[IPython-user] startup home or working directory question on WinXP

Fernando Perez Fernando.Perez at colorado.edu
Thu May 5 13:25:43 CDT 2005

D Brown wrote:
> I have had problems on differnt Win machines with ipython
> instalation complaining about it's home directory.  Our
> systems have some sort of automount of a network drive
> during login. It seems that this is being set as some kind
> of "home" directory.  I think ipython tries to use this
> mapped drive (H:) during startup and possibly for init
> files and it somtimes fails since it is not always
> available.  I believe the actual ipython install location
> is in the C:\python23 directory and the installer seems to
> find the python installation.  It's when ipython takes over
> that the problem shows up.
> Every time I start ipython I get this message:
> **********************************************************************
> Welcome to IPython. I will try to create a personal
> configuration directory
> where you can customize many aspects of IPython's
> functionality in:
> H:\_ipython
> There was a problem with the installation:
> [Errno 2] No such file or directory: 'H:\\_ipython'
> Try to correct it or contact the developers if you think
> it's a bug.
> IPython will proceed with builtin defaults.
> Please press <RETURN> to start IPython.
> ********************************************
> Can anyone explain what ipython might be doing here and if
> there is a way to explicitly set the startup path?  Where
> do ipython init files normally go? Any general hints on
> what Windows is doing would also be helpful.  I realize
> this is an issue with my local setup but  others might run
> across this occasionally.

Yes, IPython tries hard to figure out what 'home' means for a user, via the 
following in IPython.genutils:

def get_home_dir():
     """Return the closest possible equivalent to a 'home' directory.

     We first try $HOME.  Absent that, on NT it's $HOMEDRIVE\$HOMEPATH.

     Currently only Posix and NT are implemented, a HomeDirError exception is
     raised for all other OSes. """ #'

         return os.environ['HOME']
     except KeyError:
         if os.name == 'posix':
             raise HomeDirError,'undefined $HOME, IPython can not proceed.'
         elif os.name == 'nt':
             # For some strange reason, win9x returns 'nt' for os.name.
                     # Use the registry to get the 'My Documents' folder.
                     import _winreg as wreg
                     key = wreg.OpenKey(wreg.HKEY_CURRENT_USER,
"Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer\Shell Folders")
                     homedir = wreg.QueryValueEx(key,'Personal')[0]
                     return homedir
                     return 'C:\\'
         elif os.name == 'dos':
             # Desperate, may do absurd things in classic MacOS. May work 
under DOS.
             return 'C:\\'
             raise HomeDirError,'support for your operating system not 

Since the very first thing it tries is to look for a HOME environment 
variable, you may just define that to something sensible (and not 
network-dependent), and IPython will reliably return that always.

I hope this helps,


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