py2exe - generate single executable file


I thought I heard that py2exe was able to do this, but I never figured it out. Has anyone successfully done this? Can I see your file, and what command line options you used?

Basically I'm thinking of it giving me a single executable file that does something like unzips itself to maybe /temp and runs.

9/22/2008 2:40:13 AM

Accepted Answer

PyInstaller will create a single .exe file with no dependencies; use the --onefile option. It does this by packing all the needed shared libs into the executable, and unpacking them before it runs, just as you describe (EDIT: py2exe also has this feature, see minty's answer)

I use the version of PyInstaller from svn, since the latest release (1.3) is somewhat outdated. It's been working really well for an app which depends on PyQt, PyQwt, numpy, scipy and a few more.

5/23/2017 12:10:39 PM

The way to do this using py2exe is to use the bundle_files option in your file. For a single file you will want to set bundle_files to 1, compressed to True, and set the zipfile option to None. That way it creates one compressed file for easy distribution.

Here is a more complete description of the bundle_file option quoted directly from the py2exe site*

Using "bundle_files" and "zipfile"

An easier (and better) way to create single-file executables is to set bundle_files to 1 or 2, and to set zipfile to None. This approach does not require extracting files to a temporary location, which provides much faster program startup.

Valid values for bundle_files are:

  • 3 (default) don't bundle
  • 2 bundle everything but the Python interpreter
  • 1 bundle everything, including the Python interpreter

If zipfile is set to None, the files will be bundle within the executable instead of

Here is a sample

from distutils.core import setup
import py2exe, sys, os


    options = {'py2exe': {'bundle_files': 1, 'compressed': True}},
    windows = [{'script': ""}],
    zipfile = None,

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