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How to Install Python on Windows

Programming skills are in great demand in today’s market. One very popular and easy-to-learn language is Python. But knowing Python's syntax is not enough; you also need to know how to install Python on your computer, configure everything, and start creating your own new and brilliant projects.

Fortunately, installing Python on Windows machines is not difficult. In this article, I’ll show you everything you need to know to get up and running. Let’s start with the basics:

What Is Python?

Python is the most popular language among programmers, partially because it has many uses. With Python, you can write desktop apps, console and GUI programs; create websites and projects for data science; perform data analysis, and even develop machine learning algorithms.

Another reason for Python’s popularity is that its simple syntax makes it easy to learn. That’s also why it’s worth learning this language. On our sister platform, LearnPython.com, you can find the same interactive teaching style that’s made LearnSQL.com so effective. The Python Basics track will grow your knowledge step by step.

You don’t need to set up anything on your computer when you learn Python through LearnPython.com. But once the course is finished, you’ll probably want to keep coding and keep your skills sharp. So I’ll show you how to install and set up Python on your Windows computer.

How to Install Python on Windows

To start learning Python, you need an interpreter (i.e. a program that reads and executes the code you write). They are available for 32-bit and 64-bit Windows systems.

Option 1: From Python.org

The first step in your process is to get the Python installer. You can find it by going to the official Python website and selecting Windows in the Download tab.

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You’ll see a list of the latest Python for Windows releases. Choose the latest stable release. (During the time of writing this article, it was version 3.9.0.)

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Now find the installer file that matches your machine’s specs.

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I chose the Windows x86-64 executable installer.

Next, download and run this file. You’ll see an installation setup window similar to this:

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Check the box Add Python 3.8 to PATH (which tells the command line where to find the Python interpreter). Then click Install Now; it will install the IDLE editor with documentation and a package manager for Python libraries (pip). The installation process will look like this:

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Installation is complete when you see the message below:

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Click Close to finish this process.

To access your Python installation, click on the Start button, choose Programs, and expand Python 3.8. You see all the Python tools you have available:

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Option 2: From the Microsoft Store

The second way to install Python is using Microsoft’s Python package. It is often recommended for students, as it is a very easy way to install the Python interpreter and its tools (like pip, the IDLE editor, the Python Shell, and the documentation). It also houses the path settings for the Python interpreter.

To install Python this way, go to the Microsoft website or find the Microsoft Store app in your Windows Start menu.

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In either place, simply type “python” in the search bar and press enter. Select the latest Python version from the list (currently, 3.8). You’ll see the Get button. Click on it.

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The installation file will be downloaded. When it’s done, click Install to start the installation process.

Note from the Python documentation: “Because of restrictions on Microsoft Store apps, Python scripts [written on a Microsoft Store installation] may not have full write access to shared locations such as TEMP and the registry. Instead, it will write to a private copy. If your scripts must modify the shared locations, you will need to install the full installer.”

Start Writing Python Scripts

Before you start coding, you can check if the installation process was successful. Simply go to Start and click the Python 3.8 icon :

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Write …

print("Hello World!")

… and press enter.

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During the installation process, you chose the option for adding the path to the Python run file. Now you can check if the path was added. Open the command line tool (type “CMD” in the search bar ), type “python”, and press enter.

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Ok, now the program is ready to write Python scripts.

The best solution to write and run simple Python scripts is the IDLE environment that was installed during the Python installation. From Start, expand Python 3.8 and click on IDLE.

You’ll see a simple editor joined with the Python runtime environment.

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You can write code like:

print(“I learn Python.”);

You can save files on your computer by choosing File->Save from the menu.

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I named my script myfirstscript. This file has the .py format.

Now it is time to compile this script by pressing enter. This is the result:

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Popular IDEs for Python

The IDLE editor is a very simple notepad. You don’t need more for your first codes, but as you progress it’s a good idea to find a more professional editor. There are a lot of feature-rich Python IDEs (Integrated Development Environment) available. One of the most popular is PyCharm IDE, which also works well for beginners. You can find out more in How to Install PyCharm IDE (Windows and Ubuntu) and in the tutorial Python IDE: PyCharm Tutorial for Beginners.

For data scientists or analysts, the Python Spyder IDE is a nice choice. Read the article How to Install the Python Spyder IDE and Run Scripts to learn more. And Jupyter Notebook – which we discuss in Jupyter Notebook – the Free Editor for Python – is also a favorite among many programmers.

Next Steps For Learning Python

There are a lot of Python courses on the market. I recommend starting with the full Python Basics track. It contains three beginner-level courses: Python Basics Part 1, Python Basics Part 2, and Python Basics Part 3.

If you are somewhat familiar with Python and want to extend your knowledge about data types, the article Getting Started with Python, Part 1: Data Types will help. The guide How to Use Python Dictionaries: The LearnPython.com Guide explains Python dictionaries in detail.

Also, the article 13 Top Python Libraries You Should Know in 2020 introduces popular Python libraries.

I hope that this article makes your Python learning journey a bit easier to start. Now you have the tools you need to become a Python master. What are you waiting for? It’s time to get started on a future of interesting and successful projects!

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