What is Python?
Since Python was first released in the 1990s, it has become an increasingly popular programming language because it can be used for a variety of situations, such as:
- General Programming,
- Web Development,
- Software Development,
- Data Analytics and Data Science,
- and others.
It is also a popular programming languages for coding beginners due to the relatively easier learning curve compared to other programming languages. However, Python does not come preloaded with Windows 10, so for people who want to start coding in Python, they would have to download and install it first.
The Quick and Easy Way
Head over to the official Python website. Hover over the Downloads tab, and click on the Python 3.x.x button under Download for Windows. A Python installer will then be downloaded.
The Slower Alternatives
If you downloaded Python using the quick and easy way, Python will download the 32-bit version of the latest release of Python. As of 09 September 2020, Python 3.8.5 is the latest release. However, you can also choose to download previous releases of Python, or download the 64-bit version.
If you wish to download another version of Python, head over directly to the Python Releases for Windows found on the official Python website to download the installer of your choice.
Choosing between Python 2 and Python 3
You might have noticed that Python has 2 latest releases: one for Python 3 and one for Python 2. What's the difference?
Python 2 and Python 3 are the major versions of Python. The numbers following the 2 or the 3, e.g. Python 3.x.x refers to the minor version and the revision number respectively, which are not as important for now.
Python 2 is the older version of Python 3 and was released on October 2000.
Python 3 was released on December 2008 and contains a number of major changes that caused it to be not fully backwards-compatible with Python 2. This means that code that runs fine on Python 2 might have to be rewritten in order to run on Python 3.
If this is your first time downloading and installing Python, I would recommend that you download and install Python 3. This is because coding in Python 2 is slightly different from coding in Python 3, you might as well start learning using the newer version. Furthermore, Python 2 was officially discontinued on 20 April 2020 with the release of Python 2.7.18. You really should not be using Python 2 anymore as no more security patches or feature improvements will be released for it.
Once you download the installer, double-click on the installer to run it and you will see the following screen.
Make sure that the Add Python 3.x to PATH option is checked, and click Install Now. Wait for the installation to finish.
Once you see the prompt shown in the image above, you have successfully installed Python. Some users may see an option to Disable length path limit. Clicking on this would not brick your computer. By disabling the length path limit, Python can use long path names. While this isn't an issue in Unix-based systems such as MacOS and Linux distributions, you might have some issues relating to PATH while working with Python and Windows. As such, I recommend that you click the button to disable the length path limit.
And there you have it! You have successfully downloaded and installed Python 3 on your Windows 10 machine.
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