This article describes setting up your Windows laptop for SPIS.

Setting up your Windows Computer

You don’t really need a laptop to participate in SPIS. Most of the work for SPIS will be done on the ACMS machines in B230.

But if you have a Windows laptop, it may come in handy. This article describes how to set things up to make it more convenient to use that laptop to do the things are are doing in SPIS.

Using the ACMS computers

You can use these machines:

Using ACMS over ssh

To use ACMS computers over ssh, the best solution we have found is called Mobaxterm.

The “MobaXterm Home Edition (Installer edition)” is free and is the best choice (as of this writing, August 2016).

To use it:

Installing Python

The version of Python you want is the “latest Python 2 release” on this screen:

If you know you have a 64-bit machine and a 64-bit version of windows, choose the Windows x86-64 MSI installer.

Otherwise, choose the Windows x86 MSI installer

Getting Python to actually work at the command prompt

To get Python and the pip command to work at the command prompt, you may have to do one extra step.

To see whether you need to do this step, bring up a Windows command prompt, and type python

If you get the Python shell, just type quit(). If you don’t, then you’ll need to do the step below to add C:\Python27\ to your path environment variable. And while we are at it, we’ll add C:\Python27\Scripts, since we’ll need that eventually as well.

(This is assuming that Python has been installed to C:\Python27; check that first. If Python isn’t on your computer at all, try installing it again. If it is in another place, use that instead of `C:\Python27 in the instructions below.)

Also, try typing path at the Windows command prompt. You’ll get back output with some long thing that looks like this (the exact value will vary from system to system, and it is often considerably longer)


What you want is to make a change so that C:\Python27\ shows up at the end of this as well.

The way you add The way it looks is slightly different on each different version of Windows. But typically, it invovles the following steps:

There will be some way to add additional things into this so-called path. You want to add two new things:

Be sure that after you add these, that you click “OK”, or “Save”, or whatever to back your way out of the various windows and dialogs and buttons you used to get to where you added the new values. If you use “cancel” or “click the red x”, it might not save your changes, and you’ll just have to do it all over again.

To see whether it worked, close and then reopen any Windows Command Line windows you have open, and then type path again. See whether these two new directories appear at the end of the path:


If so, then try the python and pip commands again and see if they work.

Note that on Windows, instead of pip install --user blah you’ll probably just use pip install blah

Try it with pip install flask to see if it works.

What if Python works, but pip doesn’t?

If the Python command works, but the pip command does not, then try this:

  1. Navigate to and save that file to somewhere on your computer; perhaps your Windows home folder.
  2. In a Windows command line shell, navigate to the folder where you saved Run the command python
  3. Try the pip command again at the Windows Command Prompt.

If that still doesn’t work, you may need to either:

  1. Ask a mentor or instructor for help
  2. Search the web for a solution

Getting git for windows

To get git for Windows, visit:

Download and install. We recommend taking all of the defaults for the various options you are presented with (i.e. just keep pressing enter).

If you have any command line windows open, close and reopen them before trying git commands.

Setting up the git options and ssh key on your Windows machine

The steps for setting up an ssh key for your Windows machine are pretty much the same as the git steps we did for our ACMS account, documented here: ACMS: Github one time setup, with the difference being that:

If you use your account from multiple computers and/or ACMS accounts, you’ll need to add an ssh key for each one.