How I Organize Manual Installed Programs on Windows

The Background

Under normal circumstances, we can download a program from the internet, followed by the standard Windows installation procedure. In otherwords, from downloading to installing to using the program, it is a matter of a few clicks. (The computer “sorts it out” for us).

The Challenge

Recently I have to manually install programs on my Windows 8.1. i.e. Download a ZIP file (to the local Windows download directory), extract it, and store the executables “somewhere” on the computer. Once installed to that “somewhere”, we need to append the path-name to the Environmental variable PATH so that Windows knows where to call it from when we invoke the executable (.exe file).

The Solution / Inspiration

This YouTube video (FFMPEG: Installing FFMPEG On Windows) has inspired me an easy way to organize these manual Installs.

Organize my Manual Installs

To keep things tidy I have formulated my own little “standard” (I will just have to stick to it for a while to see if it is a good standard or not!):

  • create c:\my_bins.
  • inside this my_bins directory, create a folder for each manual-installed programs. (e.g. youtube-dl, ffmpeg, etc.)
  • inside the program folder (e.g. C:\my_bins\ffmpeg), copy and paste the files to here.
  • ideally, the .exe files will be under a folder called bin. e.g. inside C:\my_bins\ffmpeg\bin it may contains a bunch of .exe files which we wish to call from command prompts / Git Bash.
  • append the search path to the PATH user environmental variable. e.g. C:\my_bins\ffmpeg\bin.
  • restart the command prompt (or Git Bash). We should now be able to call the executables (the programs) directly – from anywhere of the file system.


This post summarizes a formula that I use to organize manual-installed programs, on Windows machine. (I believe similar principles may also be applied to other platforms / operating systems.

OpenCV Tutorial – Real-Time Object Tracking without Color

An insightful video OpenCV Tutorial by Kyle Hounslow written in C++ (MS Visual Studio):

Some key concepts to take away:

  • handy to have a debugMode for ease of investigations.
  • convert color video into grayscale. Find the moving object defined by “changed pixels”.
  • use “blurring” to make the fast moving object easier to visualize.
  • make use of the keyboard for greater controls. e.g. p for pause/un-pause, t for track/un-track, etc.

All credits go to Kyle Hounslow.