How to Install the PIP Package Installer for Python on Windows

Key Takeaways

  • PIP is the standard package manager for Python, allowing you to install and manage third-party packages
  • The latest versions of Python come with PIP pre-installed, but older versions require manual installation
  • There are multiple ways to install PIP on Windows, including using the script, Python’s ensurepip module, or a standalone ZIP application

Python’s rich collection of third-party packages and libraries is one of the key factors behind its widespread adoption across various domains. However, managing and installing these external packages can be a daunting task without a proper package manager. This is where PIP (Pip Installs Packages) comes into play as the de facto standard package management system for Python.

PIP simplifies the process of installing, upgrading, and removing Python packages. It connects to the Python Package Index (PyPI) and other package repositories to fetch and install the required packages and their dependencies. With PIP, you can easily extend Python’s functionality by incorporating powerful libraries for data analysis, web development, machine learning, and more.

In this comprehensive guide, we’ll explore different methods to install PIP on Windows, ensuring you have the necessary tools to manage Python packages effectively.

Checking if PIP is Already Installed

Before proceeding with the installation, it’s essential to check if PIP is already present on your system. The latest versions of Python (3.4 and newer) come with PIP pre-installed, so you may not need to install it manually.

To check if PIP is installed, follow these steps:

  1. Open the Command Prompt by searching for “cmd” in the Windows search bar and clicking on the “Command Prompt” result.
  2. Type the following command and press Enter:
pip --version

If PIP is installed, you’ll see the version number displayed in the output. For example:

pip 21.2.4 from C:\Python\Python39\lib\site-packages\pip (python 3.9)

If you receive an error message stating that “pip” is not recognized as a command, it means PIP is not installed, and you’ll need to proceed with one of the installation methods described below.

Method 1: Installing PIP Using

One of the most straightforward ways to install PIP on Windows is by using the script provided by the Python Packaging Authority (PyPA). This script automates the installation process and ensures you have the latest version of PIP.

Follow these steps to install PIP using

  1. Navigate to the official URL:
  2. Right-click on the page and select “Save as” to download the script to your desired location on your computer.
  3. Open the Command Prompt and navigate to the directory where you saved the script using the cd command. For example, if you saved the script in the “Downloads” folder, you would enter:
cd Downloads
  1. Run the following command to install PIP:

This command will download and install the latest version of PIP, along with other required packages like setuptools and wheel.

Method 2: Using Python’s ensurepip Module

Starting with Python 3.4, the standard Python distribution includes the ensurepip module, which can bootstrap the installation of PIP. This method is particularly useful if you’re unable to download the script for any reason.

To install PIP using the ensurepip module, follow these steps:

  1. Open the Command Prompt.
  2. Run the following command:
python -m ensurepip

This command will install PIP and other required packages like setuptools for the Python version you’re currently running.

Note: If you have multiple versions of Python installed, you may need to specify the version you want to install PIP for. For example, to install PIP for Python 3.9, use the following command:

python3.9 -m ensurepip

Method 3: Using the Standalone PIP ZIP Application

Another option to install PIP on Windows is by using the standalone ZIP application provided by the PyPA. This application contains a self-contained version of PIP that doesn’t require a separate Python installation.

Follow these steps to install PIP using the standalone ZIP application:

  1. Navigate to the official website and download the latest version of the pip.pyz ZIP application.
  2. Extract the contents of the ZIP file to a directory of your choice.
  3. Open the Command Prompt and navigate to the directory where you extracted the pip.pyz file using the cd command.
  4. Run the following command to install PIP:
python pip.pyz --version

This command will display the version of PIP installed in the standalone application.

  1. To install a package using the standalone PIP application, run the following command, replacing package_name with the name of the package you want to install:
python pip.pyz install package_name

Upgrading and Configuring PIP

After installing PIP, it’s a good practice to keep it up-to-date to ensure you have access to the latest features and bug fixes. You can upgrade PIP using the following command:

python -m pip install --upgrade pip

Additionally, you can configure PIP by modifying the pip.ini configuration file. On Windows, this file is typically located in the %APPDATA%\pip directory. You can open this file in a text editor and customize various settings, such as specifying package installation locations, enabling or disabling cache, and more.


Installing PIP on Windows is a straightforward process, and there are multiple methods available to suit your needs. Whether you’re using the latest version of Python or an older one, you can easily set up PIP and start managing your Python packages efficiently.

By following the steps outlined in this guide, you’ll be able to install PIP, upgrade it when necessary, and configure it according to your preferences. With PIP at your disposal, you can unlock the vast ecosystem of Python packages and libraries, empowering you to build powerful applications and scripts with ease.