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Modern web development projects have tons of dependencies. Making sure those dependencies stay consistent over time and across development environments can be a true nightmare. Handling that is the job of package managers like npm, pnpm, or yarn.

But what manages the package manager? How do you ensure that your collaborators, development environments, continuous integration environments, and even individual projects within a monorepo don't throw surprises at you after using an old version of your package manager? Or even the wrong package manager entirely?

This is the problem that corepack solves for you. Configured correctly, corepack lets you guarantee that a given package always uses the same version of pnpm or yarn for package management tasks.

How to use corepack

Corepack comes with Node >=14.19 and >=16.9, but it is not enabled by default.

You'll need to run corepack enable to turn it on in all of your development and continuous integration environments.

All you have to do after that is set the packageManager field in all of your project's package.json files. You'll need to set it to an exact version of pnpm or yarn. For example:

	"name": "your-amazing-project",
	"version": "1.2.3",
	"packageManager": "[email protected]"

And that's it!

You can also use corepack to set the fallback (global) package manager version, to use when you aren't inside of a project that has the packageManager field set. To do that, run corepack prepare [email protected] --activate (substituting in whatever version of pnpm/yarn you want to use).

Issues and Ambiguities

Do I have to set "packageManager" in all projects of a monorepo?

Nope! You can just set "packageManager" in your monorepo's root package.json file. Corepack will ensure that package manager version is used no matter which of your monorepo's subfolders or projects you're working within.

What if my current working directory is not the same as the package.json folder?

Wherever you're running pnpm or yarn from, corepack will use the nearest package.json file that contains a packageManager field. It'll skip package.json files that do not include that field, and keep searching up the tree for one that does. If no such case is found it falls back on the global version.

Does corepack also work with npm?

, no, corepack only works with pnpm and yarn.

If I add the "packageManager" field, will corepack "just work"?

As long as corepack has been enabled (which does not happen automatically!), corepack will invisibly make sure your "packageManager" field is respected. It'll just work!

How do I fix Internal Error: EPERM: operation not permitted when enabling corepack on Windows?

Open the terminal as an administrator (e.g. by right-clicking the PowerShell or Windows Terminal icon and clicking "Run as Administrator"). Any time you run corepack directly in PowerShell you'll need to do so as an admin.