Kinect on your PC

Install Kinect on your PC and Start developing your Programs:


This comprehensive guide to install Kinect drivers and programs in your PC was made by Software Developer Vangos Pterneas, a student of the Athens University of Economics and Business, Department of Informatics. This guide and any associated source codes and files is licensed under The Code Project website and also under the Code Project Open License. The article is an unedited version of Vangos Pterneas’ guide to installing Kinect to your PC.

We wish to share this article to educate the Kinect community on how to install the Kinect to their Personal Computers. By doing so, we would like to advocate and promote the development of programs by developers worldwide.

We wish to share this article to educate the Kinect community on how to install the Kinect to their Personal Computers. By doing so, we would like to advocate and promote the development of programs by developers worldwide.


Playing Kinect games is a really great experience. Programming for Kinect is even greater! Browsing the web, you can find many cool “hacks” (CLNUI,OpenKinect) which allow Kinect be used by a PC rather than an XBOX. Via these hacks, we gain access to Kinect’s cameras (color and depth), LED, accelerometer and motor. Obtaining both the raw and the depth image, it is easier to build Machine Vision applications. But the main problem remains: Kinect magic is its software and the device simply cannot give us all those body-tracking algorithms by itself.

Fortunately, PrimeSense, the company behind Kinect, released OpenNI framework and NITE middleware. This means that we can now have access to features such as real-time skeleton tracking, gesture recognition, wave detection and much more!

OpenNI and NITE installation can be painful if not done properly. Let’s do it step by step:

Step 0

Uninstall any previews drivers, such as CLNUI. Look at the end of this post if you want to see how you can have multiple drivers installed.

Step 1

  • Download Kinect Drivers and unzip.
  • Open the unzipped folder and navigate to Platform/Win32/Driver.
  • Run dpinst-x86.exe (if you have a 32-bit processor) or dpinst-amd64.exe (if you have a 64-bit processor).

Drivers are now installed in your PC.

Step 2

Download and install the latest stable or unstable OpenNI Binaries from OpenNI website.

Step 3

Download and install the latest stable or unstable OpenNI Compliant Middleware Binaries (NITE) from OpenNI website.

During installation, provide the following (free) PrimeSense key: 0KOIk2JeIBYClPWVnMoRKn5cdY4=

Step 4

Download and install the latest stable or unstable OpenNI Compliant Hardware Binaries from OpenNI website.

Both stable and unstable releases have worked for me. If you have trouble installing the unstable releases, just try the stable ones.

Step 5

  • Plug in your Kinect device and connect its USB port with your PC.
  • Wait until the driver software is found and applied.
  • Navigate to the Device Manager (Control Panel). You should see something like the following:

Kinect in the Device Manager window

Step 6

  • Download the KinectXMLs file and unzip. The extracted folders contain totally four XML files which are going to replace the ones OpenNI installed (the XMLs I provide simply contain the license key and the correct Kinect camera resolution).
  • Navigate to KinectXMLs\OpenNI folder and copy the SampleConfig.xml file. Navigate to C:\Program Files\OpenNI\Data (if you have a 32-bit processor) or C:\Program Files (x86)\OpenNI\Data (if you have a 64-bit processor) and replace SampleConfig.xml with the one you copied.
  • Navigate to KinectXMLs\NITE folder and copy the Sample-Scene.xml, Sample-Tracking.xml and Sample-User.xml files. Navigate to C:\Program Files\Prime Sense\NITE\Data (if you have a 32-bit processor) or C:\Program Files (x86)\Prime Sense\NITE\Data (if you have a 64-bit processor) and replace Sample-Scene.xml, Sample-Tracking.xml and Sample-User.xml with the ones you copied.

Step 7

Navigate to C:\Program Files\OpenNI\Samples\Bin\Release (or C:\Program Files (x86)\OpenNI\Samples\Bin\Release) and try out the existing demo applications. Try the demos found in C:\Program Files\Prime Sense\NITE\Samples\Bin\Release (or C:\Program Files (x86)\Prime Sense\NITE\Samples\Bin\Release), too. If they work properly, then you are done! Congratulations!

If they do not work, make sure that you have replaced the XML files I mentioned in step 5 with the ones I provided you. If the demos still do not work, try installing the stable version of OpenNI, middleware and hardware binaries. Personally, I have successfully installed OpenNI and NITE (both stable and unstable releases) in a 32-bit desktop and a 64-bit laptop following the methodology I described.

Step 8

You have successfully installed Kinect in your Windows PC! Read the documentation and familiarize yourself with the OpenNI and NITE API. You’ll find the proper assemblies in:

  • C:\Program Files\OpenNI\Bin (or C:\Program Files (x86)\OpenNI\Bin) and
  • C:\Program Files\Prime Sense\NITE\Bin (or C:\Program Files (x86)\Prime Sense\NITE\Bin)

OpenNI is the primary assembly you’ll need when developing Natural User Interfaces applications.

C# tutorials on using the managed libraries coming soon! Stay tuned in this blog.

User tracker Kinect application

Update 2/2/2010: Troubleshooting

If you have followed the above guide and still have trouble viewing the demos, then try out the following:

  • Omit step 1.
  • Follow steps 2, 3 and 4.
  • Download Kinect Drivers, unzip and navigate to Bin folder. Run SensorKinect-Win32-5.0.0.exe.
  • Follow steps 5, 6, 7 and 8.
  • Done!

Installing Multiple Drivers

Thanks to my friend George Karakatsiotis (@erevodifwntas), you can now have various Kinect drivers installed concurrently. Here’s how to achieve this:

  • Open Device Manager
  • Right click Kinect Camera under PrimeSensor.
  • Select “Update driver software”
  • Select “Browse my computer for driver software” and “Let me pick from a list of device drivers on my computer”.
  • Select the driver of your preference (e.g. CLNUI).
  • You are done!

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