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Is there anything I should be aware of if I want to install MiKTeX and TeX Live on the same computer? Are there any problems, any incompatabilities? Is it even possible? I imagine there could be some conflict e.g. if I called pdflatex foo.tex -- whose pdfLaTeX would that be, MiKTeX's or TeX Live's?

In case it matters, I'm using Windows 7 64-bit and MiKTeX 2.9 is already installed.

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You must adapt the PATH-variable if you want to use the "other" system. This should work fine. I have a small texlive-like luatex-system for testing and it can even share some roots with my main miktex, miktex doesn't complain about the ls-R-files lying around. The only problem I have is that I sometimes get confused and no longer know which system I'm currently using. –  Ulrike Fischer Oct 11 '11 at 12:04
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@UlrikeFischer: Thanks! Would you mind adding this as an answer and perhaps elaborating a bit on the PATH-variable (I don't quite know what this is) and on how you access the different distributions, i.e. how it might be possible to differentiate between the two in everyday command line usage? –  doncherry Oct 11 '11 at 12:11

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You must adapt the PATH-variable if you want to use the "other" system. This should work fine. I have a small TeX Live-like LuaTeX-system for testing and it can even share some roots with my main MiKTeX, MiKTeX doesn't complain about the ls-R-files lying around. The only problem I have is that I sometimes get confused and no longer know which system I'm currently using.

There are thousand of web pages which explain how to change environmental variables permanently. For the current command line window you can use something like this

set path=J:\MiKTeX2.9\miktex\bin;%PATH%

which will put the new path at the front of the path variable. To see the values of the variables use simple set.

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For an illustrated guide how to get to your PATH-variable, see Paulo's answer tex.stackexchange.com/a/37624/4012. –  doncherry Dec 11 '11 at 11:27
    
Even better (what I ended up doing): Path Editor gives you a GUI for editing your PATH. –  doncherry Jan 7 '13 at 18:54

I've been doing exactly what you're contemplating doing -- having both TeX Live and MiKTeX on the same system and being able to access one or the other distribution -- for about two years. My front-end is the program editor "winedt" (version 5.6), and all I have to do to switch from one system to the other is to go to "Options" -> "Configurations" and choose between "MiKTeX (default)" and "TeX Live"; winedt will then reset all internal path variables. In addition, I've also installed TeXworks on this system and configured it to run TeXlive exclusively, as I couldn't be bothered to figure out how to switch all the path variables.

In my experience -- related here with absolutely no claim as to being representative -- MiKTeX may be a bit slower than TeX Live, but it also has better "crash recovery" in the sense that if I'm running MiKTeX, it's not as frequently necessary to blow away all aux files if the compilation ended with a crash somewhere before being able to recompile the LaTeX program. Oh, and when switching from MiKTeX to TeX Live, I usually (though not always, depending mainly on how many packages needed to be loaded) have to delete all aux files before I can (re)compile the file under TeX Live. Vice versa, when switching from TeX Live to MiKTeX, I've yet to encounter this particular phenomenon (viz., having to delete all aux files).

The main downside of having two full TeX distributions is that you must keep track of two separate upgrade and update systems. In my experience (again: no claim to being representative), new and updated packages tend to become available on TeXlive usually a few days sooner than they are on MiKTeX. This experience may be mostly a function of the mirror sites I use to access the respective distributions.

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