Charles Lavery

Installing Python on Windows

Note: I highly recommend simply using a pre-built distribution like anaconda. These instructions are for setup using the official binaries and a build environment for building native extensions.

  1. First choose if you want the 2.7 version or the 3.4. The 3.4 is the most modern and it is stable, however, there are still some popular packages that do not support python 3. 2.7 is usually the safer bet if you don't know.
  2. Download the MSI package from
  1. After it's installed download the "" script from Save it somewhere convienient. This script is a simple way to get the package managers pip and easy_install.
  2. In a fresh terminal window run python where you downloaded the script above.
  3. Finally, add the scripts directory in the python installation to your PATH. This is where python drops executable scripts (such as the package managers installed above) and it does not add this to your PATH automatically. On python 2.7 this is usually C:\Python27\Scripts

Quick Ref

Useful General Purpose Packages

List of useful packages that work on Windows. Use pip install packagename

Native Extensions

You will need to install Visual Studio 2008 express to build python native extensions required for some packages. Note this is recommended even if you have a newer version of Visual Studio because of the version Python is installed with. It can be downloaded here: Note it is safe to install multiple versions of Visual Studio side by side. Be sure to install the "Visual C++" option (and any others you would like). This will give you the proper environment variables and build tools.