Windows users can easily install the latest version of Python via the main Python Downloads page. Whilst most seasoned Python developers may shun Windows as the platform of choice for building their code, it’s still an ideal starting point for beginners.
Installing Python 3.X
Microsoft Windows doesn’t come with Python pre-installed as standard, so you’re going to have to install it yourself manually. Thankfully, it’s an easy process to follow.
Step 1 – Start by opening your web browser to www.python.org/downloads/. Look for the button detailing the download link for Python 3.x. The latest version at the time of writing is 3.7.0 but as Python is frequently updated this may be a different version for you.
Step 2 – Click the download button for version 3.x, and save the file to your Downloads folder. When the file is downloaded, double-click the executable and the Python installation wizard will launch. From here you have two choices: Install Now and Customise Installation. We recommend opting for the Customise Installation link.
Step 3 – Choosing the Customise option allows you to specify certain parameters, and whilst you may stay with the defaults, it’s a good habit to adopt as sometimes (not with Python, thankfully) installers can include unwanted additional features. On the first screen available, ensure all boxes are ticked and click the Next button.
Step 4 – The next page of options include some interesting additions to Python. Ensure the Associate file with Python, Create Shortcuts, Add Python to Environment Variables, Precompile Standard Library and Install for All Users options are ticked. These make using Python later much easier. Click Install when you’re ready to continue.
Step 5 – You may need to confirm the installation with the Windows authentication notification. Simply click Yes and Python will begin to install. Once the installation is complete the final Python wizard page will allow you to view the latest release notes, and follow some online tutorials.
Step 6 – Before you close the install wizard window, however, it’s best to click on the link next to the shield detailed Disable Path Length Limit. This will allow Python to bypass the Windows 260 character limitation, enabling you to execute Python programs stored in deep folders arrangements. Again, click Yes to authenticate the process; then you can Close the installation window.
Step 7 – Windows 10 users can now find the installed Python 3.x within the Start button Recently Added section. The first link, Python 3.7 (32-bit) will launch the command line version of Python when clicked (more on that in a moment). To open the IDLE, type IDLE into Windows start.
Step 8 – Clicking on the IDLE (Python 3.7 32-bit) link will launch the Python Shell, where you can begin your Python programming journey. Don’t worry if your version is newer as long as it’s Python 3.x our code works inside your Python 3 interface.
Step 9 – If you now click on the Windows Start button again, and this time type: CMD, you’ll be presented with the Command Prompt link. Click it to get to the Windows command line environment. To enter Python within the command line, you need to type: python and press Enter.
Step 10 – The command line version of Python works in much the same way as the Shell you opened in Step 8; note the three left-facing arrows (>>>). Whilst it’s a perfectly fine environment, it’s not too user-friendly, so leave the command line for now. Enter: exit() to leave and close the Command Prompt window.