Installing the Anaconda Python Distribution on Windows 10



The Anaconda Python distribution contains the core Python programming language, the Spyder and JupyterLab IDEs and the most common libraries for data science such as numpy, pandas and matplotlib.

It can be installed on Windows using the basic installer. If you are instead using Linux follow the instructions here:

There are usually no installation issues on a clean install of Windows. Installation issues usually arise when there is an old Anaconda installation present. The uninstaller does not purge the system of all the old configuration files which may reintroduce a problem after a reinstallation if they are problematic. I have included additional instructions to uninstall and purge an old installation in this scenario.

Uninstalling Anaconda

Anaconda can be uninstalled from Apps and Features. Right click the Start Button and select Apps and Features:

Select Anaconda3 and then select Uninstall:

Select Uninstall:

Select Next:

Select Uninstall:

Select Next:

Select Next:

Select Reboot Now and then Finish:

Uninstall Kite

Kite can also be uninstalled from Apps & Features:

Select Uninstall:

Accept the User Account Control Prompt:

Select Close:

Purging the Anaconda Configuration

Unfortunately when Anaconda is uninstalled, it leaves a lot of configuration files behind. Sometimes one of these files can be corrupted or have bad settings which will be retained when Anaconda is reinstalled.

To get to these type in the following in the Windows Explorer Address Bar:


Ensure Hidden Files are Enabled.

Then delete the .conda, .ipython, .jupyter, .matplotlib, .spyder-py3, anaconda3 folders and the .condarc file:

Now type the following into the Windows Explorer Address Bar:


Delete the .anaconda, jupyter and kite folders:

Press [Alt] + [↑] to go up a folder and then select the Local Subfolder instead of the Roaming subfolder.

Delete the conda, Kite, pip and Spyder folders (do not delete the Packages folder).

Installing Anaconda

The Anaconda Individual installer can be downloaded from the Anaconda website:

The latest version 2020-11 Windows installer is only compatible with Windows 10 (Windows 7 and Windows 8.1 have reached end of life and end of mainstream support respectively). Select 64 Bit installer:

Double click the Anaconda installer:

Select Next:

Select I Agree:

Select "Just Me" and then Next:

By default an Anaconda3 folder will be created in your user directory. Note installation may fail if there is a space in your user directory. Select Next:

Use the default options and select Install:

Select Next:

Select Next:

You can opt to view the getting started tutorials. Select Finish:

Installing Kite

Spyder will prompt for the installation of Kite during it's first launch. It is faster to download the installer and install it before launching Spyder.

Kite can be downloaded from:

Double click the Kite setup:

Accept the User Account Control Prompt:

Kite will install:

Provide an optional email and select Continue. Or select Continue without Email:

Select let's go:

Updating Anaconda to the Latest Version

To update the Anaconda Python distribution (including Spyder) to the latest version. Type in:

conda update anaconda

Type in:


You should now have the latest version of Anaconda:

It is worthwhile checking periodically for updates using the same command above.

Updating JupyterLab to the Latest Version

The version of JupyterLab preinstalled with the standalone Anaconda installer is outdated. Newer versions are available on conda forge (third party repositories). There are two versions, Version 2.x (current) and Version 3.x (development). To update to the latest Version 3.0 (new features) instead open the Anaconda Powershell Prompt and type in:

conda install -c conda-forge jupyterlab=3

Type in:


JupyterLab Version 3 should now be installed:

It is worthwhile checking periodically for updates using the same command above.

Launching the Anaconda Navigator

Start menu shortcuts are available in Windows for the Anaconda Navigator, Spyder and Jupyter Notebook.

Launch the Anaconda Navigator:

It will take some moments to initialise during first launch.

Anaconda Navigator – High DPI and Zoom Problem

The Anaconda Navigator has a setting "Enable High DPI Scaling" which is supposed to scale it properly on a High DPI screen. Unfortunately it does not work well on high DPI screens which use a zoom of 150 %-200 % such as newer Dell XPS models and the tiles may be too large with only a fraction of the Anaconda Navigator displaying.

To resolve this, select File and Preferences:

Look for "Enable high DPI scaling" and uncheck it:

On my XPS 13, the Preferences Window did not display properly and I could not access the checkbox or the Apply button. Press [Alt] + [F4] to close down the Anaconda Navigator.

This setting can be change manually by pasting in the following into the Windows Explorer Address Bar:


This will take you to the anaconda navigator configuration file.

Right click anaconda-navigator and select Edit:

Here you will be able to change enable_high_DPI_scaling from True to False.

Once this is done, the Anaconda Navigator should display as normal.

Spyder Settings

Spyder can be launched from its own Start Menu shortcut or from the Spyder tile in the Anaconda Navigator:

If an update is available, select OK. To update Spyder you should use the Anaconda navigator alongside the command as seen before.

conda update anaconda

Note the Anaconda Python distribution may take a week or two to display the latest Spyder update.

By default it will be configured with the dark theme:

This and other settings can be changed by selecting Tools → Preferences:

If you have a high DPI screen, you can Enable the Auto High DPI Scaling setting in the General Menu. Unlike the same setting in Anaconda Navigator this setting works on a high DPI screen with a 150-200 % Zoom:

In the Appearance, Spyder Dark can be changed to Spyder:

By default Spyder 4 runs all scripts in their own namespace. If you wish to access variables from the console in a script, check "Run in Console's Namespace instead of an empty one" in the Run tab:

If beginning, you can change the settings in the Editor tab to show indent guides and blank spaces:

Select OK once you have changed the Preferences:

Spyder 4 will relaunch with the preferences:

These are guides I wrote when first learning Python coming from a MATLAB background. The guides written using the JupyterLab IDE are a better quality as I had an additional year of Python experience.

JupyterLab Settings

JupyterLab can be launched from its tile the Anaconda Navigator. JupyterLab is browser based and so will automatically use the settings of the Browser when it comes to display:

More details about the JupyterLab IDE can be found in the interactive JupyterLab Notebook files on GitHub: