Day 16: VPython on a USB Stick

The video shows a VPython program which simulates a fan cart that has an initial velocity to the right, but the fan is blowing in the opposite direction, causing it to slow down and speed back up to the left.

We’ve been having issues getting VPython installed and running properly on our school network. With the help of Perica Zivkovic at, I’ve made a version that will run off a USB stick (or a your network drive, where ever). Just unzip the Portable VPython 5.7 folder and put it the unzipped folder on the USB stick (or where ever).

To run IDLE:

  • Inside the Portable Python folder, go into the App folder.
  • Drag the file icon “” on top of the file icon “Pythonw.exe”

I’m sure there must be a script I could write to automate that process, but I don’t know how.

This is great because now students can use VPython on most any computer. (Though I don’t think this will work with Macs.)


About Frank Noschese

HS Physics Teacher constantly questioning my teaching.

4 responses to “Day 16: VPython on a USB Stick”

  1. Rob Salgado says :

    Great to see this working! (Over the years, I had tried without success to get something like this working.)…and Thanks for sharing!Here is a script that worked for me:create a batch file: idle.bat(sitting outside of the Portable Python folder)which contains the following [single] line:start "Portable Python" "Portable Python"So, the user just has to click [or double-click] on idle.bat to start idle.(This might be nice to add to the .zip file.)

  2. Richard Hubbard says :

    I know this is an old post, but this is great! I’ve been fighting (and losing) the fight with district IT people regarding installation of a programming language on our 1:1 laptops. THANK YOU!

    • Frank Noschese says :

      Hi Richard,

      I’ve got a better solution now: GlowScript. Now it will pretty much run VPython programs verbatim inside a web browser. Give it a try!

      • Richard Hubbard says :

        Frank! I was all ready to post about how “Dynascript was close, but just not quite what I need” because of differences between the Dynascript and VPython (hard to look up syntax help if they are even a little bit different for a newcomer.)

        Then I checked it out, and in the past couple of months, they improved it again! Not all of the sample scripts work verbatum, but all of the tutorial video code works, so that will be good enough to get everyone started..


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