Updating the Anaconda metapackage

I just upgraded from Windows 10 to Windows 11 and wondered if I should update my version of Anaconda (installed in December 2020). Although Anaconda has a docs page on how to install and update versions, I also ran across an Anaconda blog [https://www.anaconda.com/blog/keeping-anaconda-date] that states, “Updating the Anaconda package is almost always a bad idea.”

This is very confusing. I realize that upgrading Anaconda can downgrade some packages, but I assume at some point you will want to upgrade. I would greatly appreciate any advice on when to update Anaconda (versus just running conda update --all) and a link to the proper procedure. Much Thanks.

Thanks for your question! I agree that it can be confusing. The way I think about it, if you want a particular set of packages that are all tested together as part of and included in our installer releases - then updating the anaconda metapackage to the latest version is the way to go. If you want all your installed packages updated to the latest possible always - then conda update --all is probably the better way to go. You’ll most likely want to set the anaconda metapackage version to custom though before you start making lots of other changes - that keeps it from pinning the versions of any of the packages included in it. Personally, I tend to do a mix of both depending on the environment.

However, it is probably better advice to not use the base environment as your main working environment (that way you keep it stable and minimize the chance of “messing up” your conda installation). You can create a new environment with whatever version of the anaconda metapackage you want - or whatever other type of customized package set you’d like.