Windows FAQ

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Frequently Asked Questions Windows and Windows-compatible computer hardware.

1 General FAQ

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

1.1 Requirements

Windows Version
  • Minimum: Windows 7
  • Recommended: Windows 10
CPU x86 or x86-64 processor such as: Intel Pentium 4/ Pentium M, AMD Athlon 64 / Opteron, or newer CPU (that support SSE2, which all CPUs made within the last 10-years does).
  • If your GPU/VPU does not support hardware video decoding then you will require a fast modern processor is required to decode some 1080p videos encoded in H.264, VC-1/WMV9, HEVC/H.265 VP9, etc
  • Recommended: 1GB or more in a HTPC media player appliance-like computer dedicated for Kodi, and 2GB or more in a computer for multipurpose use.

GPU hardware must support at least level DirectX version 9.0c however the GPU software drivers must support the DirectX 11 Feature Level 9.1 (which means the DX11 API has been implemented in the GPU software driver to be compatible with DX9 hardware)

Video decoding On low-performance CPUs to playback 1080p content then hardware video decoding maybe necessary.
AMD/ATI Intel Nvidia
Minimum without HW decoding: ATI Radeon R300 Series (Radeon 9500) Arrandale / Clarkdale or newer Nvidia GeForce 4-Series
Minimum for HW decoding of 8-bit H.264 and VC-1: AMD/ATI Radeon HD 3000 Series or newer Bay Trail /Sandybridge or newer Nvidia GeForce 4-Series or newer
Minimum for HW decoding of 8-bit HEVC (H.265) and VP9: AMD Radeon RX 300 series or newer Braswell / Skylake or newer Nvidia GeForce 8-Series or newer
Minimum for HW decoding of 10-bit HEVC (H.265) and VP9: AMD Radeon 400 series or newer Apollo Lake / Kaby Lake or newer Nvidia GeForce 8-Series or newer
Drive space The Kodi application generally only takes up between 100 to 200 MB of space, depending on how the binary is compiled. Technically speaking, if your hardware supports netbooting, you do not even require a internal storage for either the operating-system or for Kodi.
  • Minimum: 4 to 8GB
  • Recommended: 16GB or more
Depending on how big your video library is. Most of the space required for Kodi comes from the images/artwork cache, which can be adjusted: HOW-TO:Reduce disk space usage.

1.2 How to install and/or update Kodi

  • To download Kodi, goto; select "Downloads" and then run the Windows: Installer.
  • Do the same to update Kodi. 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 Kodi for Windows version

  • The current stable version of Kodi for Windows is Kodi v18.7 Leia. 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 Kodi am I running?

  • Open the Settings Page by clicking the "gear" icon (top left corner underneath the Kodi logo) then System Information. Note the build date.

1.5 Programs and tools to help with Kodi

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

1.6 Portable mode


If you have a requirement to run a different version of Kodi, or run a basic install for the purpose of fault finding and testing, without removing your current installation, Kodi has the ability to run in portable mode. This is a Windows only feature. It gives the user the flexibility to install multiples of the same version or multiple different versions of Kodi.

Follow these steps to install additional Kodi setups on the same computer.

  1. Download required version of Kodi and run the Installation
  2. During the installation process you will be prompted to specify the install location. This must be changed from the default location offered. Install to...
    1. A removable USB device, or
    2. Another folder or hard drive on your computer. If installed to another folder or hard drive...
      • It must be in a location 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 Kodi will be unable to start and will display the message "ERROR: Unable to create application. Exiting."
  3. Once the Install has finished do not run Kodi until the remainder of these steps have been completed.
  4. Navigate to where you just installed Kodi and look for the file kodi.exe
  5. Create a shortcut to kodi.exe. Usually by right clicking on the kodi.exe file and selecting Send to then desktop (create shortcut)
  6. Right click on the newly created shortcut and select Properties. There will be a box called Target:, add the switch -p after kodi.exe i.e. P:\Kodi\kodi.exe -p and save the change (see image)
  7. Start Kodi. This will then use the Kodi folder itself as the Home folder, which means scripts, plugins, skins and userdata will be located in the portable_data folder within the Kodi folder.
  8. You will, however, have to be careful when upgrading to make sure that the userdata folder you use is not overwritten.

Note: It is this shortcut that enables Portable Mode. If you create another shortcut and fail to add the -p switch, or start this portable version of Kodi in another manner, then the standard userdata folder will be created which may overwrite your existing installation of Kodi.

1.7 Upon booting, start Kodi with a delay

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

2 Troubleshooting

2.1 Getting more help with Kodi for Windows


2.2 Userdata folder and logs

See How-to:Submit a bug report for bug reporting details and here for instructions on reporting an issue to the forums
  • Userdata folder:
    • Windows Vista/7/8/10: Vista/Windows 7: Users\[user]\AppData\Roaming\Kodi\userdata\
    • Windows 10 AppStore version: Users\[user]\AppData\Local\Packages\XBMCFoundation.Kodi_4n2hpmxwrvr6p\LocalCache\Roaming\Kodi\userdata\
  • Debug log:
    If Kodi is started in portable mode, the log file will be created in the Kodi folder itself.
    • Windows Vista/7/8/10: Vista/Windows 7: Users\[user]\AppData\Roaming\Kodi\kodi.log
  • Crash report:
    • Windows Vista/7/8/10: Vista/Windows 7: Users\[user]\AppData\Roaming\Kodi\Kodi_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
  • Kodi compiles the video shader at runtime and the compiler was not installed. When installing Kodi, 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 Kodi in a compatibility mode, which reports an alternative OS version. To disable the compatibility mode, open the file properties of Kodi.exe (located in Program Files\Kodi), and uncheck all the options of the Compatibility tab.
  • If that doesn't help, check the compatibility options of the shortcut used to start Kodi or any launcher program that starts Kodi. 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 Kodi 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 Kodi, with the "Disable desktop composition" option, in the compatibility tab of Kodi.exe's file properties.

2.6 Video stutters due to audio misconfiguration

  • Some users reported that video may stutter in Kodi 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 Kodi 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 Kodi 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 Kodi displays the retrieved media video title Chinese text as unrecognized squares. The reason is that the default font pre-installed with Kodi does not support Chinese Unicode Font display.
  • To make Kodi 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 Kodi user directory i.e. C:\Users\<your_user_name>\AppData\Roaming\Kodi\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 Kodi 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 Kodi with AMD GPU

  • AMD Catalyst 12.10 and 12.11 drivers have a known issue where they will cause all Kodi 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 + Kodi 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 Kodi, make sure you have specific and updated graphics card drivers installed. Generic graphics card drivers might not work with Kodi.