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Build standalone executables for Windows (python 3 version)

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py2exe is a distutils extension which allows to build standalone Windows executable programs (32-bit and 64-bit) from Python scripts; Python 3.3 and later are supported. It can build console executables, windows (GUI) executables, windows services, and DLL/EXE COM servers.

py2exe for Python 2 is still available at


The C-runtime library for Python 3 does NOT need a windows manifest any longer to load correctly (this is a feature of Python, not of py2exe).

py2exe now contains a hooks module which contains information about some standard packages. The goal is to fine-tune the build process so that no (at least less) warnings are emitted from modulefinder.

Thanks to a brand new modulefinder (based on Python’s importlib) py2exe can now find and extract modules even from packages you have installed as zipped eggs.

py2exe now longer uses a build directory for temporary files.

It is planned to achive full compatibility with the setup-scripts for Python 2; however this is probably not yet the case.

In addition to your beloved scripts :-), there is now also a command-line utility which allows to build the exe without any effort.


py -3.4 -m py2exe.build_exe

or (if you have the Python Scripts directory on your PATH):


will create an executable myscript.exe in the dist subdirectory.

If you add the -W <> switch to the above command line a commented script will be generated which can be used to further customize the exe:

py -3.4 -m py2exe -W
... edit
py -3.4 py2exe


py -3.4 -m pip install py2exe


pip install py2exe

Using the builder

Build runtime archive for a script:

build_exe [-h] [-i modname] [-x modname] [-p package_name] [-O] [-s]
          [-r] [-f modname] [-v] [-c] [-d DESTDIR] [-l LIBNAME]
          [-b {0,1,2,3}] [-W setup_path]
          [-svc service]
          [script [script ...]]
positional arguments:
optional arguments:
-h, --help show this help message and exit
-i modname, --include modname
 module to include
-x modname, --exclude modname
 module to exclude
-p package_name, --package package_name
 module to exclude
-O, --optimize use optimized bytecode
-s, --summary print a single line listing how many modules were found and how many modules are missing
-r, --report print a detailed report listing all found modules, the missing modules, and which module imported them.
-f modname, --from modname
 print where the module <modname> is imported.
-v verbose output
-c, --compress create a compressed library
 destination directory
-l LIBNAME, --library LIBNAME
 relative pathname of the python archive
-b option, --bundle-files option
How to bundle the files:
3 - create script.exe, python.dll, extensions.pyd, others.dll. 2 - create script.exe, python.dll, others.dll. 1 - create script.exe, others.dll. 0 - create script.exe.
-W setup_path, --write-setup-script setup_path
 Do not build the executables; instead write a setup script that allows further customizations of the build process.
-svc svnmodule, –service svcmodule
The name of a module that contains a service

Using a setup-script

Creating an executable (or more than one at the same time) with a setup-script works in the same way as for Python 2. The command-line switches are the same as before; but they are NOT compatible with the command-line switches for the builder mentioned above.

Documentation about the setup-script and other usage tips are in the wiki pages at

The bundle-files option explained

The applications that py2exe creates will always need the following parts:

  1. The exe-file(s) itself. py2exe can build several executables at the same time; this is especially useful if these are related to each other since some parts can be shared.
  2. The python-dll.
  3. The pure python modules needed to run the app. The byte-code for these modules is always packed into a zip-archive.
  4. Compiled python-extension modules.
  5. Supporting dlls, if any.

The bundle-files option determines how these files are packed together for your application. This is explained with a script that simply contains this code:

import sqlite3

The command to build the exe-file is:

py2exe.build_exe -c --bundle-files <option>

The -c option specifies to create a compressed zip-archive.

--bundle-files 3 is the simplest way. These files will be created in a dist subdirectory, about 8 MB total size:


The zip-archive is appended to the test_sqlite.exe file itself, which has a size of 1.5 MB in this case.

--bundle-files 2 will include all the Python extensions into the appended zip-archive; they are loaded via special code at runtime without being unpacked to the file-system. The files in the dist directory now are these:


--bundle-files 1 will additionally pack the python-dll into the zip-archive:


--bundle-files 0 now finally creates a real single-file executable of 6 MB:


If you are building several related executables that you plan to distribute together, it may make sense to specify a zip-archive shared by all the exes with the --library libname option. The executables will then become quite small (about 25 kB), since nearly all code will be in the separate shared archive.

Note that not all applications will work with “bundle-files“ set to 0 or 1. Be sure to test them.


Building isapi extensions is not supported: I don’t use them so I will not implement this.

The modulefinder does not yet support PEP420 implicit namespace packages.

File Type Py Version Uploaded on Size
py2exe- (md5) Python Wheel 3.4 2014-05-09 247KB (md5) MS Windows installer any 2014-05-09 467KB
py2exe- (md5) MS Windows installer any 2014-05-09 434KB (md5) Source 2014-05-09 109KB
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