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In order to use Python, it must first be installed on your computer. Follow these steps.

Go to the python website www.python.org and click on the 'Download' menu choice.

python website

Next click on the Python 2.6.5 (note the version number may change) Windows Installer to download the installer. If you know you're running a 64-bit os, you can choose the x86-64 installer.

download python

Be sure to save the file that you're downloading.

save file

Once you've downloaded the file, open it. (You can also double-click on it to open it.)

open installer

You may get a warning that the file is executable. Just click ok at this prompt.

open file anyway

Once the installer starts, it will ask who to install the program for. Usually installing for all users is the best choice.

install for all users

Next, it needs to know where to install the file. The default choice is fine.

install location

You don't need to install the entire package, but we did.

customizations

It will take a while to install.

python installation

Click 'Finish' to exit the installer.

exit installer

After installed, you should now have a Python menu choice. Start the program by choosing IDLE (Python GUI)

python menu

This starts the python shell. You can type in simple commands to see how they work. Try typing the following:

4 + 4
print 'Hello world!'
python shell

In order to do more elaborate programs, normally people store all the commands in a file. To open a file to use in this way, go to File -> New Window.

new window

In this file enter your print command.

test program

Save your file by going to File -> Save

file save

Give the file a name and put the .py suffix on it.

save as

Run your program, by going to Run -> Run Module.

run

Here is what the output will look like.

output
30 June 2010
Mary Heintz