PsychoPy won't start on Windows

• PsychoPy isn’t showing up as an app on my computer

• When I open the PsychoPy folder I can’t find the app itself in there

• When I search on my computer for PsychoPy I’m able to find a shortcut to it, but when opened it never completes setup

My version of Windows —> Windows 10 Home
version 1909
build os 18363.1256

I’m using PsychoPy v1.90.2, that version is a requirement for the experiment I’m taking.


@nicola_bonetti how did you install PsychoPy?

Dear Sam

well there are more than 250 commits between the current version and the version you are asked to use. Ask her/him to use the current version.

In addition, update your OS. The current version is 20H2 (Build 19042.685). Your OS is lacking behind and there were some issues with PsychoPy on Windows version 1909.

Best wishes Jens

You can install the latest version of PsychoPy, and then set the version you want from Experiment Settings. This way, you have the latest Builder interface that it will compile the code using 1.90.2.

Hey. It won’t work on the most up to date version of PsychoPy for many reasons, but in particular because it relies on Pygame for playing MIDI files. PsychoPy v1.90.2 should run fine on Windows, and this is the first time I’ve come across this issue (from over 100 participants taking the experiment). Any ideas?

FYI he’s taking the experiment that this refers to. As such, this approach won’t work unfortunately

Ok, it may help to follow the troubleshooting advice.

Hello Sam,

Pygame can be selected via the Experiment setting Audio tab on PsychoPy 2020.2.x

Best wishes Jens

Hey. So Pygame isn’t the only incompatibility. But, when it comes to Pygame, I get this error message when attempting to run it in the most recent version:

import pygame
ModuleNotFoundError: No module named ‘pygame’

Thanks! I think @nicola_bonetti has already tried this, but I’ll let him confirm?

yes, I tried it

Can you describe what happens when you try it?

I’ve installed psychopy v2020.2.10 and I still can’t find the app in the main folder of the program. it isn’t showing up as an app on my computer

But more specifically when you try the following?

The application doesn’t start

You may find that you try to launch the PsychoPy application, the splash screen appears and then goes away and nothing more happens. What this means is that an error has occurred during startup itself.

Commonly, the problem is that a preferences file is somehow corrupt. To fix that see Cleaning preferences and app data, below.

If resetting the preferences files doesn’t help then we need to get to an error message in order to work out why the application isn’t starting. The way to get that message depends on the platform (see below).

Windows users (starting from the Command Prompt):

  1. Did you get an error message that “This application failed to start because the application configuration is incorrect. Reinstalling the application may fix the problem”? If so that indicates you need to update your .NET installation to SP1 .

  2. open a Command Prompt (terminal):

  3. go to the Windows Start menu

  4. select Run… and type in cmd

  5. paste the following into that window (Ctrl-V doesn’t work in Cmd.exe but you can right-click and select Paste):

“C:\Program Files\PsychoPy2\python.exe” -m

  1. when you hit you will hopefully get a moderately useful error message that you can Contribute to the Forum (mailing list)

If you type “psychopy” into the search tab, you should see the shortcut. If you right click the shortcut, and open the shortcut file location, you will see where the shortcut is installed. You will not see an app installed in the Program Files PsychoPy folder because there is no single executable file to run the program, instead the shortcut you see runs a Python command which opens PsychoPy.

If you have time, please take another look at clearing the preferences, as shown above. Alot of the time this solves the issue of the program not starting.

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Incidentally, on reading the recommendations it isn’t clear to me how you would go about editing the preferences once you’ve found userPrefs.cfg and appData.cfg

What will userPrefs.cfg contain when opened? What’s the expected process for preference editing following that?

Or is the main point just to find and delete appData.cfg ?

Yes just delete them in case they are somehow corrupt. PsychoPy will recreate them when opened.

Thank you! Just to clarify, you delete both userPrefs.cfg and appData.cfg?

Yes, delete both as they will both be recreated.

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Perfect, thank you!

@nicola_bonetti can you try this and let us know how you get along? If you need any help with doing this then just let me know.