Setting up Windows for Python and this class

NOTE: this is from memory: no system to test on right now.

Getting The Tools


There are a number of python distributions available – many designed for easier support of scientific programming:

Anaconda Enthought Canopy Python(x,y)

But for core use, the installer from is the way to go:

You want the installer for Python 2.7.8 – probably 64 bit, though if you have a 32 bit sytem, you can get that. There is essentially no difference for the purposes of this course.

Double click and install.


You can use the “DOS Box” as a terminal, though the newer “powershell” is a better option.

But to use the Python in the terminal efectively, you need to put a couple paths on your “PATH” environment variable:

You want to add:






Get a git client – the gitHub GUI client may be nice – I honestly don’t know.

There is also ToroiseGit:

which integrates git with the filemanager. But for the purposes of learning, it may be better to use a command line client:

I think that gives you a “Git bash shell” – a command window that gives you a *nix - like command line shell.


pip is the Python package installer. Unfortunately, it doesn’t come out of the box with Python2.7, so you need to install it:

download from that site, and run it with python:

$ python

It should download and install pip (and setuptools)

You can now use pip to install other packages.


One we are going to use in class is iPython:

$ pip install ipython

You should now be able to run iPython:

$ ipython
    Python 2.7.8 (v2.7.8:ee879c0ffa11, Jun 29 2014, 21:07:35)
    Type "copyright", "credits" or "license" for more information.

    IPython 2.0.0 -- An enhanced Interactive Python.
    ?         -> Introduction and overview of IPython's features.
    %quickref -> Quick reference.
    help      -> Python's own help system.
    object?   -> Details about 'object', use 'object??' for extra details.