Find The Full Path of The Python Interpreter

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Problem Statement: How to find the full path of the currently running Python interpreter?

There are different ways to find the full path of Python interpreters. But first, let’s get the basics out of our way before we unearth the solution to our problem statement.

So, what’s a Python Interpreter? This might be a bit silly to discuss for intermediate coders, however keeping in mind the wide range of audience we have, it is absolutely necessary to understand the basics before we dissect the given question. Please feel free to jump into the solutions right away if you already know what are interpreters.

The Python Interpreter

In simple terms, interpreter is the layer that operates between your program and your computer hardware to get your code running. The Python interpreter is a byte-code interpreter. We will learn about bytecodes in some other discussion but for now you can think of bytecode as a series of instructions or a certain low level program for the Python Interpreter. Each code object contains a bunch of instructions to be executed that is the bytecode in addition to the other data that the interpreter will require.

The interpreter runs the Python code in two different ways:

  • Script or Module
  • A piece of code in an interactive session

Finding Python Path

When you get introduced to Python, you first install it on your device. If you are on a Windows machine, it is most likely the situation that there is a file named C:\Python, and inside that file, there is a program named python.exe. Hence, the path to Python is C:\Python. It can also be installed at the following path: C:\Program Files\Python.  On the off chance that you have no clue about where Python got installed on your device, you should look for it in the following way: 

  1. First, press Start in the lower-left corner then press Search followed by all files and folders. 
  2. Type python.exe in the top text line that shows up and then press the search. 
  3. A folder name will be listed where Python got installed. Hence the folder name becomes the path of Python.
  4. Now, go to the particular folder path and ensure that python.exe belongs inside the folder.

Now let’s dive into the various methods to find the full path of a Python interpreter.

Method 1: Using sys.executable

At a point when the Python script runs, the sys.executable gives the path to the program that was executed, to be specific, the Python interpreter. In case if Python is not able to recover the genuine path to its executable, the sys.executable method will be an empty string or None.

According to the official documentation, sys.executable gives a string giving the absolute path of the executable binary for the Python interpreter, on systems where this makes sense. If Python is unable to retrieve the real path to its executable, sys.executable will be an empty string or None.

Note: You have to import the sys module to utilize it.


While using it in your script, you can do it this way:

import sys
path = sys.executable

Method 2: Using sys.path

Most often beginners intend to install the wrong interpreter module or package in Python. The system then does not allow to import the desired packages. Hence, it becomes necessary to find the right path for the interpreter. You can use the sys.path variable for this purpose.

The sys.path variable is a list of strings that determines the path for the modules, and it also tells where the packages (commonly with pip) have been installed.


While using it in your script, you can do it this way:

# Importing sys module
import sys
path = sys.path
# Getting the path of the Python interpreter


I hope this has been informative. Please stay tuned and subscribe for more tutorials in the future.

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