Windows FAQ

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Frequently Asked Questions Windows and Windows-compatible computer hardware.


1 General FAQ

See also: XBMC all platforms FAQ for FAQs that apply to all versions of XBMC.

1.1 Requirements

  • OS minimum to run Kodi: Windows Vista.
  • OS recommended: Windows 7, which is required for hardware video decoding.
  • Windows Home Server and Windows Server are not supported but have been reported to work with some tweaks.
  • For end-users the recommended minimum requirement is a x86-based computer, with a graphic adapter that supports DirectX version 9.0c.
  • x86 (Intel/AMD-based) processor: with .
    • SSE2 support
    • Fast modern (last few years) dual-core processor is required to decode H.264 videos in FullHD (1080p) without the assistance of a hardware video decoder.
  • ATI/AMD, Intel, or NVIDIA graphic controller.
    • ATI Radeon R420 (X800) or newer supported, ATI Radeon R700 (HD 4000) or newer recommended.
    • Intel GMA 950 (945G) or newer supported, Intel GMA X4500HD (G45) or newer recommended.
    • NVIDIA GeForce 6-Series and newer supported, GeForce 8-Series and newer recommended.

1.2 How to install and/or update XBMC

  • Simply download XBMC from and run the installer.
  • Do the same to update XBMC. All your settings and files will be preserved as they are located in a different place in the userdata folder. Be sure to make a backup of the userdata folder when doing updates in case something goes wrong.

1.3 XBMC for Windows version

  • The current stable version of XBMC for Windows is Kodi v14.2 Helix. This is the same code that all of the other platforms (Linux, iOS, Mac OS X) are using.

1.4 What version/nightly build/beta of XBMC am I running?

  • XBMC main menu > System > Lower submenu > System info. Note the build date.

1.5 Programs and tools to help with XBMC

  • For a list of programs and tools to help with XBMC, such as renaming files, managing media, file sharing, and more, see Supplemental tools/Windows

1.6 Portable mode

  • If you wish, you may run XBMC in portable mode by adding the -p switch (in the Target field after the closing quotation mark) to the shortcut's properties used to launch XBMC. This will then use the XBMC folder itself as the Home folder, which means scripts, plugins, skins and userdata will be located in the 'portable_data' folder within the XBMC folder. This is useful for running XBMC for Windows off a USB stick for portability.
  • You'll have to put the XBMC folder in a place where standard users have write permission (e.g. not under Program Files) or run the shortcut as admin (even though you're logged in with an admin account). Otherwise you'll get the error message "ERROR: Unable to create application. Exiting."
  • You will, however, have to be careful when upgrading to make sure that the userdata folder you use is not overwritten.

1.7 Upon booting, start XBMC with a delay

  • When starting XBMC on Windows startup it can be that some sub services weren't started when XBMC is up. To delay XBMC just add the parameter -d X (in the Target field after the closing quotation mark) to the shortcut's properties used to launch XBMC, with X equal to the startup delay in seconds.

2 Troubleshooting

2.1 Getting more help with XBMC for Windows


2.2 Userdata folder and logs

See How-to:Submit a proper bug report for bug reporting details and here for instructions on reporting an issue to the forums
  • Userdata folder:
    • Windows XP: Documents and Settings\[user]\Application Data\XBMC\userdata\
    • Windows 7: Vista/Windows 7: Users\[user]\AppData\Roaming\XBMC\userdata\
  • Debug log:
    If XBMC is started in portable mode, the log file will be created in the XBMC folder itself.
    • Windows XP: Documents and Settings\[user]\Application Data\XBMC\xbmc.log
    • Windows 7: Vista/Windows 7: Users\[user]\AppData\Roaming\XBMC\xbmc.log
  • Crash report:
    • Windows XP: Documents and Settings\[user]\Application Data\XBMC\xbmc_crashlog-[DATE]-[TIME].dmp
    • Windows 7: Vista/Windows 7: Users\[user]\AppData\Roaming\XBMC\xbmc_crashlog-[DATE]-[TIME].dmp

2.3 Black/white screen instead of video

  • ... but the gui works fine.
  • If you have a video adapter with pixel shader >= 2.0
  • XBMC compiles the video shader at runtime and the compiler was not installed. When installing XBMC, do not uncheck the "Install DirectX" option. Contrary to a common belief, Windows Vista and above do not have a complete DirectX installation out of the box.
  • if you have a DirectX 9 video adapter with pixel shader < 2.0
  • version 9.11: you are out of luck because the video renderer requires support of pixel shaders >= 2.0
  • versions after 9.11: supported, with the 'Software' render method. The CPU will work harder.

2.4 "Allow hardware acceleration (dxva2)" and WASAPI output settings missing

  • These options are available with Windows Vista, 7 and later.
  • If you have the required OS and do not see the options, check System Info->Summary->Operating system. It should match your actual OS version.
  • If not, Windows is starting XBMC in a compatibility mode, which reports an alternative OS version. To disable the compatibility mode, open the file properties of xbmc.exe (located in Program Files\XBMC), and uncheck all the options of the Compatibility tab.
  • If that doesn't help, check the compatibility options of the shortcut used to start XBMC or any launcher program that starts XBMC. If there is a chain of launchers, check each and every one.

2.5 Video stutters when "Adjust display refresh rate" is turned on

  • The "Adjust display refresh rate" function of XBMC sometimes has bad interactions with Aero on Windows Vista and 7.
  • Turn off the "Use a fullscreen window rather than true fullscreen" option.
  • If you must have the "Use a fullscreen window..." option turned on, disable Aero, either globally on the PC with the selection of a basic theme, or just for XBMC, with the "Disable desktop composition" option, in the compatibility tab of xbmc.exe's file properties.

2.6 Video stutters in XBMC 12 due to audio misconfiguration

  • Some users reported that video may stutter in XBMC version 12 because of audio misconfiguration.

2.7 Video plays in half/quarter of the screen

  • This happens for certain settings with nVidia graphics cards/integrated chipsets and hardware decoding. To fix this, go in the 3D settings of the nVidia Control panel and stop forcing antialiasing to be used (set "Antialiasing - Mode" to Application-controlled or Off). To avoid changing the setting globally and to preserve it for other applications, you can alternatively create a program profile for XBMC and only disable antialiasing in that profile.

2.8 DVD player does not work/"please insert disk" message

  • Please check if you have more than one ejectable media drive in your system. If that's the case you must be sure that you insert the disk in the drive that has the first drive letter, as XBMC will fail in all others. You may need to swap driver letters in your Windows installation.

2.9 Chinese/Asian text as unrecognized squares

  • For example, using the YouTube add-on to search for Chinese media video content, the XBMC displays the retrieved media video title Chinese text as unrecognized squares. The reason is that the default font pre-installed with XBMC does not support Chinese Unicode Font display.
  • To make XBMC to display proper Chinese Text, you need a True-Type Font (.ttf) that supports Chinese Unicode. Below steps guide you on how to install the required font:
    1. Navigate to Windows -> Fonts directory, select an Unicode ttf font file that supports Chinese characters display e.g.KaiTiRegular, copy the font file.
    2. Navigate to the XBMC user directory i.e. C:\Users\<your_user_name>\AppData\Roaming\XBMC\media\Fonts (Windows 7)
    3. Create the Fonts sub-directory if it does not exist.
    4. Paste the copies Chinese font .ttf file into this Fonts sub-directory.
    5. Rename the newly copied .ttf file to arial.ttf.
    6. Launch XBMC and navigate to System -> Appearance -> Skin
    7. Change the Fonts selection to 'Arial based'.
  • You should now be able to see the Chinese font display properly.
  • Note: Your Windows system must have the Asia Fonts support pre-installed. Otherwise you may not be able to find any Chinese .ttf font file in Windows -> Fonts directory.

2.10 No text in XBMC with AMD GPU

  • AMD Catalyst 12.10 and 12.11 drivers have a known issue where they will cause all XBMC GUI text to show up as scattered dots (or nothing at all). A fix has been published by AMD with the 12.11 Beta 11 Catalyst drivers.
  • Base Windows + XBMC Install, no text forum discussion

2.11 Getting IR remote working on Windows Server 2008 & WHS 2011


2.12 Audio issues and/or slow video playback

  • Make sure that your audio settings are correct. Wrong audio settings will have severely negative effects on video playback.
  • Check to see if your speaker setup is really correct
  • If passthrough: make sure you only enable the audio codecs your receiver supports.
  • Select the correct audio output device for analog and passthrough.

2.13 ERROR: Unable to create GUI. Exiting.


If you are getting this error when trying to start XBMC, make sure you have specific and updated graphics card drivers installed. Generic graphics card drivers might not work with XBMC.

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