Installing Multiple Versions Of Blender On Windows
A new version of Blender has come out, so should you install it and get all the new shiny features and bug fixes? Not so fast!
There’s a better way of doing this, so read this article and save yourself a potential nightmare.
I let everything else update, why not Blender?
Have you noticed that Blender doesn’t automatically update, there’s a reason for that. Have you installed Blender through Steam or Ninite? I would recommend you do not.
So what are the potential downsides of installing the latest version or having it auto update through software like Steam or Ninite?
Well without taking control of this process they can vary from irritating to completely devastating. They can include:
- Losing your custom Blender profile
- Losing installed add-ons and their configurations.
- Project not working as they did before.
- Projects being completely broken!
That is why Blender doesn’t automatically update by itself.
So is there a solution?
Yes, you can manage your Blender Installs so you can have multiple versions of it running on a single computer. .
There are 2 ways to achieve this goal.
- Manage the install process itself.
- Run Blender in a portable mode mode.
Managing The Install Process
This is relatively straightforward and can be done when running the installation wizard.
By default Blender does tend to install itself into a new folder rather than overwriting the previous install, but it does pay to double check. Also you could run two same versions of Blender side by side, to test something out you are unsure of.
First of all you’ll need the blender install file. To get this go to https://www.blender.org/download/. The site is clever so will auto select the appropriate version for your computer, but of course if you are downloading for another computer you can select an appropriate version there.
Click the download button and once downloaded run the installation file.
Instead and manically clicking next with excitement of a new version we need to specify a new install location
Once we have done that all is good you now have an additional version of Blender installed. But wait there is one more thing to do… the migration of your settings or of course you can set them all up again, but that could be a painful experience.
Portable installs are designed so you can literally take them with you on a memory stick, however they work equally well installed like this on a computer as well.
The portable version is available with the “other downloads” when you go to https://www.blender.org/download/.
You’ll need to select the Windows zip version of Blender and let it download.
Once downloaded you can unzip it into a location of your choosing.
Within this new folder you can find blender.exe. Right click it and you can add a shortcut to your desktop.
Or you can drag that file onto your taskbar for quick access.
I do not do this as it is challenging to see the difference between Blender versions.
Finally I would recommend re-naming the shortcut with the version number
Migrating Your Blender Profile
Whether you are running Windows, OSX, MacOS or Linux you will probably want to migrate your existing setup across to the new version. I will put this in a separate blog entry to keep things neat and will post the link here when it is written.