Microsoft's Kinect is a versatile multimedia input device that can be used as a 3D scanner. Originally it was launched as an extension to the Xbox game console. We describe how to connect a Kinect to your Windows PC.

Nintendo's Wii game console introduced motion control to games via wireless remote controls. Later Microsoft added motion control to its XBox360 game console as well. They even did not need remote controls. Instead they used a dedicated camera system, called Kinect, that could do the job without remotes ... and much more.

The Kinect happened to be a versatile device that, connected to your Windows computer, offers an array of new functions. The most striking one is 3D scanning in a user friendly way. That is very interesting for a device with a second hand street price of USD 25!

The plethora of new functions requires a lot of exploring and experimenting which can start as soon as your Kinect has been connected to your Windows computer. And that, surprisingly, is sometimes a frustrating exercise. We will try to help you out.

Step 1: Identify Your Kinect

AFAIK there are four types of Kinect now:

  1. Kinect for XBox 360, the original device launched as an extension to the XBox 360 game console.
  2. Kinect for Windows, i.e. Windows 7, the same as the previous one, only the firmware is more advanced, i.e. allows closer distances to the object.
  3. Kinect for XBox One, the successor of the earlier Kinect for XBox 360.
  4. Kinect for Windows v2, i.e Windows 8, the same as the previous one, but now for connection to your PC.

So be sure, you know which Kinect edition you are using.

If you do not have one yet, we recommend the Kinect for Xbox 360 for the moment. It is cheap, the software runs on Windows 7 and you will find many free resources on the internet.

Step 2: Check Your Hardware

Your Kinect needs the right cable and enough power to operate.

This implies:

  1. Kinect for XBox 360: You need to buy a dedicated power supply unit / USB cable combination (about USD 10).
  2. Kinect for Windows: You will have a power supply unit / USB cable combination as part of your Kinect package.
  3. Kinect for XBox One: You need to buy a dedicated power supply unit/ USB 3 cable combination (about USD 10).
  4. Kinect for Windows v2: You will have a power supply unit / USB cable combination as part of your Kinect package.

Step 3: Remove Kinect Software

When you tried already to install Kinect drivers and/or applications without success, it is wise to un-install them before you proceed.

So, go to the configuration panel in Windows and select "Add / remove programs". Uninstall anything that starts with the word "Kinect". Have a fresh restart of your system afterwards.

Step 4: Install Kinect Software

Installing the Kinect driver became a mess in our case. However, by trial and error, we found a way out.

Issues are:

  • You need both a Software Development Kit (SDK) for the drivers and a Developers Tool Kit for the examples and tools. Always install the SDK first and the Developers Tool Kit next.
  • You can download the software from http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/download/ where you find two versions (v1.7 and v1.8) for both products.
  • Apparently in case you have a Kinect for Xbox 360 or a Kinect for Windows you should use v1.7 which runs on Windows7 (maybe Windows8 as well).
  • Apparently, in case you have a Kinect for Xbox One or a Kinect for Windows v2 you have to use v1.8 which runs on Windows8 (maybe Windows7 as well).

Afterwards you will find the Kinect Studio program and a Developer Toolkit Browser plus some documents in your Windows task menu.

Step 5: Connect Your Kinect

Now, first Power On your Kinect and then connect it to your computer via a USB-port.

Wait for at least five minutes. In the meantime you could look at Device management on your Windows machine to see what is happening. After a while, you will receive a Device Ready message.

In the Device manager you will see that four new devices have been installed:

  1. Kinect for Windows Audio Array Control,
  2. Kinect for Windows Camera,
  3. Kinect for Windows Device,
  4. Kinect for Windows Security Control.

Step 6: Browse Your Kinect Toolkit

Now start the Developer Toolkit Browser for exploring a bunch of ready-to-run demo's and corresponding documentation.

Step 7: Explore Kinect Studio

One of the applications is Kinect Studio that supports other programs in working with the Kinect.


To conclude, a table with a summary of the options.

<p>I am running windows 10. 64 bit. I have verified PC and video card are compatible. Tried running V1.7, and V1.8 and V2.0. Nothing works. Kinect just flashes green and only thing recognized in device manager is the Kinect USB audio. Also rebooted after loading each driver and made sure all previous drivers were removed and rebooted again.</p><p>I even purchased another separate power adapter and that did not help.</p><p>Any help would be appreciated.</p>
<p>thank you! I connected windows 10 with kinect 360 with v1.7, it worked</p>
<p>bonjour, j'ai un probl&egrave;me j'arrive pas a conecter mon kinect a mon pc (windows 10 ) j'aui suivi toutes les methodes qui y'a sur youtube et ca fonctionne toujour pas surtout quand je me rend sur msdos les comande cmd sa me dit toujours fichier introuvable y'a tu quelqun qui pourais m'aider avec ca merci </p>
<p>hi! Great tutorial. I got a problem with my kinect though... It cant be connected to the sub port correctly for some reason. I can hear the connection sound but after 1 sec i can hear the disconnect sound again. Its like the cable is broken or something. It works perfectly on my xbox so the camera is not broken.</p>
<p>Were you able to fix your problem with a different power source? I also have the problem of my computer making a disconnecting sound after the Kinect is plugged in. I am using an XBox 360 Kinect on Windows 7 and have been careful about uninstalling and reinstalling V1.7 software. Has anyone had luck with a specific power source?</p>
<p>I have fixed this exact problem by using a powered USB hub.</p>
<p>I fixed the problem by connecting the kinect to a powered USB hub. I'm using the amazon basic one with the 1 amp wall wart. Weird because the kinect is already connected to the mains.</p>
<p>Weird indeed, but good to realize this way around.</p>
Difficult to say. My solution would be to remove carefully any Kinect related drivers and software from your computer and to follow then the instuction again. It is especially important not to connect your Kinect too early and to be patient when you connect it for the first time (wait for 10 minutes until the Kinect has installed all its devices).
<p>sir i can just see the kinect for windows device not the other 4 drivers that you mentioned in the 5th step i.e</p><ol><br><li>Kinect for Windows Audio Array Control,<li>Kinect for Windows Camera,<li>Kinect for Windows Device,<li>Kinect for Windows Security Control.</ol><p>i waited long for them to appear but nothing happened kindly help</p><p>thank you</p><p>happy new year :)</p>
Hi AkritiS1,<br><br>First of all best wishes for 2017.<br><br>It is difficult to give you a concrete advise. I only have a few suggestions, maybe it helps.<br><br>1. It is important that you 1) install the drivers manually and 2) connect the Kinect afterwards. If you do it the other way, the pc installs the wrong version or an incomplete version of the drivers.<br><br>2. When you connect a USB-device to a PC a communication process starts to figure out which connection the both devices want to establish. Important topic is the amount of current the USB device needs from the PC. So, if your USB device has its own power source (as your Kinect does, is it?) use it. Power on your Kinect before connecting it to the PC.<br><br>Hope this helps,<br>best regards<br>Pieter<br>
<p>Hi, Thank you!</p><p>I have the v1.7 and 360 all installed correctly on Win7, I have Visual studio and have been using the kinect with it and open frameworks but these developer tools do not recognize the kinect being connected, any ideas? Thanks again!</p>
Just a few suggestions:<br> * Do the software tools included in the SDK and developer kit work correctly?<br> * Did you search for info on Visual Studio in the Kinect packages?<br> * Could you connect VS with one of the other software tools instead of connecting it to the Kinect directly?<br> * Is Visual Studio from the same &quot;age&quot; as Windows7?<br> Hope, this might help.
<p>Hi. I have a kinect 360 and I want to connect it to my PC (Windows 7). Any of the many adapters there are available in the market with 5 volts DC and a USB connector will work or only some with anohter piece of hardware will work ?</p>
<p>can i use kinect for xbox 360 sensor along kinect for windows sdk2 for development.</p>
I studied the documentation some years ago. IMHO the answer to your question would be: No.
<p>Thank you Pieter, can you please suggest which sdk is suitable to track hands and fingers for &quot;kinect for xbox 360&quot; sensor with windows 10 OS.</p>
<p><strong>Apparently</strong> in case you have a Kinect for Xbox 360 you should use sdk v1.7 which runs on Windows7. I expect it to run on Windows10 as well, although I did not test that.</p>
<p>Hi there, I'm looking for the cable to conect the Kinect for XBox One to computer, but i cant find. Could someone give me a clue (or a link to a ebay seller) to where I can get it?</p>
<p>There are two types, one for the Xbox 360 Kinect, one for the Xbox One Kinect. You find both on http://amazon.com; look for kinect windows.</p>
<p>Great instructions, especially about using v1.7 for the XBox 360 original Kinect. Works fine on Windows 10.</p>
<p>i have the Xbox 360 Kinect and bought the power plug for it to plug it into my pc, I also 1.7 sdk and developer tool kit. the problem that i am facing is that whenever i plug in the power supply the Kinect keeps disconnecting from the pc. I bought two different power supply and i am still having the same issue, would anyone happen to know why?</p>
<p>i need to connect kinect to xp pc and coding body motion via vb6</p>
<p>I would suggest the oldest one that is around i.e. 1.7.</p>
<p>which Kinect sdk version is suitable for XP platform?</p>
<p>Can you use Kinect for Xbox One on Windows 7? Did anybody find out?</p>
<p>AFAIK yes, but only with SDK v1.8 or higher.</p>
Is it possible to download the Windows SDK v1.8 for windows 7? If so where would I find that?<br><br>Thank you Pieter van der Hijden by the way!
<p>Here it is: https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/download/details.aspx?id=40278. It should work for the combi Windows7 and Kinect v2 (XBox One); although I could not find confirmation for the latter any more. The newer SDK 2.0 (https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/download/details.aspx?id=44561) refers to Windows 8 and higher.</p>
Where do I find that?
<p>I've always wanted to interface the Kinect with my PC. Thanks for the info! </p>

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