Downgraded to Python 2.7.1? How did that happen?

So I was doing some work on my home computer tonight which involved a little bit of Python hacking in Windows. At one point I wanted to make sure that I had a certain library installed such that it was accessible to the script I was working with, so naturally I opened up an interpreter and tried importing it. It failed, which surprised me since I had just finished using pip to install it and no errors occurred.

The script I was working with was one I wrote a few years ago, so my first thought was that maybe they released a newer version of the library with different capitalization. Kind of a strange guess, I know, but not too far-fetched considering PEP 8 is still not completely followed by the community and some maintainers of certain libraries are changing this to conform to the standard, but I digress. I run the pip install command one more time, just to make sure that there wasn’t an issue with naming. Nope, dependency already resolved.

Finally, I noticed that the interpreter I was running was Python 2.7.1. Well, I knew that couldn’t be the problem, but I like to always have the latest version of Python installed so I thought I’d take a minute to rectify that. But that was another issue… why wasn’t I running 2.7.3? It was weird that I had such an old version running when I’m usually so on top of updating Python. Whatever.

So I first tried a repair. Still showed up as 2.7.1. Downloaded a fresh copy of the installer and verify the checksum. Still showed up as 2.7.1. Removed it completely after making a backup of site-packages, then re-installed it. Still showed up as 2.7.1. Uninstalled it again without re-installing it. The interpreter still ran and showed up as 2.7.1. What the…?

I was starting to get fed up at this point. The system path didn’t have anything out of the ordinary, like a separate folder for an old installation, nothing. Finally, I found this StackOverflow article which, oddly enough, had an example of exactly what I needed to figure out what was going on and where this rouge installation of Python was that was driving me crazy. Here’s what I got:

C:\Users\Mike>for %i in (python.exe) do @echo %~$PATH:i
C:\Program Files\Box Sync\Python.exe

Box Sync includes its own Python interpreter? That’s what’s going on? And it somehow became the default interpreter instead of my 2.7.3 installation? Okay… I guess that’s great they’re using Python, but why force my computer to use an old interpreter? I’m no Windows expert, but it seems like there should be a better way to do whatever it is they’re trying to do. But I can also have sympathy for them not wanting to use Py2Exe… shudder

Apparently, this is something Box is already aware of, but the whole thing is still just so weird. I don’t use Box that much as it is, so I think I’ll just nuke their version of Python for the time being. And yes, it did fix my problem.