Python Setup¶

Read time: 9 minutes (2327 words)

In this section, we will go over setting up Python on your own system (it is already installed in the labs).

Warning

There are multiple versions of Python available. We will be using Python version 3.7 (the latest version) for the course. Many Python examples you might find on the Internet are designed for the older Python 2.7 series. We will not be using any of these programs, but beware when you surf for help.

Get the required Resources¶

We start off by downloading the installation file we will need. The file can be obtained from the official Python project website at http://www.python.org. (That is where you end up if you click on any of the Python links). Navigate to the download page and pick a download that matches your system. For most of us, we should pick a 64-bit Windows version of Python 3.7.x (where X was 0 when I did my install).

Warning

You can pick a 32 bit version if you wish, or if your system is an older 32-bit system. As of the day I wrote these notes, this is the file I would pick:

After the file is on your system, you can run by double clicking on the file name in the “Windows Explorer” tool.

Warning

The system will ask you if you want to install this program for a single user or all users. Pick all users!

Picking where to install¶

You can let the program install where Microsoft wants to put things, but as a person who generates a lot of scripts, I prefer to put my programming tools in another place.

I set up a directory called tools at the root of my C drive. Under that directory, I place subdirectories for each major tool I install, and I create a subdirectory named bin for simple executable tools I install. We will go over this in the lab. I do this so the path I need to type into a script will be short and simple.

So, I choose to install Python in c:\tools\Python37 (no matter what the minor version number says).

Setting up the system path¶

Before we are ready to run Python, we need to set the system up so it can find it from the command prompt we will be using in class.

To do this. Follow the instructions in the lecture The Command Line and add c:\tools\python37 to the system path variable. You should also add c:\tools\Python37/Scripts since we will need it as the course proceeds.

That is all we need to do. To make sure everything works, open up a command prompt window and type in python. You should see the interpreter sign on as we did earlier!