Instructions for setting up a MS Windows machine for running body tracking

Author:Vito Gentile

Change Record

13th Dec, 2014 - Document created.

3rd May, 2015 - Improved formatting (minor fix).

4th Jun, 2015 - Updated setup instructions for Python, Tango and PyKinect.

18th Jun, 2015 - Fix typos.

2nd Aug, 2015 - Added setup instructions for VPython.

Version of Microsoft Windows

The following instructions are based and were tested on Microsoft Windows 7 64-bit. After having installed the operating system, setup all drivers needed to use the machine in the right way.

Before starting with all mandatory software to run body tracking, may be useful to install all the following software:

  • Recommended:
    • A modern browser (e.g. Firefox or Chrome)
    • 7zip
    • Geany (or any other programming-oriented text editor)
    • Daemon Tools Lite (useful for mounting .iso images, during some installation phases)
    • VirtualBox
    • TortoiseHG
  • Suggested:
    • Adobe Flash Player
    • Adobe Reader (or another PDF reader)

Installing Python

To support PyKinect, you must install Python 32-bit 2.7. To install this version of Python, use this link

It is recommended to install this version of Python in C:\Python27_32bit\.

To be able to excute Python from a command line, you must add the installation folder path to the Path variabe in Windows. You will also need to set the PYTHONPATH variable. To this end do the following:

  • Right-click My Computer and select Properties
  • Click the Advanced System Settings link in the left column
  • The System Properties window will open. Here click on the Advanced tab, then click the Environment Variables button near the bottom of that tab
  • In the Environment Variables window, highlight the Path variable in the System variables section and click the Edit button
  • Append the following at the end of the value: C:\Python27_32bit\, then click on Ok
  • In the Environment Variables window, check if there is a PYTHONPATH variable. If yes, highlight it and change its value in C:\Python27_32bit\; otherwise click on the New button, and create this environment variable

Installing Visual Studio and Kinect SDK

In order to use Kinect on Windows, you have to install Microsoft Visual Studio. Tests were done using Visual Studio 2013.

The installation process will be quite long, and it will probably require some reboots. After that, you have to install (in this order):

Finally, simply plug-in the Kinect and let Windows Update to install its drivers.

Installing PTVS and PyKinect

Python Tools for Visual Studio (PTVS) “is a free, open source plugin that turns Visual Studio into a Python IDE”. It can be useful if you want to develop in Python with Visual Studio, and it also provides some facilities for Kinect developers.

Installing and use PTVS on Visual Studio

In order to install PTVS, go to and download the most recent version of PTVS that fits with your Visual Studio version. Tests were done using Visual Studio 2013 and PTVS 2.1, and the following documentation refers to these versions.

After having installed PTVS, open Visual Studio, and go to File -> New -> Project. Then, under Template -> Python -> Samples, select PyGame using PyKinect. This will create a new Python project, with a Python script structured to be used with PyGame and PyKinect.

Project configuration

In Visual Studio 2013, go to Tools -> Options. Then, under Python Tools -> Environment Options, select the Python 32-bit 2.7 environment. If it is not available, select Add Environment, name it Python 32-bit 2.7 and add the following fields:

  • Path: C:\Python27_32bit\python.exe
  • Windows Path: C:\Python27_32bit\pythonw.exe
  • Library Path: C:\Python27_32bit\lib
  • Architecture: x86
  • Language Version: 2.7
  • Path Environment Variable: PYTHONPATH

Now open the Solution Explorer under the project name, right click on Python Environments and select Add/Remove Python Environments.... Then make sure that only the Python 32-bit 2.7 environment is checked.

Installing PyGame

Go to for downloading and installing PyGame for Python 32-bit 2.7. You can do it with pip, but also by following the instructions shown in Visual Studio after project creation. These instruction are summarized as follows, and can be generally used for installing any additional Python package.

  • In the Solution Explorer, right click on Python 32-bit 2.7 (under Python Environments) and then select Install Python Packages...

  • If you want to install a Python package without explicitly download it:
    • Select pip, type the package name and then select OK
  • If you want to install a downloaded .whl package (e.g. obtained from

    • Make sure to have the package wheel installed. If not, install it as described above
    • Select pip, type the full path to the file (wrapped by double quotes) and then select OK

Using the above instructions you will be able to install PyGame, by typing the double-quoted full path of the PyGame package downloaded from Make sure to select the last 32-bit version for Pythion 2.7 (the file name should be something like pygame‑X.X.XXX‑cp27‑none‑win32.whl.

Tests were done with PyGame 1.9.2a0 32-bit for Python 2.7.

Installing PyKinect

By following the above instructions for installing a Python package from Visual Studio, or simply using pip on a command line terminal, install the package pykinect.

Installing additional Python packages

Before continuing, you need also to install the following Python packages:


As a source to fine a lot of Python libraries, packed as Windows installers or as .whl files, you can refer to

Installing Tango

Go to and select the binary distribution for Windows 64 bits. Download and install it.

After the installation, you will be able to access to a lot of utility and tools to get information about Tango and the device servers (e.g. Jive). To use them, you must install Java for Windows; you can get it from

Configure Tango Host

To be able to get all Tango information, you need to specify the address of the Tango host. Assuming that it is, open the command line and type:


Using a virtual machine manager

Installing a virtual machine manager like VirtualBox can be very useful in order to install Ubuntu or another Linux distribution on the same Windows machine.

If you want to do this, you are probably interested in setting up a shared folder between host and guest operating systems. To do this in VirtualBox, see: