Make Microsoft Kinect work on Windows 10 – no code required

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Follow through this article to make your beloved Kinect app work on Windows 10, now that 8.1 is discontinued and no longer receives updates. This will fix your sensor not detected issue. It is assumed that you have a Windows Store app with Kinect support built on Kinect SDK 2.0 and it runs on Windows 10 but the Kinect sensor is not detected by the app.

The context

The Kinect sensor is a motion sensor designed for Windows Apps or Xbox to create a next gen user experience and interaction. It can detect in realtime user motion, body skeletal detection, speech recognition and voice control. There are lots of apps that make use of it. Since the tech is quite old, its SDK is limited to Windows 8.1 and the Windows Store apps target the 8.1 version as well.

Lately, Microsoft announced the end of support of Windows 8.1 meaning that apps have to be compatible with Windows 10. What happens if you have an Windows Store 8.1 app that uses Kinect? Well, the app itself should work without any problems, but the Kinect sensor will have issues on Windows 10. The situation is quite dire because the sensor is not produced anymore so there is no real alternative to it. In my case, the app I developed really needs the sensor to be able to function properly.

Luckily, with some official workarounds, it can now be possible to run your app without recompiling the code of publishing to the Microsoft Store.

What you’ll need

  1. The Kinect sensor
  2. Your Windows 8.1 app published to the Microsoft Store and able to run on Windows 10
  3. Download the Kinect runtime from the official Microsoft link
  4. Download the Windows Kinect platform extension published by Microsoft here

For the demonstration, I use my “Piatra Craiului Museum” app which I developed for the Piatra Craiului National Park and can be found in the Store here.

The project is very interesting and exciting, had really a nice time working on it. If you are interested to learn more, check these videos here.

Steps to perform

Now let’s dive into the solution. We need to perform a couple of actions before we can rejoice that our app is fully functional. Make sure your Kinect sensor is not plugged in.

  1. Install the driver the you downloaded at step 3: extract the file, then right-click on kinectsensor.inf and hit Install. Do not install the msi file directly!
  2. Plug in the Kinect sensor into the USB 3.0 port. Windows will automatically setup the device and the LED indicator should turn to white.
  3. Extract the contents of (downloaded at step 4), then double click and install both the WindowsPreview.Kinect_2.2_Win32.appx and WindowsPreview.Kinect_2.2_x64.appx files. This runtime actually handles the communication between your app and the sensor driver. Without it, the app will not detect the Kinect sensor!
  4. Now the final step is to give your app (Piatra Craiului Museum in my case) the permissions for Camera and Microphone. These are required for the app to detect and read data from Kinect. Go to Settings => Privacy and look for camera and microphone. Then activate both permissions for your app.

And yeah! This should be quite it, your application should now be able to detect the Kinect and work properly!


It seems that although Microsoft discontinues Windows 8.1 and Kinect is no longer in production, the users who need the capabilities of Kinect are not left blinded because Microsoft published some workarounds to help you run your app on Windows 10. I truly believe Kinect is a great technology and it’s a pity it’s no longer produced or supported.

Seems there is some new kid around the block called Azure Kinect DK which looks really interesting and maybe I’ll get the chance to work with it some day 😀 but until then I hope the steps outlined here are of great help to you. I also help that Windows 10 will not be discontinued soon… Who knows if this will work on Windows 11+.

Thanks for reading, I hope you found this article useful and interesting. If you have any suggestions don’t hesitate to contact me. If you found my content useful please consider a small donation. Any support is greatly appreciated! Cheers  😉

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Author: afivan

Enthusiast adventurer, software developer with a high sense of creativity, discipline and achievement. I like to travel, I like music and outdoor sports. Because I have a broken ligament, I prefer safer activities like running or biking. In a couple of years, my ambition is to become a good technical lead with entrepreneurial mindset. From a personal point of view, I’d like to establish my own family, so I’ll have lots of things to do, there’s never time to get bored 😂

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