A Guide For Non-Techies To Install And Run Python On Windows

RSS  •  Permalink  •  Created 02 Jan 2017  •  Written by Alberto Pettarin

Developers tend to forget that "regular" people consider code as a mean, not as an end. Once they have their task solved, they are happy, and simply move on with their life. Regular people just want the job "done".

Since I have released a lot of Python programs whose audience includes end-users who are not developers, not even tech-savvy, I have faced lots of basic questions, probably more than the average developer.

(One might argue that Python has a poor system for packaging and sharing applications, and I agree. We, Python developers, could and should do better. But this is a story for another post.)

Questions like

What is a command prompt?


I typed ``python command.py`` but nothing happened.

(they did not press Enter/Return) or

I wrote ``python program.py`` but it says that python is not a known command.

etc. etc.

Most of these questions were asked by Windows users, I guess because Linux or Mac OS X users have Python pre-installed on their machines and they used a terminal at least once in their life.

I realized that over the last 5 years I spent too much time trying to help them individually, when they mailed me asking for help with export-kobo or Penelope or glyphIgo or some other Python program I put on my GitHub account.

Yesterday I decided to search for good, step-by-step guides for complete beginners that I could link to in the documentation of my projects, but I did not find one that I consider "basic enough".

Eventually I wrote it myself, hoping to help Windows users who want to run (my) Python programs.

I think the end result is quite good, with screenshots and plain explanations: it shows how to install the Python interpreter on Windows and how to download and run a Python program using the Command Prompt.

You can find it at:


Feel free to share it (it is licensed as CC BY 4.0), or to suggest improvements, or even better to fork->improve->pull request!