Problem running Python 3.5.2 on school network PC

Terry Reedy tjreedy at
Thu Dec 15 13:28:46 EST 2016

On 12/15/2016 11:11 AM, Jed Mack wrote:
> We are having a problem running Python 3.5.2 on Windows 10 x64 computers,
> which are members of a school network.
> The program seems to install correctly,

Is Python installed on each machine or on a network server?
Rather precisely, how was Python installed?
What installation package was downloaded?  From where?
How was it run?

 > but when we try to run the program
> it stops and give an error message saying:
> *Fatal Python error: Py_Initialize: unable to load the file system codec*
> *Traceback (most recent call last):*
> *  File "C:\Program Files\Python35\lib\encodings\", line 31, in<
> module>*

The line is
     import codecs

> *zipimport.ZipImportError: can't find module 'codecs'*

This says that the stdlib is in the form of a zipfile instead of the 
normal /lib directory.  I don't know how one gets that result on 
Windows.  It appears that the zipped library is missing the file.

> On a Windows 7 PCs, on the same network, the program runs with no problems.

Same Python version?  Same installation file?  Run the same way?

> We have no one here who is familiar with Python.  Do you have any
> additional information on this error, and suggestions for fixing it?

> We have a teacher who needs this program on Windows 10 PCs for students to
> use beginning January 3.

We appreciate that you are trying to use current Python to teach.  I 
hope we are able to solve the problem, given more information.

Terry Jan Reedy

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