I know that the Python 3 version installed with ArcGIS Pro comes with a lot of bells and whistles as well as with Conda. However, without changing my system PATH, if I type pythonor condain my Command Prompt, then the commands are not found. Based on this, I am assuming that for some reason, it is not recommended to use the ArcGIS Pro Python install as the system default by adding it to the PATH.

I can add the link to the file path (C:\Program Files\ArcGIS\Pro\bin\Python\envs\arcgispro-py3\) to my system environment and then I can set this as the default Python install.

Should I install a separate Python installation for my system to work with non-ArcGIS projects?

Or more generically, is it recommended to use the ArcGIS Pro Python installation as the system wide Python installation for ALL kinds of projects (including those not using arcpy)?

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    To access the python3 arc pro environment you have to call that explicitly. There is a shortcut in the Windows start menu. You'll open a dos shell and can start idle there for example. – Andreas Müller Nov 12 '19 at 19:13
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    I don't think your assumption is valid. It's much more likely that the PATH wasn't changed because the installer did not want to break existing apps. – Vince Nov 12 '19 at 22:05
  • @Vince: I did not have another Python installation at the time. So, I don't think the installer skipped setting my PATH. – DotPi Nov 13 '19 at 15:14
  • The ArcGIS installer never tries to modify the PATH. Hence the need to specify the Python install directly. – Vince Nov 13 '19 at 16:44

This question is going to be closed because it is too broad. The short answer is it depends on what you want to do. The default installation of Pro Python only lets you install third-party packages that ESRI approves of (like geopandas). This is a walled garden situation and you may find your Python powers limited since you will not have the full power of other packages available to you. If you plan to limit yourself to the arcpy world this would be just fine.

You can make a copy version of Python for Pro which you can then add unapproved libraries to. This version needs to be installed in your user directories. If you work on a network this version of Python will need to be moved back and forth every time you log into your computer. On my Citrix machine a large profile risks profile corruption. When this happens it take me a day or two to rebuild all my application defaults.

Of course you can always run your scripts as stand-alone scripts from a Python IDE like Wing or Komodo. These IDEs let you switch back and forth from different Python installations in the environment settings quickly.

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  • This is the answer I was looking for. Thanks. It is too bad if the question gets closed. I am sure others have the same questions as well. – DotPi Nov 12 '19 at 21:07

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