Introduction: How to Install Python Packages on Windows 7

For the complete and utter noob 
(put your new skills to the test over at my simpleTweet_01_python instructable.)

You want to use Python on a Windows 7 machine but you don't know what you're doing. What you do know is that in order to go anywhere and do anything you've got to install packages. Or maybe you don't even know that yet. Take a look at the top of any Python code and you'll likely see a line like this: import thingamajig

In Python, as with Java and its derivatives, you're always importing some established code into your project. If you're new to Python, new to Command Prompt, and new to anything non-Windows, then you're going to need a hand with that first step.

The good news is: it's easy.
There is no bad news. 

Step 1: Installing the Package

At the time of this draft, Python 2.7 is the stable install.
Download Python from and install it at C:\Python27\
For users with 64-bit systems, the 32-bit version of all software is recommended. 

Open the Command Prompt
Goto your Start Menu. Start > All Programs > Accessories > Command Prompt

Type into the Command Prompt window:
set path=%path%;C:\Python27\
And hit enter.
You only need to do this once and never again. Read about it here:

Now we're ready to install a package. There's lots to chose from but we'll start here...

Download simplejson at
This is a simplejson-2.1.6.tar.gz file, which in Windows language means it is a strange and otherworldly kind of zip file.

To open the *tar.gz file, download PeaZip for Windows
Use PeaZip to extract (uncompress / unzip) simplejson-2.1.6.tar.gz into your Download directory.
You should end up with something similar to this: C:\Users\pdxNat\Downloads\simplejson-2.1.6\

Go back to your Command Prompt window or open a new one.
You'll need to change directories in the command line and here's how you do that ( )

When you start, your command line should look something like this:
You want to get into the simplejson-2.1.6 directory, so at the command prompt type this:
cd downloads\simplejson-2.1.6
or the complete path:
cd c:\Users\pdxNat\Downloads\simplejson-2.1.6
Your prompt will change from this
to this

Now for the fun part. Inside that simplejson directory there is a file called We're going to install that into the Python universe. Type this into the Command Prompt :
python install

See all that stuff flying by? Forget about it. Open a Windows Explorer window (Start > All Programs > Accessories > Windows Explorer ) and go have a look inside the directory at C:\Python27\Lib\site-packages\
You'll see simplejson-2.1.6-py2.7.egg has been added to the directory.

Now open IDLE (Start > All Programs > Python 2.7 > IDLE (Python GUI)) and type the following:
>>> import simplejson
See all that nothing that happens? That's your sign of success. Congratulations.
You've just installed and imported your first package for Python on Windows 7.
Repeat as needed.

For more information

-Download a package
-Extract the package
-Open Command Prompt
-set path (1st time only)
-change directory to Download\package\
-type >python install