How to run Anaconda side by side with other Pythons

The Anaconda distribution of Python packs a great many libraries and tools for data science and scientific computing under a single roof. Its appeal goes beyond scientific number crunching, though. Anaconda is also useful as a general purpose Python distribution.

But Anaconda comes with its share of snares and subtleties. What if you’re using Anaconda alongside other Python distributions, and you don’t want them stepping on each other’s toes? How do you integrate Anaconda effectively with your other Python tooling, like IDEs? And if you decide you just want to use regular Python, how do you remove Anaconda without breaking anything else?

In this article, we’ll look at how to set up and work with Anaconda alongside conventional versions of Python on the same system. This article assumes you already have some version of Python installed and you have a basic working knowledge of Python before getting started. Note also that most of the guidance here pertains to running Anaconda on Microsoft Windows.

Setting up Anaconda with other Pythons

When you run the Anaconda installer, you won’t be greeted with a great many options. But the few options you are presented with make all the difference when getting Anaconda to coexist with other Python installations.

The first option worth changing is in the “Select Installation Type” menu, where you choose between installing Anaconda for Just Me or All Users. If you’re on a computer where you have admin privileges, choosing All Users makes life a great deal easier, so select that option if you can. If you choose Just Me, the default choice is a subdirectory in your user profile, which may be a little harder to find by default, but is still accessible as long as you know the path.

anaconda setup 0 IDG

Choose the All Users install option if possible, as this will allow you more freedom in terms of where to place the Anaconda directory.

On the next menu page, you’ll be given the chance to change the directory where Anaconda is installed. To make Anaconda easily accessible, place it in a directory (where you have write permissions) that is as high up on the drive as possible. For instance, on my system, I have the D: drive reserved for applications, so I use D:Anaconda3 as my Anaconda install directory. You may not be able to use a directory off the root of a drive if you’re installing as Just Me, but the simpler the path to Anaconda, the better.

Copyright © 2020 IDG Communications, Inc.

Source link