What are python.exe and python3.exe, and why do they appear to point to App Installer?


classic35mm

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Windows 11 23H2 22631.3527
I was looking at App execution aliases (Settings > Apps > Advanced app settings > App execution aliases) on my new computer -- my first Windows 11 computer.

Why are python.exe and python3.exe listed as App Installer? I assume that App Installer refers to installation of Microsoft Store / UWP apps, but if that's the case, then why are they called python.exe and python3.exe? Or are python.exe and python3.exe simply serving as aliases / pointers pointing to App Installer, which is itself a Microsoft Store App?

I wish to soon install Python, along with an integrated development editor (IDE), on my machine, so that I can code in Python. But is a Python interpreter already on my computer as suggested, if obliquely, by the presence of python.exe and python3.exe? I kind of doubt it. If I wish to install the latest version of Python, is there any reason I need to remove these executables before doing so?

In PowerShell, where.exe python.exe yields:
C:\Users\myusername\AppData\Local\Microsoft\WindowsApps\python.exe

where.exe python3.exe yields:
C:\Users\myusername\AppData\Local\Microsoft\WindowsApps\python3.exe

Partly because I made a giant upgrade, from Windows 7 to Windows 11, I don't fully understand the distinction (referenced in this tutorial) between an old-fashioned application, which has an honest-to-goodness executable, and a Microsoft Store / UWP app (a paradigm that was probably introduced in Windows 8 or 10), which isn't associated with a traditional executable.

pythonaliases.png
 
Windows Build/Version
23H2 22631.3527

My Computer

System One

  • OS
    Windows 11 23H2 22631.3527
    Computer type
    PC/Desktop
    Manufacturer/Model
    Lenovo ThinkStation P3
To help new users find a good installation of Python, we added a shortcut to Windows that will take you directly to the latest version of the community's package published in the Microsoft Store. This package can be installed easily, without administrator permissions, and will replace the default python and python3 commands with the real ones. -- FAQ's about using Python on Windows

So they point the python and python3 commands to the Windows Microsoft Store, to help you install python.
 

My Computers

System One System Two

  • OS
    Windows 11 Pro 23H2 [rev. 3737]
    Computer type
    PC/Desktop
    Manufacturer/Model
    Intel NUC12WSHi7
    CPU
    12th Gen Intel Core i7-1260P, 2100 MHz
    Motherboard
    NUC12WSBi7
    Memory
    64 GB
    Graphics Card(s)
    Intel Iris Xe
    Sound Card
    built-in Realtek HD audio
    Monitor(s) Displays
    Dell U3219Q
    Screen Resolution
    3840x2160 @ 60Hz
    Hard Drives
    Samsung SSD 990 PRO 1TB
    Keyboard
    CODE 104-Key Mechanical Keyboard with Cherry MX Clears
  • Operating System
    Linux Mint 21.2 (Cinnamon)
    Computer type
    PC/Desktop
    Manufacturer/Model
    Intel NUC8i5BEH
    CPU
    Intel Core i5-8259U CPU @ 2.30GHz
    Memory
    32 GB
    Graphics card(s)
    Iris Plus 655
    Keyboard
    CODE 104-Key Mechanical Keyboard - Cherry MX Clear
to help you install python.

What if I don't want to have the Microsoft Store's help in installing Python? What if I want to install Python manually or by using Anaconda? I shouldn't have to remove python.exe and python3.exe, correct?
 

My Computer

System One

  • OS
    Windows 11 23H2 22631.3527
    Computer type
    PC/Desktop
    Manufacturer/Model
    Lenovo ThinkStation P3
I don't know what you mean by shouldn't have to. Install Python however you want.
 

My Computers

System One System Two

  • OS
    Windows 11 Pro 23H2 [rev. 3737]
    Computer type
    PC/Desktop
    Manufacturer/Model
    Intel NUC12WSHi7
    CPU
    12th Gen Intel Core i7-1260P, 2100 MHz
    Motherboard
    NUC12WSBi7
    Memory
    64 GB
    Graphics Card(s)
    Intel Iris Xe
    Sound Card
    built-in Realtek HD audio
    Monitor(s) Displays
    Dell U3219Q
    Screen Resolution
    3840x2160 @ 60Hz
    Hard Drives
    Samsung SSD 990 PRO 1TB
    Keyboard
    CODE 104-Key Mechanical Keyboard with Cherry MX Clears
  • Operating System
    Linux Mint 21.2 (Cinnamon)
    Computer type
    PC/Desktop
    Manufacturer/Model
    Intel NUC8i5BEH
    CPU
    Intel Core i5-8259U CPU @ 2.30GHz
    Memory
    32 GB
    Graphics card(s)
    Iris Plus 655
    Keyboard
    CODE 104-Key Mechanical Keyboard - Cherry MX Clear

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