Python on Windows

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Revision as of 14:12, 9 May 2011 by imported>Paulproteus (→‎Required step: Put Python on the PATH)
  1. Go to and download the latest version of Python 2.7 (2.7.1 at the time of writing). Unless you know otherwise, get the "Windows Installer" version, and not the "Windows X86-64 Installer" version.
  2. Start up a command prompt by clicking on the Start menu, clicking the "Run..." option, typing "cmd", and hitting enter. If you are using Windows Vista, you should click on the Start menu, type "cmd" into the Search field directly above the Start menu button, and click on "cmd" in the search results above the Search field.
  3. Test your Python install by typing

    and hitting enter. You should see something like

    Python 2.7.1 (r271:86832, ...) on win32
    Type "help", "copyright", "credits" or "license" for more information.
  4. To exit the Python prompt, type exit() and press Enter. This will take you back to the Windows command prompt.

Required step: Put Python on the PATH

This will take about 5 extra minutes, and it is essential to an easy life using Python down the road. You might have noticed that you typed a directory name above when launching Python. In this step, you will reconfigure your computer to put Python on the system PATH so that you can run it without typing the Python27 directory name.

For Windows 7

(Note: These steps are based on a video that we recommend you watch.)

  1. Click the Windows logo in the bottom left...
    • Click "Computer", and wait for a window to appear with the drives in your computer
  2. Right-click on the empty space in the window, and choose Properties'
    • A window labeled "View basic information about your computer" should appear
  3. In the new window, click "Advanced system settings"
    • A window should appear whose title is "System Properties"
    • Make sure you are in the tab labeled "Advanced"
  4. Click the button labeled "Environment Variables". A window labeled "Environment Variables" should appear.
  5. In this window, the screen is split between "User variables" and "System variables". Within "System variables", scroll down and find the one labeled Path. Click the "Edit..." button.
    • A window with the "Variable name" and the "Variable value" should appear.
  6. In the "Variable value", scroll to the end. Add this text, and hit OK. Make sure to include the semicolon at the start!
  7. Hit "OK" to close out the system properties changes.
  8. Test it:
    • Open up a command prompt
    • Type just "python" into the command prompt
    • Notice that you now get a Python interpreter.