How to Connect a Kinect

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About: Management consultant in ICT for Sustainable Development Goals; specialist in gaming/simulation, digital making, e-learning.

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.

Step 8: SUMMARY

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

4 People Made This Project!

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41 Discussions

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DavidI120

Question 4 months ago on Introduction

What would be a good tablet to use with the kinect for windows?

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JoseG414

Question 4 months ago on Step 5

hi i got a proble, it just appears 3 devices audio array control, camera and security control, how can i add device?

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ArianaM9

Question 7 months ago

Hi from indonesian, i got a problem why there is no kinect for windows device ini my device manager? thankyou

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DaniD30ArianaM9

Answer 7 months ago

I have the same problem! On windows 10 with kinwct for windows v1...

Were you able to solve it?

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el97

2 years ago

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.

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RickyR52el97

Reply 2 years ago

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?

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LouisC95RickyR52

Reply 1 year ago

This problem pained me for many hours, but after changing the power source it suddenly worked! Thanks for the tip and anyone who has this issue should try changing where the adapter's power cable goes to.

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SteveB253el97

Reply 2 years ago

I have fixed this exact problem by using a powered USB hub.

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SteveB253el97

Reply 2 years ago

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.

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Pieter van der Hijdenel97

Reply 2 years ago

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).

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ArifN18

Question 1 year ago

Hi i want to make my university final year project by using kinect, my project is about sign language translator, kinect will scan the hand movements and system will translate them into text.so i want to ask that, can kinect scan the hand movement because the hand movements will be fast? thanks

AFAIK Windows10 still accepts the procedure as described in this instructable. When you have to decide which version of SDK and developer kit you are going tu use, the kinect hardware should be leading, NOT the actual windows version used. See also post by junaidtps1 dated 2017-09-05.

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kekulpac

2 years ago

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.

I even purchased another separate power adapter and that did not help.

Any help would be appreciated.

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RosannaG2

2 years ago

thank you! I connected windows 10 with kinect 360 with v1.7, it worked

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77777771RosannaG2

Reply 1 year ago

hello, I'm using W10 also but I can't connect my xbox 360 kinect to it, what have you done exactly?

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BelmehelZ

2 years ago

bonjour, j'ai un problème 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

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AkritiS1

2 years ago

sir i can just see the kinect for windows device not the other 4 drivers that you mentioned in the 5th step i.e


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

i waited long for them to appear but nothing happened kindly help

thank you

happy new year :)

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