Python for Windows - docs?

I’m wanting to install Python on Windows. My previous experience (a fair amount) has ben entirely on Linux.

I’d like to start by reading some (online) starter documentation for Python on Windows. Is there any good documentation that you can recommend?

Hi and welcome.

For any OS, there’s no better place to start (IMHO) than

I don’t think there’s a major difference between python on Linux and Python on windows. You can install python on windows from either the Windows app store or
For the documentation, you can just Google python documentation and you’ll get what you’re searching for. I think python on windows also comes with the compressed HTML documentation or something like that. So you don’t have to look far for the documentation.

Okay… I’ve looked around python .org a fair bit, and I didn’t find anything that was answering the questions that were coming to me. I suspect my questions are fairly basic, and probably have been asked many times before, hence my hope that there was a good document that I hadn’t found yet that had an answer to them.

The first example of a basic question that I figured was already answered somewhere:
Which file do I want to download from Python Releases for Windows | ? I understand the 32bit-vs-64bit part and the 3.9-vs-3.10-vs-3.11 part, but I’d love to read a little about the difference between the embeddable package and the installer downloads.

Also, a paragraph (or maybe just a sentence) about whether administrator priviledges are required, or a special procedure for installing without administrator priveleges, would be useful.

Use whichever of the two installers you like, unless you’re planning on copying the installer to some machine that has no internet access and running it there, in which case you should use the executable installer.

If you need admin privileges, your OS will ask for the admin password, just like with Linux.

Not really ‘starter documentation’ perhaps, but the official docs have a lot of details about usage on Windows.

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The embeddable package is intended for embedding Python in another application. This distribution includes a configuration file named “python3<x>._pth” that isolates the interpreter from the environment and registry settings and by default does not import the site module. Also, the standard library in the embeddable package is pre-compiled (i.e. “.pyc” files) and zipped up in a single file named “python3<x>.zip”.

If you’re not embedding Python in another application for redistribution, then you should install via the full executable installer or the Microsoft store package. There are also nuget packages available for continuous integration build systems.

a paragraph (or maybe just a sentence) about whether administrator priviledges are required

If any component of the installation is configured to be installed for all users, then you may be prompted for consent or credentials if the installer doesn’t already have administrator access.

By default, a full installation is just for the current user, except I think the py launcher installs for all users by default. Anyway, default notwithstanding, if the launcher isn’t already installed for all users, you have the option to install it just for the current user.


This is the document I was hoping to find.

In the very first section, it describes the various choices that are available on the download page.

(Oddly, in the second section (4.1.1), it seems to describe a rather different set of choices, mentioning a “web installer” and a “full installer” that I don’t see listed on the download page, and not mentioning the embeddable package (which comes back in section 4.4) )

It also lists (briefly) some alternatives like ActivePython and Anaconda, which I was wondering about.

Are you planning on installing Python? Then you want the installer.

Are you embedding the Python interpreter inside another application written in C? Then you want the embeddable package.

The embeddable package is for the specialised use of application developers who need to include a Python interpreter in their application, and control exactly what version and libraries are included. It is not for general use to install Python on your machine and use it.

When I have installed Python on Windows, I just used the app store.

Sounds like the documentation is out of date. You should raise an issue on the bug tracker: