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P Bergqvist

Howto get a working python development environment under Windows

Published: sep 27, 2010

Tags: media python windows


Odd title for me? Oh yes! Since my last career change I have only worked with Windows. But putting Python totally behind me is hard, it itches sometimes in my fingers. So I have resumed the development of my home brewn HTPC called PyMBrowser (that's Python Media Browser, one of the best names I've come up with;-). To get the development for Pymbrowser up and running on windows I hade to

This is a small list to get a proper python development environment under Windows. And with proper I include niceties like pip, virtualenv, virtualenvwrapper (oh yeah!), QT etc.

  1. Install Python

    Just head on to and install the right version for your computer. I decided to use the 32-bit version even though I'm using Windows 7 64-bit, this to minimize all sources to errors. Add Python to your path (c:\Python27 for me example), also add c:\Python27\Scripts to the path, to make lots of things easier. To make your path changes active you just have to close the cmd and start a new one.

  2. Install MingW

    Download MingW from SF (, you just have to click the big green button pointing to a tiny file that weighs in at ~500K. This is just the installation, it will get the stuff it need from the net. Don't know if it's necessary, but I also choose c++ as addon. Add c:\MinGw\bin (or wherever you install it) to your path

    (Thanks for guidance)

  3. Install Setuptools

    Just to download the matching verion from I choose the .exe-file so just double click and it detected my python installation and installed itself in the right place.

    (Thanks for the packaging to the whole of the setuptools-team!)

  4. Install pip

    Open a cmd and run:

    easy_install.exe pip

    I did get the command above to work, but, I couldn't get pip to actually install anything (it failed due to some windows permissions), so I'm using the solution below.

    Download the tar.gz from and unpack. Install by extracting the tar.gz file (7-zip is a nice tool for this) Step into the right folder and run python install (If this does not work you maybe have to run: python build –compiler=mingw32 install)

  5. Install virtualenv If everything uptil now has worked without a hitch then this is even easier: pip install virtualenv Easy huh?

  6. Install virtualenvwrapper

    One step left, almost. Justin Driscoll has rewritten the original virtualenvwrapper from bash to python (what a luck for us windows-users (and fish-shell-users too)), you can find the script at

    Just copy the code, create a new file called in c:\Python27\Scripts, paste and save.

    You should now be able to run -l and see all of your virtualenvs (which should be none right now)

That should be it, if I have forgotten something, please make a comment and I correct it as soon as possible.

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