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Article ID: 323963 - Last Review: October 30, 2006 - Revision: 4.4

This article was previously published under Q323963

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Python is a popular scripting language for Web sites that run under the UNIX platform. The Python language is cross-platform-aware. As a result, if you migrate Python scripts to Windows, you may only have to install the Python language interpreter. This article describes how to install the Python language interpreter and configure your Internet Information Services (IIS) server to use Python for Common Gateway Interface (CGI) scripts or Active Server Pages (ASP) processing.

Install the ActivePython Distribution Package

To obtain ActivePython software, visit the following Web site to download the ActivePython installer: (
NOTE: This version of the ActivePython installer is a special version of the Python language interpreter that is designed to work under Windows and that has additional Windows specific extensions.

ActivePython version numbers use the same version numbering system of the main Python distribution package. Additionally, ActivePython gives a "build" number, which indicates the specific build (which typically includes new features, enhancements, and bug fixes). For example, the full ActivePython distribution package may be referred to as ActivePython 2.2.0 Build 221. Microsoft recommends that you always select the latest stable build of the ActivePython distribution package.

Installing the ActivePython Software

  1. Log on to the Web server computer as an administrator.
  2. Download the ActivePython installer from the following Web site: (
  3. Double-click the ActivePython installer.
  4. After the installer confirms the version of ActivePython that it is going to be installed, click Next.
  5. If you agree with the terms of the license agreement, click I accept the terms in the license agreement, and then click Next. If you click I do not accept the terms in the license agreement, you cannot continue the installation.
  6. To install the full ActivePython distribution package (this step is recommended), click Typical, and then click Next to continue the installation. The software is installed in the default location (typically C:\Python plus the version number -- for example, C:\Python22).
  7. To customize the individual components or to change the installation folder, click Custom, click Next, and then follow the instructions that appear on the screen.
  8. Click Install to start the installation process.
  9. After the installation has completed, click Finish.

Learn About Python

ActivePython comes with a complete set of documentation in HTML Help format. The language is also accessible in a number of different ways. For migration purposes, the interactive session is the most useful form of Help documentation.

Reading the Documentation

ActivePython comes with a complete set of Python documentation, including some tutorials and guides, How-Tos and FAQ documents. To access the documentation, click Start, point to Programs, point to ActiveState ActivePython X.X (where X.X is the version number), and then click ActivePython Documentation. The documentation is in the form of an HTML Help document, of which you can browse, search, and bookmark different sections.

Starting an Interactive Session

To start Python in an interactive (command-line) session:
  1. Click Start, point to Programs, point to ActiveState ActivePython X.X (where X.X is the version number), and then click Python Interactive Shell.
  2. To quit the interactive shell, press CTRL+Z, and then press ENTER.

Starting PythonWin IDE

IDE is a complete environment for building, testing, and debugging Python programs. To start IDE, click Start, point to Programs, point to ActiveState ActivePython X.X (where X.X is the version number), and then click PythonWin IDE.


For additional information about how to prepare servers for a migration from UNIX to Windows, click the article number below to view the article in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:
323970  ( ) HOW TO: Prepare the Target Servers for a UNIX-to-Windows Migration

  • Microsoft Windows 2000 Server
  • Microsoft Windows 2000 Advanced Server
  • Microsoft Windows 2000 Professional Edition
  • Microsoft Small Business Server 2000 Standard Edition
  • Microsoft Internet Information Services 5.0
kbhowto kbhowtomaster KB323963
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