[Tutor] help with getting python to run from command prompt on Windows XP

Kent Johnson kent37 at tds.net
Wed Jan 14 21:01:50 CET 2009

On Wed, Jan 14, 2009 at 2:36 PM, Brian van den Broek
<broek at cc.umanitoba.ca> wrote:
> Hi all,
> I'm trying, via email, to help a friend set up python on his Windows
> XP computer. I've been strictly linux for some time now, and don't
> have a Windows machine on which to investigate. We've hit a problem,
> and I'd appreciate a push.
> He's got python 2.6.1 installed as evidenced by the Startbar program
> icon for Idle launching as expected. When run from IDLE, `print
> sys.executable' yields `C:\\Python26\\pythonw.exe'.
> He reports that C:\Python26 contains both python.exe and pythonw.exe.
> I've had him add the text `;C:\Python26' (without quotes) to the end
> of his Path environment variable via the Control Panel|System
> Properties way of editing Environment variables. I've had him reboot
> afterwards.
> After all of that, he reports that an attempt to run python from the
> command prompt produces a complaint that `` `python' is not recognized
> as an internal or external command, operable program or batch file.''
> Can someone with Windows knowledge please tell me what I am missing?
> Am I wrong in recalling that from the command prompt on Windows, one
> wants python, rather than pythonw? (I seem to recollect that
> pythonw.exe is what you associate with .py files to prevent a
> double-click on a .py icon from producing the `DOS box flash' and
> *not* what one wants to use from the prompt itself.)

It sounds to me like you have asked him to do the right thing. I would try
- check the Path setting by typing 'set path' at a command prompt and
verify that C:\Python26 is in the displayed path
- try running Python with a full path, i.e. at the command prompt try


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