Python On XP: 7 Minutes To “Hello World!”

“Python Foot” graphic by David Day.

How To Install Python On Windows XP

Instead of being all things to all users, this little how-to assumes the following:

  • You are a Windows user who is curious about computer programming;
  • You would like to install the Python computer language on your Windows machine, start the Python interpreter, and run the classic “Hello World!” program.

This post dates to the days of Windows XP, but I update it every year or so. The instructions reportedly work for Windows Vista and Windows 7, too.

If you have questions, like “What is Python and why should I install it on my Windows computer?” go read Why Python on Windows XP? Come back if you want to install Python.

Back already? Never left? Okay, proceed.

A company called ActiveState makes a free, all-in-one Python distribution that has everything you need to run Python on Windows.

I don’t work for ActiveState. I am not an affiliate. There is no affiliate id or code in the link I provide to their site. I get no fee or percentage from them. I am not a computer expert, nor am I a computer scientist, just a Python fan.

Ready? Assuming you have high speed internet, you are less than seven minutes away from having Python installed on your computer and typing your first command at the interpreter prompt. Go!


  • Python works on Windows, Macs, and Linux so you’ll see a page offering distributions and versions for all. However, ActiveState can tell if you are using Windows, so you’ll see ActiveState’s recommendation for you in the two blue bars at the top of the list:


  • You will probably see two options: one for (x86) or 32-bit computer, and one for (64-bit, x64). Which type of computer do you have? Shift-click on this FAQ to find out. Unless you know you have a newer 64-bit machine, play it safe and click on the “x86″ 32-bit version. You’ll also notice newer distributions of Python listed farther down the page. For now, use the version recommended by ActiveState in the blue bars. You can come back later and install a newer distribution once you become a Python convert, but most tutorials for new users are still written for older Python versions, so be conservative for now.
  • When you click on the blue bar, Python should begin downloading.
  • Make a note of where you download this file on your computer. It takes a few minutes to complete the download. Pass the time by watching the “Bring Out Your Dead” scene from The Holy Grail. Done? Okay, go find the ActivePython file on your computer.
  • As of this writing, the file you downloaded is called “ActivePython-(your version number)-(your windows version).msi.” It’s about 45 megabytes, which is half the size of the last driver I installed for my Logitech Mouse.
  • Double-click on the ActivePython file. (Windows may ask you to acknowledge that the software maker is unknown.)
  • Up pops the ActiveState box and tells you it’s going to install ActivePython. Click Next.
  • Up pops the Licensing Agreement. Check the Accept box. Click Next.
  • Up pops a dialogue box allowing you to customize the installation. Don’t customize it. Click Next.
  • See the button that says “Install”? Click it.
  • You’re done, and the ActivePython User Guide appears.
  • Now go to START | All Programs | ActiveState ActivePython (version number) (your-bit-number)
  • The menu will break out into submenus. You want the one that says: “IDLE (Python GUI)” Click on it.
  • You are now at the command prompt of the Python interpreter and ready to speak Parseltongue.
  • Your cursor will be blinking just to the right of a prompt that looks like this: >>>
  • Type the following command there and make sure that “Hello World!” is inside quotation marks:
    >>> print “Hello World!”
  • Press Enter. You should see Hello World! appear in a different-colored font on the line below.
  • If so, you’re done!
  • If you get an error message that says: “SyntaxError: invalid syntax” then you either forgot the quotation marks or you installed Python version 3.0 or greater, which uses a different print command.1


You are inside the Python shell window (a.k.a. interactive interpreter) of the Python IDE (Integrated Development Environment). Leave the Python interpreter open, ready, and waiting to take your commands. Go to one of the following tutorials, which will teach you how to use the Python interpreter to learn Python:

Once you become comfortable playing with the Python Interpreter, go to the BeginnersGuide/NonProgrammers page of the site and select more tutorials. There are plenty of good ones. All free!

Later, when you start learning to program and have more questions, visit the Python Users Group at Google Groups and search it. Chances are your question has already been asked and answered. Also, when you need help remembering commands, refer to this excellent Python Quick Reference sheet. And be sure to visit the beautiful, new, SEARCHABLE Python documentation page from the busy geeks at Python.Org.

If you prefer learning from a good Python book, try this one:

After you acquire basic knowledge in Python, you can move onto some other great books:

  • The Python Cookbook, 2nd Ed., by Alex Martelli, Anna Ravenscroft and David Ascher, which provides “recipes” for common tasks you might like to accomplish using Python on your computer. For many people, this is the best way to learn code, by studying examples contained in programs that do useful work.
  • Learning Python, 4th Ed., by Mark Lutz, commonly considered the most thorough introduction to the language for beginners, now out in a new 3rd edition that covers Python 2.5 and looks ahead to Python 3.0.
  • Python: Essential Reference, 4th Ed., by David M. Beazley. This is the newest of the Python books and probably the best all-around Python book, but newbies may find it overly terse. Beazley wastes no words and has a tight, crisp writing style. If you are already familiar with basic programming concepts, but are new to Python, Beazley is your man.

In my most recent book, Rapture For The Geeks: When AI Outsmarts IQ, I argue that Python should be declared the Official Language of The Singularity. If you agree, cast your vote by leaving a comment below.

Rapture For The Geeks

Rapture For The Geeks also includes an Emily Dickinson poem translated into the Python programming language by Python experts Alex Martelli and Anna Ravenscroft (see page 196 of Rapture).

Have fun!

Richard Dooling

  1. Some visitors install newer versions of Python from the ActiveState downloads page. That’s fine. You can install more than one version and use different versions as you please. However, starting with Python 3.0, many commands are new and different. For example, the print command for Python 3.0 and following goes like this: >>>print (“Hello World!”). For this How-To, I recommend that you play it safe and install the version recommended by ActiveState. Most of the tutorials for newbies are still written for older versions of Python. But, hey, it’s a living breathing language, so if you like it, install and learn the newest version!

173 thoughts on “Python On XP: 7 Minutes To “Hello World!”

  1. Tezzzle

    Thank you so much for this tutorial!
    I was set the assignment to make a short computer program on python and needless to say, I had a deadline. I only realised after help was gone that I had no idea which version of python would be the most stable and compatible with my computer! I had no idea how to download either!
    I am a computer novice and without your help I would be a dead computer novice so thank you!

    All the best,
    a very grateful and living computer novice

  2. zaxaxatak

    Good. Clearly-written and sane and informative. Thank you. This is the best intro (plus good, useful links to further specific information) I have found after a prolonged web search. It is probably the best on the web IM(x)O.

    Also I like the ‘writer’ image – is this you at home, at work, or is Brighton beach still the same as it was in 1970?


    ps – re ‘singularity/python’ (‘scuse me, it’s one of your subjects, edit this out if…) – I know and have discussed AI (over 20+ years) with people who work in disparate AI fields. BUT not any of them have a definition of ‘intelligence”. Zero. No lab, or group, or theoretical statement of intent has any suggestion or slightest working hypothesis, in writing, to define ‘intelligence’. Some pros become quite angry when questioned. I ask: how can you build a bridge if you do not have a definition of what is “a bridge” ? My zero-expertise proposal – An intelligent device asked (told/ordered) to go into a nuclear meltdown destructive to humans and machines, to make intelligent decisions and perform independent actions remote from its masters may reply “F*** Off, get someone else to do it”. Would this be a typical mark of intelligence as we know it?

    Thanx again.

  3. Jarrod

    It also works on Windows 8, Thanks for all the great info! Keep up the great work! BTW I enjoyed the humor.

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  5. Walid


    Thank you for this guide. I would like to confirm that it works on Windows 7 64-bit as well. I started with version 3 but switched to 2.7 immediately. :)

  6. goffinet daniel

    It is solved : before coming here I had already tried to install Python, failed removed it, … and in my PATH I had two mentions of Python, and I guess the first one was the wrong one

    I found that in the first page of the Active State installation

    By the way when you start, IDLE GUI is NOT “behind” the start button you get it through the WINDOWS starting/All Programs …once found you can copy a shortcut anywhere

  7. Juanlu001

    Thank you for this great tutorial! Ideal for newcomers: funny and straight forward. May I translate it to Spanish for our blog on Scientific Computing with Python?

  8. Pybonacci

    Your tutorial is so great! Ideal for newcomers, funny and straight forward. May I translate it to Spanish for our blog on Scientific Computing with Python?

  9. Christos

    Hi! Thank you for this small and nice tutorial.
    ActivePyhton & Python works fine so far on Windows 8 (evaluation copy).

  10. e_james

    I am always suspicious of new software. When a new web browser or antivirus scanner immediately wants internet connection, that makes sense. When a new programming language wants the same without warning, I am wondering what is going on. Perhaps this is reasonable, perhaps I should be looking at another version of Python.

  11. shergar

    Thank you so much, I got my “Hello World!” Now when will I get my RaspberryPi. I’m on xp by the way, and thanks again : )

  12. Ahan

    I at first installed python 3.2.2 and when I tried to print ” Hello World ” , it was not working, then I looked in this tutorial and found that the commands for ActivePython and python 3.2.2 is not the same. Then I installed ActivePython and the print hello world program works well now.
    Thanks Sir.

    I’ve a advice for my friends . If u want to learn Python easily without buying a book you can go to the following link :

  13. Nima

    Hay man,
    Thanks for this useful guide.
    Just wanted to say that the download page now looks a bit different – at least to me! So you might want to change your article a bit so that the newbies are not confused.

    Have fun

  14. anna

    that is completely great : ) i really had to laugh at the point where you say i should watch the holy grail movie : P

  15. Me

    Win 7 64 bit – works perfectly.
    start – programs – activestate activepython

    away you go after that.

    The instructions still work.


  16. Al Vanderhoeven

    thanks for the fun and instructive read. I especially liked the monty python pun and link – it took more time to watch that than run the first program!

  17. neurieser

    hello out there,

    as absolute beginner to python i wanted to give it a try:

    i’m using windows 7 enterprise 64-bit and installed ActivePython- as well as ActivePython-

    trying to access start -> all programms -> ActiveState ActivePython 2.7 (64-bit) -> IDLE (Python GUI) or start -> all programms -> ActiveState ActivePython 2.7 (32-bit) -> IDLE (Python GUI) causes a flush (open and immediate close) of command window and nothing more.

    little bit confused about that.

  18. new to python

    Running windows xp sp3, MS Security Essentials, and Windows Firewall. I installed ActivePython-

    When I run the IDLE I get a message that says:
    Socket Error: No connection could be made because the target machine actively refused it.

    Does anyone know what I could do to resolve this issue?

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  20. Kin Cheung

    Dear Sir,
    (My website is not working yet. I have been just using it for web programming practice.)
    Your instruction to install Python works well. I got the IDE interactive scheme set up. I would like to run a Python script in script mode. I don’t know how to do it. I have Windows XP. I put my script in C:\Python27\script\. My script is
    print “Hello World!”
    Then, I tried to run it by typing on the IDE window.It did not work. Please help. Thank you in advance. KYC

  21. Rick

    Getting out of the shell and the stupid <<< by reconfiguring IDLE suddenly made sense of the whole programming thing. Thx.


  22. Brian

    Installed Python on win xp . Hello world worked How do i get for loops and if decisions to work.

    1. Richard Dooling Post author


      What do you mean, get them to “work”?

      You mean like this?

      >>> name = “Richard Dooling”
      >>> if name:
      … print name
      … (press return twice)
      Richard Dooling
      >>> for letters in name:
      … print letters,
      … (press return twice)
      R i c h a r d D o o l i n g

      After a conditional or a for loop, you have to press return and then indent four spaces. Is that what’s causing you problems?

      Good luck.


      Try this tutorial if the others didn’t do it for you:

    2. Brian

      Thank the extra return did it. I havwe python 2.5 working on windows 7.0 as far as loops and hello world i will keep you up to date aggain thank you

  23. recentea

    very gooooood guide for python beginners, let me know how to start with python and provide lot of excellent resource for deep learning.
    writting instruction should be like this, step by step and funny
    thank you

  24. Jos H

    Exactly 4 minutes and 57 seconds after reading the link to the download page before Hello world in blue popped up on my screen. What a pleasure such a smooth written and didactically correct manual.

  25. Jasper

    Thanks! works smoothly with ActivePython (on XP)

    Only difference, new print statement:
    print(‘hello world’);

  26. Neil

    Not doing so well here. Loaded 2.6 but no Pythonwin Editor. Now loaded 3.1 and that does have win ed.
    Error message shown:
    PythonWin 3.1.2 (r312:79147, Mar 22 2010, 12:20:29) [MSC v.1500 32 bit (Intel)] on win32.
    Portions Copyright 1994-2008 Mark Hammond – see ‘Help/About PythonWin’ for further copyright information.
    >>> print “hello world”
    Traceback ( File “”, line 1
    print “hello world”
    SyntaxError: invalid syntax
    The machine is running XP Pro. Any pointers would be very much appreciated.

    1. Richard Dooling Post author

      Neil, Sorry so long in answering, see above: You must have installed Python 3.0 or later. The print command for Python 3.0 and up is print (“Hello World!”).

      Sorry for confusion.


  27. M

    Hi. i seem to be having trouble. whenever i try to run python it says run but then it says “This installation package could not be opened. Contact the application vendor to verify that this is a valid Windows Installer package.”

    Pls help

  28. manik

    i have installed python but unable to run as it always throws error message i.e. raceback (most recent call last):
    File “”, line 1, in
    NameError: name ‘c’ is not define
    i tried working in pylot 1.26 and i have also installed python 2.5 + and other softwares given on site

  29. Stephen Dzuro

    You wrote: “Any Vista users? You can help by leaving a note about any differences you encounter while following these instructions on Vista.”
    I’m using Vista Home Premium SP1.
    I tried you approach to instillation (activePython- win32-x86) along with others (python 262 [compiled HTML Help file] and python- win32-x86 [windows installer package]) and continue to get the following error message.

    Windows Installer
    The Windows Installer Service could not be accessed.
    This can occur if the Windows Installer is not correctly
    installed. Contact your support personnel for assistance.

    Any thoughts on how to fix this issue?

  30. wannabe super nerd

    thanx a bunch for the guide
    there’s one other dialog box for vista users to plow through, as always. If you miss this box for whatever reason, you have to re-install the program.

    and your book is awesome

  31. Richard

    Thanks!! This worked great – and was fun to read. I was on Vista and except for one additional message, it was perfect. Note: That additional message was when I double clicked on the msi, I had to acknowledge something to the effect that the publisher of this software was unknown.

    Thanks again,

  32. Flesh

    Also, version 2.6 of python is out. (The version I downloaded).

    And further more, you are awesome. You should try get a holiday named after you.

  33. Flesh

    wow. That was a fair amount of links in one small paragraph. You wouldn’t happen to edit wikipedia, would you?

    The only reason I have Microsoft Word on my computer is because my mum wanted to look at some files that were for specifically Microsoft Word. (I’m 16, if you were wondering about me living with my mum). Otherwise I would have never bothered with it. (I use it at school, I don’t really like it much. It’s a pity that they don’t offer anything else).

    Thanks for the info, I will take it under consideration.

  34. Flesh

    Hello, world! :D

    I just downloaded Python! It took me about 6 hours to download. (I live out in the middle of nowhere and the phone lines can’t handle broadband out here, so I’m stuck on slow dial up).

    To the guy above who is using Mozilla, did you left click or right click? I had a problem like that when I tried to download something ages ago. It’s best just to left click on it.

    Is Microsoft Word a good text editor to write python code in? (I also have Notepad and Wordpad if either of those are better to use)

    Oh yeah, and thanks for all the help!


  35. Richard Dooling Post author


    I think you are possibly confusing two or maybe three things: (1) running a file that contains Python code; (2) editing such a file; and (3) interacting with the Python interpreter. When you say that you have “downloaded certain files that require python editor,” what does this mean? If these files are Python scripts or modules, then you would run them using Python, but you would edit them with any text editor.

    I think you should continue with the tutorials I linked to until you grok the differences, then set up your particular environment to run the files you downloaded. Pay particular attention to editing, saving, and running your OWN simple beginning script using one of the tutorials, and then it will become clear how to run some other Python program that you downloaded.

    I can’t really provide support here, but once you have a little bit more knowledge you can post to:

    And someone will help you.



  36. Audra

    Thank you so much for making python understandable. I had downloaded it (the zip version) but after unzipping, was at a standstill. Now, that you have successfully talked me through opening up Python Interpreter, how the heck do I use it? I happen to have some certain downloaded files which require python editor–so now how do I get the files to the interpreter? If I just click on them, I get a message they require python interpreter–duh! Help–for the semi (or mostly) computer illiterate.

  37. DAmanda

    This is perfect for people like me who don’t actually want to use Python but need it installed to run Blender’s python scripts. Just an FYI for anyone else installing Python for Blender…you must use the older version of Python that Blender recommends, Blender won’t recognize newer versions of Python. Happy sculpting!

  38. Paresh Nawar

    I am new to the Python and i think the information given by you will help me to learn more about Python.


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  40. Richard Dooling Post author


    A perfect question for the Python Google Group:

    Usual answer is neither. Leave the present Python installation in place. If you want or need a new version, just install it separately. You can summon either version as needed. Your system may use or require the old one just to function, so don’t tamper with it.


  41. Sammysnake

    I have a HP computer that came with python installed on it and it is a very old version. I’m just now looking into messing around with python and was wondering if I need to uninstall what is on my system or just install over the top of it the newer version. Any suggestions?

  42. Kyle

    Awesome site Richard!

    I have been running searches all over the net looking for python tutorials that focus more on scripting programs. Most of what i found sticks to the “print” and variable tutorial basis. Do you know of a site that a person can start learning creating actual programs?

    Kind Regards,


  43. Cathy

    I have installed Python 2.3.5 on my windows XP computer and when I open IDLE (Python GUI) nothing happens. What should I do

  44. Parikshit Kunjalwar

    Hi ! its a great tutorial on python .. could you please let me know what is the basic advantage of using python over java. is it fast or more convinient to code .. we have some daily jobs which are written in pyhton but the thing is we have lot of people having java skills and no one with python . so is there anything special in python for which we should ask java developer to learn and code in python

  45. Randy

    I hypothesized the following:

    Download procedures are very simple when described with patience, care and concern for their users.

    I believe you’ve proved it.

    Thanks – Randy

  46. chesvoc

    Thanks.Reading your tutorial I setup pyton successfully.I was looking for tutorials explaining how setup this program,and I didn’t find anyone easy.I though I never succed,but I did.Now I’m following the tutorial recomended by you,alan gauld’s.

  47. Richard Dooling Post author


    I use Linux and Mac OS X, but I’ll check on a Windows machine tomorrow. You can use the interpreter inside PythonWin just fine. Or open a command prompt, like C:\> and type “python” and press return. That too should give you a Python interpreter.

    As I say, I’ll check myself tomorrow on a Windows machine.


  48. Jack

    Hi Rich,just ran the pythonwin program and it seems i can’t find the related python idle program on my pc, it only shows pythonwin, python interactive shell,python documentation and and python reinstallation(modify,etc) on my startup.Is there a way to fix this or did i download the wrong version?

  49. Linda

    Thanks a million for this easy step-by-step guide. The options on the main download page were daunting for this novice.

  50. Randy Brinson

    There is lots of good information out there. However, it is very rare to find something as readable, accurate, and time-efficient as this guide. Sure wish I had found this site the first time I went paddling in the python pool.

    Looking for a tagline for your site? How about, “Learning should be a joy, not a task.”

  51. Randall

    Awesome help here, THANKS MATEY.

    I’d write you a letter and post it but I think that would be a bit weird. but I like sending letters.

    Thanks for writing this though. GOOD JOB, SIR.

  52. John Caddy

    Awesome! I am teaching my 11 year old son to program and your 7 minutes to Hello World made getting python up and running super simple. He just let me back on the PC after about 4 hours of raw_input’s and print commands… Thanks!

  53. Megan

    I’m having some problems once I’ve installed the ActivePython. I can access the shell quite fine, but opening the PythonWin Editor gives me this error message and doesn’t open anything up/can’t start a new file/can’t do anything:

    File “C:\Python25\Lib\site-packages\pythonwin\pywin\framework\”, line 171, in InitInstance
    import interact
    File “C:\Python25\Lib\site-packages\pythonwin\pywin\framework\”, line 8, in
    import code
    : (‘invalid syntax’, (‘’, 9, 25, ‘if__name__ == “__main__”:, globals())\n’))

    Any ideas?

  54. Emanuel

    hello I been learning python by a month now, am reading the book “python programming on win32″ by mark hammond, but this book is very old a some of the examples are easy to understand and others not so easy, most of the problem are in the parts of COM, using de excel, word and visual basic stuff, a have being writing the code of the book and it even donwload the examples, but we i run then, most of then nothing hapends even wen in the book saids the oposite , if some could help me, i have python 2.5 on windows xp, and i beginning to wonder if this is the problem

  55. Vivek

    Thanks so much!!! I really wanted to start python… and just been really lazy. But this was really great !!! Thanks again

  56. Windows XP

    Why are you trying to get people to get Python from a different site than the original python site? Python kicks some butt, and has a lot of functions, and I would rather be safe using it from the creator’s site, because if NASA can trust it, so can I!

    Besides “Hello World!” isn’t hard at all:
    code: print “Hello World!”

  57. Megin

    This really helped. I was also referring to Professor Gauld’s website about a month ago and it was great, but now I can’t access the website anymore. Is is just my computer or has the website gone??

  58. Richard Dooling Post author


    Sure ActiveState has the 2.5 version. I think you’ll like the GUI better.

    But now that I’m here, I see that ActiveState changed their menus and such, so I better go reconfigure!


  59. Olivia

    This really helped a lot. The problem is that I’ve installed the recent version of Python on the distro and I’ve been having problems with the interpreter. I would uninstall 2.5, but I know that they’ve made changes and added some new features. So I was wondering if Active State has version 2.5 that I could install. I’m also not quite sure if it’s “worth” uninstalling. Does it really matter what version I use?

  60. Richard Dooling Post author

    Dear Petunia,

    I couldn’t figure out how to use the Windows command prompt either. That’s why I made the page! Glad it helped you.

    Microsoft hides the command prompt, because if their customers learn to use a shell, and learn languages like Python, then they’ll move to Linux.

    Use Python and a good cross-platform text editor on Windows until you’re thoroughly comfortable. Then take an old computer and load Linux on it. I recommend either Ubuntu or Debian, but there are many other distributions.



  61. Virginia Morris

    Thanks so much from a sort of Omega Geek (yeah, that far from Alpha!). I tried downloading from the python site, read tons of instructions for using Python from LINUX-like and UNIX-like operating systems but couldn’t figure out how to use the Windows command prompt or path settings to get anything out of it at all. The ActiveState download, coupled with your instructions, is just great!!

    Hope to get far enough to be able to check out some of your “advanced” links!

    - Petunia

  62. TB

    I have found the solution. The python version ‘AMD64′ is made for 64-bit-systems. I have heard that some functions in this versions don’t work.
    Every windows processor should be able to work with the python version for x86 processors (also just called ‘windows’).

    Thank you anyway.

  63. Ellie

    Thanks for being genrous enough explain all this, I tried to install Python myself and got into a terrible mess!

  64. chas

    hello i am new with python. i had just read it on how to become a hacker. i am interested to know about it. i have learned my first language c++ then java. now i try for python.

    i am downloading now then look for tutorial here. can you guide me?

  65. Richard Dooling Post author


    I don’t know Zope. I just recently purchased the Django book, though, which looks very good. Also see

    As for the Chun Core Python book, I don’t know it. I’ve heard good things about it. Of the ones I’ve seen lately, I guess I would go with Python: Essential Reference, 3rd Ed., by David M. Beazley. This is the newest of the Python books and probably the best all-around Python book for programmers coming from another language. Newbs may find it overly terse and should try some of the other recommended books. If you are already familiar with basic programming, Beazley is your man.

  66. Geoffrey Darnton

    Very nice installation – complements to the chef!

    After Python, I’ll try to modify the Zope cookery book to what I want! – do you have any suggestions for an idiot’s start to Zope?)

    Chun’s Core Python Programming seems to review well on Amazon – any experience or knowledge of it?

  67. Fodderz

    downloaded and used python for the first time yesterday and couldent have done it without you!!! it is great fun and shockingly easy once you know how thanks


  68. SRS


    Just wanted to say that I’m starting out with this language. I’ve no prior experience save some dabble here and there in HTML, which I doubt will help me very much, but I’m willing to learn. Thank you for this, because I will follow the tutorial word for word, until I can get on my feet :}


  69. Richard Dooling Post author

    Dear Ariel:

    ActivePython has very good customer service, so ask them there.

    Do you by any chance have your disk partitioned into logical drives, like C,D,E etc.? If so, and you downloaded to one of those logical drives, then try copying the installation file to C:\ – the root of your C
    drive and double click on it there.

    Hope this helps.


  70. ariel

    sir rick,
    i just cant open the installer. i have an error that says ” installation package could not be opened. contact the application vendor to verify that this is a valid windows installer package. is there something wrong with my os?

  71. Richard Dooling Post author


    Thanks for pointing that out. It must be new terminology in the latest Activestate distro. Yes, they are the same.

    Send any other edits or suggestions as you go. I appreciate it.


  72. Chris

    Not sure if this is a dumb question, but…

    The instruction above says to click on the “Pythonwin IDE” submenu. Instead, I see a submenu entitled “PythonWin Editor.” Are they one in the same?

  73. Skannd

    Nicely done! the parseltongue hyperlink especially ;-p a very helpful tutorial dude… thanks a ton!

  74. Richard Dooling Post author


    This is a perfect question for the comp.lang.python group. Very
    active. I’m sure you would have many responses quickly. However I
    predict you will not get too much sympathy for saying “I don’t want to
    waste time” as most programmers will tell you to try them both.

    That said. I think your question comes up a lot. If you go to
    comp.lang.python and search on python and php you’ll see what I mean

    Good luck

  75. Rami

    i loved this tutorial, great stuff, i have a question if you can answer it i’d be glad just send me an e-mail with the answer “i have some experience in PHP and MySQL, and i am in the process of creating my own Content Management System, but after reading about Python and seeing professional programmers recommend Python i loved to give it a try, i would like to know if Python is the right choice for a begginer like me or shall i complete with PHP? because i don’t want to waste my time, thank you”

  76. JiminyCrockett

    That was excellent Richard. Thanks very much for making it so simple to follow and easily get through it.

    I’m sure a lot of questions will arise, but for now I’m good..


  77. Richard Dooling Post author


    I think you can get almost the full effect by just installing Mark Hammond’s Win32 extensions together with your recent Python installation.

    Here is the site.

    The ActivePython distro just installs BOTH Python and the win32 extensions together in a nice package, but I don’t think it’s worth uninstalling your other installation unless you are having trouble. I believe the ActiveState Python distro also sets up your environment, paths, etc. But you can also do this yourself.

    I use both ActiveState on one machine and the distro on others. But then I’ve moved to Linux so I can’t say for sure about the Windows thing.

    Try just installing the win32 extensions. The gui IDE is very nice compared to the dullish IDLE one.

    Good luck


  78. Grant R

    I did not find your info until I had downloaded Python 2.5.1 from which had IDLE (Python GUI) with it.
    I would like to try the ActiveState PythonWin IDE.

    1. Do I have to Uninstall Python and download it again from ActiveState to get the IDE program?

    2. If I download ActiveState’s Python, am I going to get the latest version, 2.5.1?

    3. Can I get the ActiveState PythonWin IDE easily and try it? How?

    Thanks for your help.

    Grant R.

  79. Richard Dooling Post author


    You don’t need the ActiveState distro, too. You just need the

    The ActiveState version is stuck at 2.43 for the moment. If you’ve got 2.5 it’s the most current. If you’d like the Windows Extensions, you can download them here:

    Some people prefer the PythonWin IDE to IDLE (which comes with the standard install).

    You can try both.

    But don’t install the old ActiveState distro on top of 2.5.

    Sorry for the confusion.


  80. matt

    I’m new to python and just loaded up the 2.5 version from I didn’t even see something else to download (the win32 stuff you’re talking about). Do I really need it? What is it for?
    I know those are probably the types of question that are to user specific or to broad to answer in a few sentences, but if you can I’d like to know. I guess I’ll just go get the ActivePython verson also.


  81. Richard Dooling Post author

    Dear Matt:

    Sorry. Not familiar with Webmin. Looks a bit dodgy for Windows. Just scanning the instructions, it looks like you need ActiveState Perl installed, along with a module and such. Seems like primarily a Linux tool? Let us know if you get it working and if it’s worth the install.

    As for Python, be advised that the ActiveState distribution will upgrade to Python 2.5 soon. It’s basically just an uninstall and reinstall using the 2.5 distro. You can download 2.5 from now, but then you must install the win32 stuff separately, blah blah. Not pain free, in other words.

    Just stay with 2.4 for now, especially if you’re just getting your feet wet.

    I’ll post the ActiveState 2.5 instructions as soon as they come out with it.



  82. Matt

    Pain free instructions, thank you very muchly. Do you know of a similar resource for how to install Webmin on Windows? Webmin’s own instructions assume too much knowledge and I’m no sysadmin.

  83. yrth

    Why not hint at eclipse with pydev as a python ide? eclipse is also cool to write java, php, cmfl, and to some extent even fortran or c. it’s free and i guess you can set it up in 7 minutes with pydev, assuming you have a fast connection to load pydev from the update site.

  84. Richard Dooling Post author

    >> pythonwin != IDLE . idle is the
    >> funny little (python/tk programmed)
    >> python “ide” that comes with the official download.

    Fixed. Whatever it is it’s Eastern Bloc ugly compared to the Pythonwin IDE :)


  85. THC4k

    Oh yeah, and for a book i suggest “Learning Python” by Mark Lutz, David Ascher . I learned to love python with this book, its very good ;)

  86. THC4k

    pythonwin != IDLE . idle is the funny little (python/tk programmed) python “ide” that comes with the official download.

    But you are right to use Activestates distribution, because the IDE is way better than idle and they include the win32 extension and the rest is the same.
    If you want to seriously lern some python, check out , the de-facto standart book on python on the web.

  87. Richard Dooling Post author


    What am I using to get bullets? I’ll check the css tomorrow and see if I can find it. If you are are a WordPress user, you can poke through the Wuhan download. That’s what I made it from. I did a lot of work on the sidebar and header, but the post code should be just the way you find it in the Wuhan theme download. See if you can find what you need there.


  88. scratt

    Great. Thanks for that.

    By the way.. What are you using in WordPress to get the bullet points in the post? I have been looking for something like that for a while.


  89. Richard Dooling Post author


    Does the version include the Mark Hammond Win32 extensions? Don’t they have to be installed separately? I thought this came up once on the Python boards, and people told me they were two separate downloads.

    The idea here is to get Python downloaded and installed for the user who is perhaps intimidated by a big shaggy page of versions, bug fixes, and multiple downloads.


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