Python is easy?

Steve Holden sholden at
Wed Aug 14 18:53:07 CEST 2002

Due to the continued confusion we see among new users I have added a FAQ
entry for "How do I run Python programs under Windows". I'd appreciate
review of

with a view to making it as helpful as possible.

Steve Holden                       
Python Web Programming      

"Peter Hansen" <peter at> wrote in message
news:3D59BC55.DB4EB1DC at
> Jonathan Driller wrote:
> >
> > Jonathan
> >
> > "Steve Holden" <sholden at> wrote:
> > > Jonathan Driller wrote:
> > > > [...]
> > > > Can anyone assist here? My evangelist can't figure it out...
> > >
> > > Get another evangelist :-) Then, at the command line prompt (D:>, or
> > > whatever your interactive wondow gives you) CD into the directory
> > > your script and enter
> > >
> > >     python
> > Much thanks and I agree with your first comment. Possibly something
> > else is going on - what you suggested did not work. But if I open the
> > Python command line I can do things like >>>3 + 3   >>>6 - so Python
> > is working. Any other ideas?
> I have a few ideas, starting with "provide much more information when
> asking questions for a while".  For example "did not work" means what?
> What error message did you see, and what *exactly* did you try to do.
> Believe me, Steve's advice is much more accurate than anything your
> evangelist has told you so far, except the part about Python being
> good!  :-)
> Here are a few more things that might help you.
> 1. The "Python command line" you are running is probably a menu item
> in your Start menu, right?  If you run that, you cannot use it to
> run Python scripts just by typing the name of the script "".
> Inside this command line (the interactive interpreter) you must use
> the "import" statement, as in "import test1", but that's really not
> quite how you would normally run something like this.
> 2. At the MSDOS prompt, if you type "SET" and look at the PATH variable
> it should contain the folder in which your PYTHON.EXE file lives.  Check
> that it does.  Type "PYTHON" by itself at a prompt and make sure you
> get into the interactive interpreter (signified by the >>> prompt).
> If that works, exit again by typing Ctrl-Z, so you are back at the DOS
> prompt again (C:\WINDOWS or whatever it is for you).
> 3. Change to the directory where your test script lives.  You should be
> able to see it if you type "DIR TEST1.PY", something like this:
>    Volume in drive C is DRIVE1-1
>    Volume Serial Number is 2E17-18E1
>    Directory of C:\
>   TEST1    PY            322  08-04-02 12:35a
>            1 file(s)            322 bytes
>            0 dir(s)          432.06 MB free
> I'm guessing you already know all this, but you've given little to
> indicate that you do so forgive me if it seems patronizing.
> 4. If you can see that, and #2 worked, *here* is how you normally run
> a Python script at the command prompt (assuming your file
> is in a folder called C:\FILES):
> C:\FILES> python
> Traceback (most recent call last):
>   File "", line 1, in ?
>     import urlopen
> ImportError: No module named urlopen
> Is that what you got before when you said "it didn't work"?  Well,
> that's because the _script_ is wrong, not the method of running it.
> Let us know if this is the point you are at and we can start pointing
> out the flaws in the script, starting with the fact that there is
> no "urlopen" module...
> -Peter

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