4 ways to install Python modules on Windows without admin rights

Updated: March 1, 2024 By: Guest Contributor Post a comment


One common barrier for Python developers working on Windows systems is the limitation of not having admin rights. This can restrict the installation of Python modules system-wide, impacting the development workflow and productivity. Fortunately, Python provides several ways to manage such situations, enabling users to install modules in a user-specific environment. This tutorial demonstrates various methods to install Python modules on Windows without admin rights, from basic procedures to more advanced techniques.

Approach 1: Using pip with the –user Option

The simplest way to install Python modules without admin rights is by using pip, Python’s package installer, with the --user option. This tells pip to install the package only for the current user, avoiding the need for administrator privileges.

pip install package-name --user

Replace package-name with the module you wish to install. The module will be installed in the user’s directory, typically under Python\PythonXX\site-packages, without affecting the system-wide Python environment.

Approach #2 – Using Virtual Environments

Virtual environments are a more flexible way to manage Python packages. They allow you to create isolated environments for your projects, with their own set of packages, independent of the system-wide or other environments. You can create and use a virtual environment without admin rights as follows:

  1. Create a virtual environment using python -m venv env-name. Replace env-name with the name of your virtual environment.
  2. Activate the virtual environment by running env-name\Scripts\activate.bat on the command prompt.
  3. Once activated, install any modules using pip normally, without the --user option. They will be installed inside the virtual environment.

See the detailed guide here: How to Setup Python Virtual Environments (venv).

Approach #3 – Using pipx

pipx is a tool for installing and running Python applications in isolated environments. It’s perfect for installing command-line tools without affecting other Python environments or requiring admin rights. To install pipx:

  1. First, install pipx for your user account using python -m pip install --user pipx.
  2. Ensure pipx’s binaries are in your PATH by running python -m pipx ensurepath.
  3. Now, you can install packages globally for your user without admin rights, like so: pipx install package-name.

Approach #4 – Using choco with PowerShell

Chocolatey is a package manager for Windows that simplifies the process of managing software installations. While it generally requires administrator privileges for installations, you can use it in combination with PowerShell scripts to install Python modules in your user space. Note that this method requires initial setup by an administrator.

Advanced Tip: Compiling from Source

If you need a Python module that’s not available via pip or require a specific version compiled with special flags, you can compile it from source. This process is more intricate and typically involves downloading the source code, setting up a build environment, and running setup commands. Here’s a brief overview:

  1. Download the source package for the module.
  2. Unpack the source package and navigate to its directory in the shell.
  3. Run python setup.py install --user to build and install the module for your user only.


Deploying Python modules on Windows without admin rights is perfectly manageable through various methods. Whether you’re using the --user option with pip, creating virtual environments, utilizing pipx, or even compiling from source, you can maintain your Python workspace independently and unobstructedly. Mastering these techniques allows for a more flexible and personalized development experience on Windows.