Installing 2 different releases of Kicad under Windows

Is it possible to install 2 different release of Kicad on the same PC? I am interested, if possible, to install a Kicad v6 nightly build release and the 5.1.2 release for production.

I downloaded the last nightly release but it warnings that Kicad is already installed and that the new installation will overwrite the existing one.

Yes, it’s possible. I don’t remember right now how you do it with the installer, but at least you should be able to copy the whole (first) installation to another location. Then the new one doesn’t find it.

(EDIT: you probably want to install 5.1 first, then move it, then install the nightlies to the default location. That way the new nightlies will overwrite the older ones but don’t interfere with 5.1.)

But you have to do some tweaking with starting a KiCad instance because by default they use the same configuration and that may be problematic. You have to start one of them with an evironment variable set so that the configuration directories are different. See for ugly details.

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The obvious possible solution didn’t occur to me at first - namely that in the installer you can give a new installation directory. Try if it keeps the old installation untouched.

What about the Kicad system path variables?

See the document linked above. You need to set only KICAD_CONFIG_HOME before starting; the rest you should set inside KiCad when it’s running. Be sure not to install environment variables with the installer, and if you have something set already in your Windows, delete them from Windows.

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Yes, I know but what happens with 2 different installations? I do not believe that everything in Kicad v5 may be good for Kicad v6.

I run 3 different versions on windows. The stable 5.1.2, the 5 branch nightly, and the 6 nightly.

They’re installed in 3 different directories.

I use 3 different config directories located in C:\Users\xxx\AppData\Roaming and point to the appropriate directory in the shortcut target.

For example, here is the target link for the stable version:

C:\Windows\System32\cmd.exe /c “set ^“KICAD_CONFIG_HOME=C:\Users\xxx\AppData\Roaming\kicad5^” && start /d ^“C:\Program Files\kicad5\bin^” kicad.exe”

and for the “v5 dev” version:

C:\Windows\System32\cmd.exe /c “set ^“KICAD_CONFIG_HOME=C:\Users\xxx\AppData\Roaming\kicad5_dev^” && start /d ^“C:\Program Files\kicad5_dev\bin^” kicad.exe”


Hope this helps


Yes. What are you doing for the Kicad system path variables? Because I believe that those for v5 will not be good for v6. Last but not least where can I download nightly builds for v5 and v6? I found the nightly builds directory:

but it is not clear if they are v5 or v6 releases or both.

I deleted them from Windows, as @eelik already stated above. The set of env variables is saved in the kicad_common file, located in the conf directory, so each version has its own set.

v5 nightlies:
v6 (master) nightlies:

One more word of caution : Data files (pcb, schematics etc.) opened with v6 can’t normally be read back in v5. There are file format differences. So pay attention and make backups if you risk something.

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Again, the document linked above explains it, although I understand it’s long and verbose and may be difficult to digest at first reading. The point is that you set only KICAD_CONFIG_HOME before starting each version. When you run each version for the first time, open immediately the Preferences->Configure Paths dialog and set the rest of the needed variables there. They are saved to the config file of each version.

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Thanks, now is more clear and I will install this evening and test both installations.

Thanks, I will read it carefully this evening to obtain a 5.1.2 stable release (now I have a 5.1.0) and a Kicad v6 naightly build.

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