Installing python to do off-platform project

I’m having trouble starting my first off-platform project. I’m trying to follow along the instructions to install and use python on my computer:

Here’s what confuses me:

  1. The directions keep saying to use the command prompt or PowerShell for windows, but the command line course only ever taught me about using Git Bash. Can I always use Git Bash when it says to use the command prompt or PowerShell?

  2. I follow the installing python for windows and I get to step 4: “Once complete, we can check that Python was installed correctly by opening a Command Prompt (CMD or PowerShell) and entering the command python --version. The latest Python 3.7 version number should print to the console.”, I tried doing the “python --version” command in control prompt, PowerShell, and Git Bash. It worked in all three. (not a question, just explaining how it’s going for me so far)

  3. Here’s where I get stuck: I next follow the instructions to install Miniconda on Windows. I download and install it, and now when I open the start menu on my computer, Anaconda PowerShell Prompt and Anaconda Prompt are new options. Are these different than the regular command prompt and PowerShell? Why are they separate applications for me to open? I don’t understand how to use them.

Continuing with this, when I try step 4, “Once complete, we can check that Miniconda was installed correctly by opening a Command Prompt (CMD or PowerShell) and entering the command conda list. This will print a list of packages installed by Miniconda.” I tried this in the original command prompt, PowerShell, and Git Bash and it doesn’t work. However, in the Anaconda Prompt and Anaconda PowerShell Prompt, the “conda list” DOES work. Why doesn’t it work in CMD, PowerShell, and Git Bash?

Further, the next step is to,
"Running Your First Python Script
With a Python installation complete, let’s try out our new development environment by writing and executing our first script.

Open a Terminal (if on Mac) or Command Prompt (if on Windows) and browse to a directory of your choice.

Create a new file called and open it with your favorite text editor.

Copy and paste the following code and save the file.
print(“I’m running Python code on my own environment!”)"

When it says to use the “Command Prompt,” is it referring to the original Command Prompt or the Anaconda Prompt? I don’t know how to use either. In Git Bash, I know how to make a file using, “touch”. I did this and created the file on my desktop. However, when I try and click on it on my desktop, a black box pops up for a second and then disappears. I don’t know how to edit this file with my “favorite text editor.”

I’m really struggling with this and I’ve been stuck trying to figure this stuff out for the last two weeks. I really want to keep progressing with the course, but I don’t know how to do this stuff. I really wish they made a video for this article, they made a video for installing Git Bash, but not for installing python and miniconda/or anaconda, which doesn’t make sense to me.

Any help is appreciated and sorry that this is so long!

  1. Yes, you can use any of those three options. At the end of the day it’s mostly personal preference but the set-up for each can be a bit different. If you can already run Python (you get an output with python --version) then chose whatever you prefer for now (unless a lesson strictly requires otherwise).

  2. From your description it sounds like you have a stand-alone version of Python installed and on your PATH (but not conda).

  3. You probably don’t need a conda distribution. If you’ve already installed a standalone version of Python then you don’t have to install both (but you can if you want). Conda can be helpful if you’re doing data science or something similar as it has packages for more than just Python. If you’re only using Python then you can probably just use the stand-alone Python install.

  4. Regarding the conda commands: conda won’t add itself to your PATH by default which is a good thing. Instead there are routes to add conda to your PATH as and when you want to. By starting the Anaconda prompt (or miniconda) for cmd or powershell it initialises the relevant conda items only for that window (that’s why it works only in those windows at the moment). That’s the only difference.

If you don’t want to use the standalone Python you installed and you want to use conda in gitbash have a look at this useful post: Setting Up Conda in Git Bash

  1. Regarding “Use the command prompt”: It doesn’t really matter which command prompt you use, all they’re doing is passing information to the same Python program, the end result should be the same in all three options.

  2. Regarding a text editor. Double-clicking probably tries to open and run the python program (it’ll be a Windows setting for what to do with .py files). Try opening the text editor first and using that to then open the file (or right-click and use open with...).

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