprised when they learn that Chocolatey packages don’t always install software.

Sometimes, you may want to apply configuration to software you’ve installed. Sometimes, you just need to drop a file into the right place.

In this how-to, we’ll talk about how to make a package that doesn’t install anything - and just applies configuration.

What Is a Configuration Package

A configuration package, predictably, applies configuration during the installation stage. You can also use this sort of package to drop files into the right place.

Why Would I Want To Use One?

An example of a basic configuration package would be a package that drops a license file to the right location on a computer, or a package that configures a web-server with some known values that you want to be used across a set of computers.

We actually suggest something like this for Chocolatey for Business customers to ensure their Chocolatey licenses are in-date and easily maintained!

Using Copy-Item (and Friends)

A lot of package types have Chocolatey helper-functions ready to be used. However, configuration and file-distributing packages don’t have specific functions shipped for the purpose.

We’ll be using built-in PowerShell functions and cmdlets instead, such as Copy-Item.

Creating a Configuration Package

In this example, we’re going to create an example package to license and configure an example application, helpfully titled exampleapp.

We can run choco new to create a basic package, and then remove everything we don’t need:

  1. Open your tutorials folder in VSCode.
  2. Press Ctrl+Shift+P or use the View menu and click on Command Palette.
  3. Select Chocolatey: Create new Chocolatey package.
  4. Give your package a name, e.g. example-config.
  5. Select the default template, and press Enter.

This should result in a new directory, containing the following files:

├── tools
│   ├── chocolateyBeforeModify.ps1
│   ├── chocolateyInstall.ps1
│   ├── chocolateyUninstall.ps1
│   ├── LICENSE.txt
│   ├── VERIFICATION.txt
├── example-config.nuspec

Delete the chocolateyBeforeModify.ps1, VERIFICATION.txt, and files from the folder structure.

You’ll want to open the example-config.nuspec file, and fill out the following fields in the metadata section if required:

  • packageSourceUrl: This can be removed, or updated with your source URL.
  • owners: This field shows who maintains the package - your name or username is appropriate!
  • authors: The authors of the software in question - this should be updated with your name or username.
  • projectUrl: The URL of the software in question - for this example package, this should be removed.
  • tags: Tags for the repository you’re publishing the package to. These can be updated however you prefer, though the Chocolatey Community Repository has some guidance on what is needed there.
  • summary: This is a summary of the package contents. For this example, you could add that this package will license and configure your example software.
  • description: This is a description of the package contents, and generally contains more detail than the summary - including things like package parameters. It supports markdown. We won’t be dealing with anything that complex here!

You can now fill or remove any other commented out sections of the example-config.nuspec file, if you want. Your file should end up looking something like this:

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="utf-8"?>
<!-- Do not remove this test for UTF-8: if “Ω” doesn’t appear as greek uppercase omega letter enclosed in quotation marks, you should use an editor that supports UTF-8, not this one. -->
<package xmlns="">
    <title>Example Configuration</title>
    <tags>example config-only</tags>
    <summary>A package that configures 'example'</summary>
    <description>Further detail about the configuration that is applied, and any package parameters.</description>
    <file src="tools\**" target="tools" />

Creating Your Install Script

Install may be a bit of a misnomer, here, but as the script that runs when the package is “installed” is called chocolateyInstall.ps1, it seems appropriate.

The new package you have created will already have an install script in the tools directory.

You can remove the contents of the script, as it’s the familiar template - and we won’t be installing anything.

Instead, replace it with some sample content for our planned configuration:

$ErrorActionPreference = 'Stop'
$ToolsDir = Split-Path $MyInvocation.MyCommand.Definition -Parent

$ConfigDirectory = "C:\ProgramData\exampleapp\"

# Ensure the license directory exists
if (-not (Test-Path $ConfigDirectory)) {
    $null = New-Item $ConfigDirectory -ItemType Directory

# Copy the license to the correct path
Copy-Item -Path (Join-Path $ToolsDir "LICENSE.txt") -Destination $ConfigDirectory

# Backup the existing Configuration file, if it exists
$ConfigFile = Join-Path $ConfigDirectory "config.json"
if (Test-Path $ConfigFile) {
    Copy-Item $ConfigFile -Destination "$ConfigFile.backup"

# Write Configuration File
    LicensePath  = Join-Path $ConfigDirectory "LICENSE.txt"
    ComputerName = $env:ComputerName
} | ConvertTo-Json | Set-Content $ConfigFile

Considering Uninstallation

There’s no automatic procedure for uninstalling configuration. In this case, you can add an uninstall script that rolls back your changes.

If you wanted to do this, you would overwrite the contents of the chocolateyUninstall.ps1 script with something like this:

$ConfigDirectory = "C:\ProgramData\exampleapp\"
$LicensePath = Join-Path $ConfigDirectory "LICENSE.txt"
$ConfigPath = Join-Path $ConfigDirectory "config.json"

# Remove the license flie if it exists
if (Test-Path $LicensePath) {
    Remove-Item $LicensePath

# Remove the config file if it exists
if (Test-Path $ConfigPath) {
    Remove-Item $ConfigPath

# And restore the backup, if it exists
if (Test-Path "$ConfigPath.backup") {
    Move-Item "$ConfigPath.backup" -Destination $ConfigPath

# Clean up the config directory, if it's empty
if (-not (Get-ChildItem $ConfigDirectory)) {
    Remove-Item $ConfigDirectory


Please note that this uninstall script is quite naive, as you would need to consider updated backups and what state you would want to restore to.

Compiling Your Package

You can now run choco pack to compile your Chocolatey package, creating a file with a .nupkg extension, ready for installation!

  1. In VSCode, press Ctrl+Shift+P or use the View menu and click on Command Palette.
  2. Select Chocolatey: Package Chocolatey package(s) from the prompt.
  3. Select example-config.nuspec from the prompt.
  4. Press Enter, providing no additional input.

You should have a new package generated in your current working directory.

Installing Your Package

You can now test installation of your package.

In many cases, we would recommend testing on a dedicated test system that will not be affected by a package being installed - but as this package is entirely made up, there is nearly no consequence of installing and uninstalling it (assuming you don’t have an application called exampleapp that stores data in the way we’ve used, here).

In an elevated PowerShell command prompt, run the following:

choco install example-config --source='tutorials' -y

The command should run, and opening the C:\ProgramData\exampleapp directory should show your license and config file.

Uninstalling Your Package

If you did update the uninstall script, you should be able to run choco uninstall:

choco uninstall example-config -y

The package should be uninstalled successfully, and checking ProgramData should show that the exampleapp directory (and the contained files) should have been removed.


At this point, you should have a package that licenses and configures an (imaginary) application! Congratulations! Hopefully the lessons here can be applied to your more specific applications.