Windows virtualenv installation


This installation procedure is much more involved then the one using WinPython as described in Installation. Without good reason please use WinPython version.


Install Python 2.7 using appropriate installer: Python 2.7.3 x86 MSI Installer


After installation append paths to python.exe (i.e. C:\Python27) and path to directory Scripts (i.e. C:\Python27\Scripts) in the PATH environment variable.


Instead of installing packages systemwide in these instructions we use virtualenv to create an isolated Python environment and then install packages into this environment. This procedure is more demanding but has the advantage of being independent from the rest of the system.

To install virtualenv first install distribute and pip:

  1. download

  2. download

  3. enter elevated/administrator command prompt: right click on the Command prompt icon and select Run as administrator

  4. Navigate to the directory where the files were downloaded (i.e. C:\Users\user\Desktop) and run following commands:

    C:\> cd Users\user\Desktop
    C:\Users\user\Desktop> python
    C:\Users\user\Desktop> python
  5. After this distribute should be installed so downloaded files and temporary build directory can be deleted.

  6. Install virtualenv:

    C:\Users\user\Desktop> pip install virtualenv


When the installation of virtualenv is completed the elevated/administrator Command prompt is not needed anymore so it can be closed. All subsequent commands should go in the regular Command prompt.

Pymote virtual environment

  1. To make a virtual environment in which all other packages are going to be installed first navigate to the directory in which you want to set up environment. This can be any directory and in the following steps we use C:\Users\user\Documents:

    C:\Users\user> cd C:\Users\user\Documents
    C:\Users\user\Documents> virtualenv pymote_env
    New python executable in pymote_env\Scripts\python.exe
    Installing setuptools................done.
    Installing pip...................done.

    This command has made a new directory pymote_env inside C:\Users\user\Documents with separate python interpreter and two necessary packages.

  1. Activate environment:

    C:\Users\user\Documents> pymote_env\Scripts\activate
    (pymote_env) C:\Users\user\Documents>


    The (pymote_env) prefix to prompt in the last line indicates that newly created environment is activated. All subsequently installed packages from this modified command prompt end up in the activated environment. Environment can be deactivated with command deactivate.

  2. Set PYMOTE_ENV environment variable as path to pymote_env directory. This way all executables that are not being started from the modified command prompt should know where to look for the environment and its packages.


    In Windows Vista and later use command setx PYMOTE_ENV "C:\path\to\pymote_env" to save environment variable permanently. In XP use the normal way through Control Panel (instructions).

  3. Launch text editor (use Notepad++ or WordPad, do not use plain Notepad) and open pymote_env\Scripts\activate.bat file. To display the .bat files in open dialog you have to chose All Documents (*.*) from the file types dropdown.

  4. Add line set IPYTHONDIR=%VIRTUAL_ENV%\.ipython below the line that sets VIRTUAL_ENV environment variable, near the top. Save the document. This way IPython package which is not yet fully compatible with the virtualenv knows where to look for its conguration files.

  5. Open pymote_env\Scripts\deactivate.bat in text editor and insert line set IPYTHONDIR= just below the line @echo off, near the top of the document. Save the document.


After setting the environment variable and modifying activate.bat and deactivate.bat scripts you must restart the Command prompt and reenter/reactivate pymote_env. If all goes well commands echo %PYMOTE_ENV% and echo %IPYTHONDIR% should print environment paths.

Required packages

All required packages are installed in the environment created in the previous section so before continuing ensure that the environment is activated. Active environment is indicated with prompt prefix i.e. (pymote_env).

NumPy and SciPy

Since normal installation of these packages requires compiling we make a shortcut by using precompiled binaries and installing them into virtual environment using this solution:

  1. Download NumPy binary numpy-1.7.0-win32-superpack-python2.7.exe and SciPy binary scipy-0.11.0-win32-superpack-python2.7.exe.


    Newer versions of NumPy and SciPy may be available.

  2. Do not run downloaded .exe files as that would install them systemwide. Instead extract them (with 7-zip) in some temporary directory i.e. C:\Users\user\Desktop.

  3. Based on your processor support of SSE instructions (probably sse3, see the note below) install appropriate extracted .exe files (nosse|sse2|sse3) using easy_install command:

    (pymote_env) C:\Users\user\Desktop> easy_install numpy-1.7.0-[nosse|sse2|sse3].exe
    (pymote_env) C:\Users\user\Desktop> easy_install scipy-0.11.0-[nosse|sse2|sse3].exe


    SSE3 instructions are supported by all reasonably modern processors. If you’re not sure try CPU-Z.

After installation all downloaded and extracted files can be deleted.


Matplotlib package is installed almost the same way as NumPy and SciPy packages in previous section using the appropriate binary matplotlib-1.2.0.win32-py2.7.exe. The only difference is in the 3rd step where the extracted contents from directory PLATLIB should be copied to pymote_env/Lib/site-packages/ directory:

C:\Users\user\Desktop> xcopy /s matplotlib-1.2.0.win32-py2.7\PLATLIB\* %PYMOTE_ENV%\Lib\site-packages


For Pyreadline package use easy_install as pip currently installs version which does not work well with IPython:

(pymote_env)> easy_install pyreadline


For Pymote GUI part of the library PySide Qt bindings for Python should be installed. This is achieved using this solution, that is, running following commands:

(pymote_env)> easy_install PySide
(pymote_env)> python pymote_env\Scripts\ -install


Finally, in order to download and install Pymote and all other required packages there are two aviliable options, use one of them:

  1. Stable: for latest stable version use package from PyPI:

    (pymote_env)> pip install pymote
  2. Development: to install latest development version of the Pymote use source from github repo:

    (pymote_env)> pip install -e git+

To list all packages installed in the environment run pip freeze. The output should look something like this:

(pymote_env)> pip freeze

Starting Pymote

Before starting, make sure that virtual environment is activated windows and run ipymote for interactive console or pymote-simgui for simualtion GUI. For more details refer to Starting Pymote.

Additional customization

The recommended way to avoid starting command prompt, activating the virtual environment and running ipymote in it is to make a shortcut to the ipymote.exe file on the desktop, taskbar or start menu.

You can customize prompt can be additionaly customized by right clicking on the shortcut and selecting Properties from the menu. Highly recommended customizations are:

  • in Options tab enable QuickEdit mode
  • in Font tab change font to Consolas and size to 16
  • in Layout tab increase Screen buffer size Height from 300 to at least 3000

The loading of the correct environment when shortcut is double clicked is possible via previously set PYMOTE_ENV environment variable which points to the environment location.