Python Tutorial

How to Download & Install Python on Windows? Full Guide

Table of Contents

  • Introduction
  • Things to Know Before Installing Python on Windows
  • Different Python Versions
  • How to Download Python on Windows?
  • How to Install Python on Windows?
  • Verify Python Installation on Windows
  • Why Add Python to system PATH?
  • Troubleshooting Common Python Installation Issues on Windows
  • Managing Python Packages on Windows


Python is a versatile and widely used programming language that has gained immense popularity in recent years. Its significance can be attributed to several key factors:

  • Simplicity and Readability: Python's clean and easy-to-read syntax makes it an excellent choice for both beginners and experienced programmers.

  • Cross-Platform Compatibility: Code written in Python can run on various operating systems, including Windows, macOS, and Linux, with minimal modifications.

  • Several Libraries and Frameworks: Python has a vast ecosystem of libraries and frameworks for a wide range of applications, from web development (e.g., Django and Flask) to data science (e.g., NumPy and Pandas) and artificial intelligence (e.g., TensorFlow and PyTorch). 

  • Versatility: Python's versatility extends to diverse domains, including web development, data analysis, machine learning, automation, and scientific computing. 

  • Open Source and Free: Python is open source and free to use, which lowers the barrier to entry for new programmers and keeps development costs down for businesses.

So, if you want to get started and wondering how to install Python on Windows, we have got you covered here in detail.

Things to Know Before Installing Python on Windows

You must know the system requirements and different versions of Python before downloading and installing it on your Windows system:

1. System Requirements

Before diving into the Python installation on Windows, it's crucial to ensure that your system meets the necessary requirements. 

Python 3 is compatible with various versions of Windows, including:

  • Windows 7

  • Windows 8/8.1

  • Windows 10

  • Windows Server 2012 and later

2. Processor (CPU)

Python is not very demanding in terms of CPU requirements, and it should run on most modern processors without issues.

3. Memory (RAM)

Python itself does not have strict RAM requirements, but the amount of RAM you need will depend on the specific tasks and applications you plan to run with Python. 

A general rule of thumb is to have at least 2 GB of RAM for basic Python development and usage. For data-intensive and memory-heavy applications, more RAM is recommended.

4. Disk Space

The installation of Python itself requires around 100 MB of disk space.

Additional space is needed for any libraries, packages, and applications you install using Python. It's advisable to have several gigabytes of free space for your Python projects and associated dependencies.

5. Architecture (32-bit or 64-bit)

Python for Windows is available in both 32-bit and 64-bit versions. Your choice between 32-bit and 64-bit Python should be based on your Windows system's architecture. 

If you have a 32-bit Windows, install the 32-bit Python version. If you have a 64-bit Windows, it's recommended to install the 64-bit Python version to take full advantage of your hardware.

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Different Python Versions

Python has seen a significant transition from Python 2 to Python 3. Here's some important information about the different Python versions:

  • Python 2

Python 2 was the legacy version of Python and was widely used for many years. However, it reached its end of life on January 1, 2020. This means that it no longer receives official updates, bug fixes, or security patches. 

It's highly recommended to use Python 3 for Windows or any new projects or installations.

  • Python 3

Python 3 is the current and actively maintained version of Python. It includes various improvements, enhanced features, and better Unicode support compared to Python 2. Python 3 is the version you should choose for new installations and projects.

How to Download Python on Windows?

To begin your Python download for Windows, follow these step-by-step instructions:

  1. Open Your Web Browser: Launch your preferred web browser and go to the official Python website.

  2. Navigate to Downloads: On the Python website's home page, locate and click on the "Downloads" tab. This will take you to the Python download page.

 Python download for Windows

  1. Choose Your Version: You'll see various Python versions available for download. Select the latest stable release of Python 3. This is the version that is actively maintained and recommended for all new projects. For example, Python 3.12 is the latest version of Windows. You can see and download Python language releases here.

Python language releases

  1. Select Your Windows Version: Scroll down, and you'll find options for 32-bit and 64-bit versions. Choose the appropriate version for your Windows system. 

  2. Download Python on Windows: Click on the download link for the selected Python version. Your browser will start downloading the Python installer.

In most cases, if you have a 64-bit Windows system, it's a good practice to install the 64-bit version of Python. It will ensure that you can take full advantage of your hardware, and it's the version that is actively maintained and developed.

With Python downloaded and the right version chosen, you're ready to move on to the installation process on your Windows system.

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How to Install Python on Windows?

Now that you've downloaded it, let's walk through the steps for installation of Python on Windows:

1. Launching the Installer

Find the Python exe file you downloaded in the previous section. It's usually named something like "python-X.X.X.exe," where "X.X.X" represents the version number.

Launching the Installer

2. Run the Installer

Double-click the installer to start the Python installation process. Windows may ask for administrative permissions; if prompted, click "Yes" to proceed.

Run the Installer

3. Choosing Installation Options

Once the Python installer is launched, you'll have several installation options. It's important to make the right selections to customize your installation according to your needs:

  • Install Now: This is the recommended option and will install Python on Windows with the default settings. Click "Install Now" to proceed with a standard installation.

Choosing Installation Options

  • Customize Installation: Clicking this option allows you to customize the Python installation on Windows further. It's useful if you want to modify installation paths or select specific components.

  • Add Python X.X to PATH: Make sure to check this box. Adding Python to the PATH allows you to run Python from the command prompt or PowerShell without specifying the full path to the Python executable. This option is highly recommended for a smoother Python development experience.

Python for windows

4. Running the Python Installation Process

Once you've made your selections, proceed with the installation process by clicking "Install Now" or "Next," depending on the installer version. 

Here's what to expect during the installation:

  • Progress Bar: You'll see a progress bar indicating the installation status. Python and its associated files will be copied to your system.

python setup progress

  • Installation Complete: When the installation of Python on Windows is finished, you'll see a screen that says, "Setup was successful." You can now close the installer.

python setup complete

Now, you have successfully completed the Python installation on Windows. 

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Verify Python Installation on Windows

After installing Python on Windows, you must check whether the installation was successful and it is working as expected. 

Below are the steps to verify it:

1. Open a Command Prompt

To begin the verification process, open a command prompt. Follow these steps:

  • Press the Windows Key on your keyboard or click the Windows icon in the taskbar to open the Start menu.

  • Type "cmd" or "Command Prompt" in the search bar.

  • Click on "Command Prompt" or "Windows Terminal" to open the command prompt or terminal window.

2. Typing Python and Checking for a Python Prompt

In the command prompt, simply type the following and press Enter:


If Python is installed correctly, you should see the Python interactive prompt, which looks like this:

Python X.X.X
[Other information]

 Command Prompt

The X.X.X represents the installed Python version, and the >>> indicates that you are now in the Python interactive mode.

3. Running a Simple Python Script to Confirm Functionality

To further confirm that Python is working as expected, you can run a simple Python script. 

Here's an example using a "Hello, World!" script:

Still in the command prompt, type the following and press Enter:

print("Hello, World!")

You should see the output:

Hello, World!

 Command Prompt Python

This confirms that Python is not only installed but also capable of executing Python scripts.

Why Add Python to system PATH?

Adding Python to the system PATH is a crucial step when installing Python on Windows, and its significance lies in the following key reasons:

  • Command Line Access: When you add Python to the system PATH, you enable the ability to run Python from the command prompt or PowerShell without specifying the full path to the Python executable. This means you can simply open a command prompt and type python to access the Python interpreter, making it more convenient and efficient for various tasks.

  • Running Python Scripts: The PATH environment variable allows your operating system to locate executables in specified directories without specifying the full path. By adding Python to the PATH, you can execute Python scripts from any directory on your system. This is particularly useful when working with Python scripts stored in different folders.

  • Integration with Development Tools: Many integrated development environments (IDEs) and code editors use the system PATH to locate the Python interpreter. When Python is on the PATH, these tools can seamlessly discover and use Python for development tasks, making your workflow smoother.

  • Accessibility: Python is a versatile language used for a wide range of purposes, from automation to web development and data analysis. Having Python on the PATH means you can quickly access Python for these tasks without the need to remember or navigate to the Python installation directory each time.

  • Package Management: Tools like pip, the Python package manager, rely on the system PATH to locate the Python interpreter. With Python on the PATH, you can easily install, update, and manage Python packages and libraries, simplifying the process of adding functionality to your Python environment.

  • Environment Consistency: By adding Python to the PATH, you ensure that Python is consistently accessible across your system. This is important if you work on projects that involve multiple directories or collaborate with others, as it helps maintain a consistent Python environment for everyone involved.

Troubleshooting Common Python Installation Issues on Windows

When installing Python on Windows, you may encounter common installation issues. Following are some troubleshooting steps to address these issues:

1. "Python is not recognized as an internal or external command" Error:

Issue: This error occurs when Python is not added to the system PATH during installation.

Solution: Reinstall Python and make sure to check the option "Add Python X.X to PATH" during installation. 

Alternatively, you can manually add Python to the PATH:

  • Search for "Environment Variables" in the Windows search bar.

  • Click "Edit the system environment variables."

  • In the "System Properties" window, click the "Environment Variables" button.

  • Under "System variables," find the "Path" variable, select it, and click "Edit."

  • Add the path to your Python installation directory (e.g., C:\PythonXX) to the list of paths.

2. Installation Stalls or Freezes

Issue: The installation process may stall or freeze, making it appear as if nothing is happening.

Solution: Try the following:

  • Restart your computer and run the installer again.

  • Download the Python installer from the official website if the downloaded file is corrupted.

  • Ensure you have sufficient disk space for the installation.

3. Access Denied or Permissions Issues

Issue: You encounter "Access Denied" or permission-related errors during installation.

Solution: Run the installer as an administrator. Right-click the installer and select "Run as administrator." This grants the installer the necessary permissions to make changes to your system.

4. Installation Rolls Back or Fails

Issue: The installation process starts but then rolls back or fails.

Solution: This issue can be caused by conflicting software or security software preventing the installation. 

Try the following:

  • Disable antivirus or security software temporarily during the installation.

  • Ensure no other Python installation is present, as conflicts can occur.

  • Check the installation log for error messages that provide more specific information.

5. Incomplete Installation

Issue: The installation appears to complete but you experience unexpected behavior or missing components.

Solution: Uninstall Python, delete the Python installation directory, and then reinstall Python from scratch. Ensure all installation options are selected as needed.

6. Python Not Launching

Issue: Python doesn't launch when you type python in the command prompt.

Solution: Check that Python is on the PATH, and make sure to restart the command prompt or PowerShell after installing Python to apply the changes. If it still doesn't work, there may be an issue with your system PATH, and you should double-check the environment variables.

7. Dependency Errors

Issue: You encounter errors related to missing dependencies when running Python scripts or installing packages.

Solution: Make sure your system has all the necessary dependencies for Python. This may involve installing Visual C++ Redistributable packages or other required libraries based on the Python packages you're using.

8. Corrupted Installation

Issue: Python behaves unexpectedly, or you suspect the installation is corrupted.

Solution: Uninstall Python, delete the Python installation directory, and then reinstall it from the official Python website. Make sure to download a fresh installer to rule out any corruption in the installation file.

Managing Python Packages on Windows

Package management is a critical aspect of Python development, as it allows you to easily install, update, and uninstall libraries and packages that extend Python's functionality. The most commonly used package manager in the Python ecosystem is pip.

Importance of Package Management with pip

Here's why package management with pip is essential:

  • Efficiency: pip simplifies the process of installing and managing Python packages. It automates the retrieval of packages from the Python Package Index (PyPI), which hosts a vast collection of open-source Python packages.

  • Dependency Resolution: pip resolves package dependencies, ensuring that all required dependencies for a package are installed correctly. This prevents compatibility issues and makes it easier to work with complex projects.

  • Version Control: pip allows you to specify the desired version of a package to ensure compatibility with your code. It also provides features for upgrading and downgrading packages.

Installing, Updating, and Uninstalling Python Packages with pip:

Here's a brief overview of how to use pip to install, update, and uninstall Python packages on Windows:

  • Installing a Python Package:

To install a Python package using pip, open a command prompt or terminal and use the following command:

pip install package_name

Replace package_name with the name of the package you want to install. For example, to install the popular NumPy library:

pip install numpy
  • Updating a Python Package:

To update an installed Python package to the latest version, use the --upgrade or -U flag with pip install:

pip install --upgrade package_name

For instance, to update NumPy to the latest version:

pip install --upgrade numpy
  • Uninstalling a Python Package:

To remove an installed Python package, use the uninstall or remove command with pip:

pip uninstall package_name

For example, to uninstall NumPy:

pip uninstall numpy

These pip commands will take care of retrieving, installing, updating, and uninstalling Python packages and their dependencies, simplifying the process of managing your project's dependencies and ensuring smooth development on Windows or any other platform.

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FAQs Related to Python for Windows

Python is a versatile and widely-used programming language known for its simplicity and readability. It's popular on Windows, like other platforms, due to its cross-platform compatibility, a wide range of libraries and frameworks, and a vibrant community of developers.
The difference is in the architecture. Choose 32-bit Python if you have a 32-bit Windows system and 64-bit Python if you have a 64-bit Windows system. 64-bit Python is recommended for better performance on 64-bit systems, but 32-bit Python is compatible with both.
Pip is a package manager for Python that simplifies the installation, updating, and removal of Python packages. You can use it from the command prompt by running commands like pip install package_name, pip install --upgrade package_name, and pip uninstall package_name.
You can create a virtual environment using the venv module or the virtualenv package. Navigate to your project directory in the command prompt and use the python -m venv env_name command to create a virtual environment.
Popular IDEs for Python on Windows include Visual Studio Code (VS Code), PyCharm, and Jupyter Notebook. These IDEs offer features like code completion, debugging, and project management.
Yes, you can run Python scripts from the command prompt or PowerShell by navigating to the script's directory and using the python command.
Yes, Python can be used within the Windows Subsystem for Linux (WSL), allowing you to run Python in a Linux-like environment alongside your Windows system.
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