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Posted 19 Jan 2011

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How-to: Successfully Install Kinect on Windows (OpenNI and NITE)

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3 Dec 2013CPOL3 min read
How-to: Successfully install Kinect on Windows (OpenNI and NITE).

UPDATE: For more Kinect blog posts, consider visiting my new website The website will always be up-to-date with the latest SDKs and sensors.


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 Bin folder. 
  • Run the msi Windows file.

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 

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! 

Step 7 

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 can be found in this blog, so stay tuned ;-).

User tracker Kinect application

Update June 12, 2011: Troubleshooting

  • If you are running a version of OpenNI older than, then you need to replace the XML files found under Program Files\OpenNI\Data and Program Files\PrimeSense\NITE\Data with the corresponding ones found here.
  • If the demos do not run, then navigate to the Control Panel and open the Environment Variables panel. Under "System variables", find OPEN_NI_BIN variable and replace C:\Program Files\OpenNI\bin with C:\Program Files\OpenNI\Bin (uppercase "B"). 

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!  


This article, along with any associated source code and files, is licensed under The Code Project Open License (CPOL)

Comments and Discussions

GeneralMy vote of 1 Pin
Member 302712031-Jan-19 11:53
MemberMember 302712031-Jan-19 11:53 
Questionbroken links Pin
Member 1373241617-Mar-18 22:37
MemberMember 1373241617-Mar-18 22:37 
QuestionKinect xbox 360 on windows xp Pin
Member 135035934-Nov-17 15:30
MemberMember 135035934-Nov-17 15:30 
QuestionKinect xbox 360 on windows xp Pin
Member 135035934-Nov-17 15:30
MemberMember 135035934-Nov-17 15:30 
QuestionFailing to install Kinect drivers on 8.1 Pin
iko7913-Mar-15 6:44
Memberiko7913-Mar-15 6:44 
AnswerRe: Failing to install Kinect drivers on 8.1 Pin
Vangos Pterneas13-Mar-15 9:43
professionalVangos Pterneas13-Mar-15 9:43 
QuestionError while Installing PrimeSensor Pin
Sayalee Bhanavase8-Mar-15 18:30
MemberSayalee Bhanavase8-Mar-15 18:30 
AnswerRe: Error while Installing PrimeSensor Pin
Vangos Pterneas9-Mar-15 6:17
professionalVangos Pterneas9-Mar-15 6:17 
QuestionWindows 8.1 Pin
jkaris9-Feb-14 23:00
Memberjkaris9-Feb-14 23:00 
AnswerRe: Windows 8.1 Pin
Joe Angry10-Feb-14 11:57
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GeneralRe: Windows 8.1 Pin
jkaris10-Feb-14 12:39
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GeneralRe: Windows 8.1 Pin
iko7913-Mar-15 7:12
Memberiko7913-Mar-15 7:12 
AnswerRe: Windows 8.1 Pin
Vangos Pterneas11-Feb-14 3:20
professionalVangos Pterneas11-Feb-14 3:20 
Questionhow to make kinect object in matlab?? Pin
yawar8626-Sep-12 1:57
Memberyawar8626-Sep-12 1:57 
GeneralThank you - that worked fine Pin
yawar8626-Sep-12 1:55
Memberyawar8626-Sep-12 1:55 
QuestionA Cautionary Tale Pin
DavidDunning11-May-12 5:34
MemberDavidDunning11-May-12 5:34 
GeneralRe: A Cautionary Tale Pin
tttdolph1-Aug-12 10:42
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QuestionThank Pin
vuadapass2-Feb-12 14:52
Membervuadapass2-Feb-12 14:52 
QuestionArticle needs to be updated.. Pin
Praveen Kullu2-Nov-11 0:41
MemberPraveen Kullu2-Nov-11 0:41 
AnswerRe: Article needs to be updated.. Pin
Darren Weir3-May-12 17:57
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GeneralRe: Article needs to be updated.. Pin
Darren Weir3-May-12 21:03
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QuestionThanks Pin
YDaoust30-Jun-11 0:22
MemberYDaoust30-Jun-11 0:22 
GeneralYellow triangle Pin
g00fying9-Jun-11 9:39
Memberg00fying9-Jun-11 9:39 
GeneralDevice is not connected Pin
matteosistisette8-Jun-11 11:28
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GeneralRe: Device is not connected Pin
TeisDraiby10-Jun-11 0:33
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