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Noob question re Python on Windows PC

  1. Sep 8, 2011 #1

    I want to start learning Python and am a little nervous about installing it (from www.python.org) and running it on my main Windows Vista PC. I have scary memories from previous programming experience over 20 years ago of it being possible to corrupt important files or bits of memory by careless noob programming. Is this still true?

    Any advice appreciated.
  2. jcsd
  3. Sep 8, 2011 #2
    I've not heard of any adverse effects of installing python, but nothing is certain. FWIW I'm crazy about python and have installed it on a lot of computers with no problem. (I'm a C++ programmer from way back). I use Eclipse with PyDev for my IDE. A very simple "IDE" comes with python, called 'IDLE', but I never liked it much. However, I recommend simply text-editing your python source code for while and running it from the command line before you jump into installing Eclipse and then PyDev. I use Python 3.2. Pretty much all libraries work on it now. It comes with a rich set of libraries that let you do almost anything. (tkinter is the GUI library, for example). You might also want to install pygame so you have more media functions. I can't remember which of these the installer neglects to do, so you might want to do one of them: add python.exe to the PATH, or associate *.py and *.pyc files with python. You'll probably want to get involved in python-forum.org, as well.

    EDIT: BTW the license is VERY lenient. You can embed it in your C++ program. You can also redistribute python and make your installer install it and pygame (I had to do that recently)
    Last edited: Sep 8, 2011
  4. Sep 8, 2011 #3
    Unless you are doing something seriously wrong (namely opening system files intentionally or writing extensions in C that utilise some Win32 API functionality you do not understand), then no, a simple Python install is not going to corrupt anything.
  5. Sep 8, 2011 #4


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    As far as memory goes, it's somewhat more difficult to do this in any programming language these days -- and python will make it even more difficult to screw up.

    If, for whatever reason you decide to work with files, you're unlikely to cause yourself problems unless you go looking for important files. If you're not playing with such things, then you're no more likely to get into trouble with python than you are just using windows explorer. (But if you do go looking at them, it's easier to screw up in Python than it is in windows explorer -- rather than look at the files directly, it might be better to make copies of them and move them to where you're playing with files)
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