Windows Mixed Reality VR - info, installation and troubleshooting

Updated 16/01/18 - Changed setup and performance tips and Glossary

Hello,
I've been meaning to do this for a while and with the recent WMR black friday headset sales and questions I'm seeing now is probably a good time.

I'm intending this to be a living document, with information being added over time particularly around troubleshooting and performace and hopefully being a good resource for those using WMR. Please let me know if I talk out of my rear with anything written below, I'd like this to be factual more than opinion but we'll see how that works :p
Also, please comment if you think that there is anything worth including that you don't see here.

Information/FAQ:

You need to be running Windows 10 for WMR headsets.
Frontier's official minimum spec for running ED in VR are linked below. Obviously this will depend on the resolution of the headset with the Rift and Vive (original) having a lower resolution than the WMR headsets, Vive Pro is equivalent and PIMAX models something else. (See performance for a more detailed discussion) :
https://support.frontier.co.uk/kb/faq.php?id=253

Microsoft's own FAQ and table showing the WMR specs:
https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/windows/mixed-reality/enthusiast-guide/before-you-buy-faqs#technical-specifications

Measuring your IPD, start here:
https://www.wikihow.com/Measure-Your-Interpupillary-Distance

There main points for Windows Mixed Reality headsets are:
- There are 5 current WMR Headsets which share the following specs. These are 4 WMR headsets from Acer, Asus, Dell, HP and the Lenovo Explorer Headset which appears to have been discontinued (this is a shame as it was widely regarded as the best of this batch of headsets​
- LCD screens with 1440*1440 per eye​
- 105 degrees FOV, (the Asus is 95 degrees)​
- They all use inside out tracking which means that no base stations are required for 6 DoF head movement​
- Front hinged display, so you can flip the headset up​
- Display refresh rate up to 90 Hz (native)​
- Audio out and microphone support through 3.5mm jack​
- Software only IPD adjustment between 59 and 67mm. NOTE: beware getting a WMR headset if you IPD is outside this range, it can be manually extended (see setup/performance) or look into the Samsung's below

- and the 2 Samsung headsets, the Odyssey and the Odyssey+ which differ in that they have:​
- AMOLED screens with 1600*1440 per eye​
- 110 degrees FOV​
- inside out tracking​
- No hinged display​
- Integrated AKG headphones and dual array mics (I've read good things about these headphones, although not been able to try them myself yet)​
- Hardware IPD adjustment between 60 and 72​

Installation:
  1. Plug in your WMR headset to an HDMI port on your graphics card and a USB 3.0 or 3.1 port (blue) (see troubleshooting for more info)
  2. The Mixed Reality Portal will install. When complete close the portal
  3. Install Steam (Note: this is free although you will need a Steam account. However, it does NOT matter if you own Elite: Dangerous on Steam or from FD directly to be able to use VR in game)
  4. Within Steam search for and install Steam VR
  5. Within Steam search for and install Windows Mixed Reality for SteamVR
  6. When complete reboot. See troubleshooting below if there are any problems.
  7. Run Elite, go to Options, Graphics and change the 3D setting from None to HMD Headphones and enjoy :D (Note: This is NOT under display options but lower down on the front graphics page. When you do this and start ED, SteamVR and the Mixed Reality Portal will automatically start.)
  8. I highly recommend Dr Kaii's ED Profiler. Get it at the following link and if you find it useful give him a donation, it's a great piece of work and makes setup so much easier: https://forums.frontier.co.uk/showthread.php/262552-EDProfiler-A-New-Display-Switcher-Robust-Settings-Profiler-Switcher-Detector!
Setup:
work in progress

- The main things to be aware of are:
- Your first priority is to get the headset comfortable with your eyes at the correct spot in front of the lenses. Note that (at least on the Lenovo Explorer) the padding on the band can be moved using velcro to help it sit on your head, rather than pinch which I find painful.​
- Set software IPD through the mixed reality portal, the 3 dots at the bottom left and Settings, Headset Display and Calibration. This is a good place to start to measure your IPD: https://www.wikihow.com/Measure-Your-Interpupillary-Distance
- Setting the resolution and upscaling. It's best to use SteamVR setting over Elite's HMD setting over Elite's SS setting as per HeaveyGroovez excellent post here. This is done in a combination of 3 places:​
- SteamVR, click on the version number to show the menu, click settings and video. 140% is effectively 1.5 Super Sampling​
- Changing HMD quality through Elite graphics settings​
- Changing SS through Elite graphics settings​
- The performance impact of the above 3 settings stack while the quality doesn't. Having been messing around with it a lot I'd personally recommend using SteamVR setting only and fine tuning until you get a nice balance on clarity and FPS​

- Enable Direct Mode through Steam VR, settings, developer. This means that Windows doesn't see the headset as an additional monitor/extended display which can have a performance impact and can issues displaying the game​
- disable USB power management for the headset. This can be done through Steam VR settings, USB or Windows Device Manager​

Performance tips:
  • Physical cores matter, >=6 is a noticable improvement on 4, hyperthreading or not. A post from Morbad talked about changing the no. of threads that Elite uses and although it won't affect the heavy render threads it could give a boost to a 4 core processor, worth trying at least. to be updated, PM me till then
  • An OC'd Ryzen 1600 doesn't bottleneck a 1080ti
  • Make sure renderTargetScale=2 (this is now the default setting for Windows Mixed Reality for SteamVR if you've updated after 15/1/19). By default the setting is in the file "C:\Program Files (x86)\Steam\steamapps\common\MixedRealityVRDriver\resources\settings\default.vrsettings". Close SteamVR before amending
  • You can turn on motion reprojection (the WMR equivalent of the Oculus Rift Asynchronous Spacewarp by amending the same file above, I think it's a good implementation. See the description here: https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/windows/mixed-reality/enthusiast-guide/using-steamvr-with-windows-mixed-reality#enabling-motion-reprojection-for-steamvr-apps
Note that you can also turn on an indicator in the headset show when motion reprojection is running in the same file. Both are done by removing the // in front of the lines:
"motionReprojectionMode" : "auto",​
"motionReprojectionIndicatorEnabled" : true,​
- For Odyssey+ users, try turning off anti-aliasing. With the SDE tech already blurring the image I find it helps sharpen the text

Troubleshooting:
  • Not all USB's ports are the same. On my new motherboard with built in USB 3.1 gen 1 and gen 2 it wouldn't work on the gen 2 ports. On my previous machine I had to buy a USB 3.0 PCI card as the built in USB 3.0 just didn't work. (note: USB 3.0 and USB 3.1 gen 1 are functionally identical)
  • If the headset just goes black after 10-15 minutes in game check the power management settings on the headset and turn them off. As of 3.3 there are 2 bugs which can produce this effect, not fixed on 16/1/19. One can cause the game to freeze with the sound continuing, the other can cause a black screen in the headset and mirror window and no sound. With either there is no way to cleanly close the game
  • The sweetspot in WMR headsets is small but it shouldn't be ridiculously so. If it seems that it is then spend time on getting the headset in the right position and IPD set correctly.
  • IRQ conflicts can cause stutters. Download MSI Util v.2, run as administrator and change the headset to msi instead of irq.

Glossary:

AMOLED - Active Matrix Organic Light Emitting Diodes. AMOLED displays can appear more vibrant than LCD with deeper blacks
Direct Mode - On means that Windows does NOT see the headset as another monitor. Not using Direct Mode may cause issues and lower performance
FOV - Field of view. The angle the headset shows an image in front of your eyes.
Godrays - an artifact of the fresnel lenses used in front of the display that can produce rings of light
IPD - Interpupillary Distance. The distance between your eyes.
LCD - Liquid Crystal Display. All pixels are lit which means that blacks can appear as grey
Motion reprojection - Using this will half the FPS needing to be generated by the graphics card and therefore lower the demands on the card (although by less than half). Essentially you are still seeing 90fps in the headset with every other frame generated by prediction from the previous frame(s)
SDE - Screen Door Effect. In most displays it is possible to see the gaps between the pixels on the display, like you're looking through an insect stopping screen door
WMR - Windows Mixed Reality

to be continued

Addendum:
The IPD can be changed manually outside of the recommended range via the registry:
Computer\HKEY_USERS\S-1-5-21-830549709-2298230702-1299955731-1001\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Holographic\

Manually entering a value works, even if the value is >67
 
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and the Lenovo Explorer Headset which appears to have been discontinued (this is a shame as it was widely regarded as the best of this batch of headsets
Do you mean the Lenovo is discontinued? It doesn't seem to be, here in UK. I got one from the Lenovo website.
 
Do you mean the Lenovo is discontinued? It doesn't seem to be, here in UK. I got one from the Lenovo website.
On the Lenovo US site it says the product is no longer available, Microsoft US doesn't even mention it. Not that I'm in the US, was just trying to find the specs of the headsets.
 
Thanks for this i would have missed step 5. Within Steam search for and install Windows Mixed Reality for SteamVR and wondered what was going on. Cheers!

Ps. I got the Lenovo's for £150 and am pretty impressed so far. Only used it for the tutorials and beat saber which is awesome.
 
Thanks for this i would have missed step 5. Within Steam search for and install Windows Mixed Reality for SteamVR and wondered what was going on. Cheers!

Ps. I got the Lenovo's for £150 and am pretty impressed so far. Only used it for the tutorials and beat saber which is awesome.
You're welcome. I've got more to add but just not had time yet. Let me know if there's anything else that would be useful to include.

The Explorer is really good I think [up]
 
I had a very quick look in elite but the white line boundary marks were showing in elite as a I was sat at the desk which is one of the boundaries. I'm assuming this is an easy one to switch on and off?

I remember there was an option when doing setup to choose sat down or room scale...
 
I had a very quick look in elite but the white line boundary marks were showing in elite as a I was sat at the desk which is one of the boundaries. I'm assuming this is an easy one to switch on and off?

I remember there was an option when doing setup to choose sat down or room scale...
I chose the sitting down one as I didn't get controllers with the explorer and have never seen the boundary line. Setup's run from the top left of the mixed reality portal.

Room scale will still work with sitting, you just don't get any warning when you're about to run into a wall ;)
 
Hi guys , i have a problems starting Elite with the Odyssey +, i follow the installation step but, when i have to choose the HMD Headset in the dropdown menu i have only the monitor as a option.
Just for the record, in steam vr in the application menu i dont have Elite Dangerous....

 
Hi guys , i have a problems starting Elite with the Odyssey +, i follow the installation step but, when i have to choose the HMD Headset in the dropdown menu i have only the monitor as a option.
Just for the record, in steam vr in the application menu i dont have Elite Dangerous....

Hi xanadu, you don't need Elite Dangerous showing in Steam VR or steam itself.

If you run the Steam VR application do you see a wooden floored room with steam windows straight ahead and shelves/toys on either side?
Can you run any other VR programs from within Steam?
 
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Hi xanadu, you don't need Elite Dangerous showing in Steam VR or steam itself.

If you run the Steam VR application do you see a wooden floored room with steam windows straight ahead and shelves/toys on either side?
Can you run any other VR programs from within Steam?
Hi Steed , yes i see in front of me steam windows with the wooden flor and on the right shelves and toys...
usually i'm a simdriver and i run without problems any of them ...
 
Hi Steed , yes i see in front of me steam windows with the wooden flor and on the right shelves and toys...
usually i'm a simdriver and i run without problems any of them ...
Ok.you said you only see the monitor as an option.
The 3D/VR output options within the Elite graphics settings should show the following :
- Off
- Side by Side
- Anaglyph
- HMD Headphones
- HMD... (something else, I'm not near my computer to check.)

Even if the headset is not being recognised you should still see the Off, Side by Side and Anaglyoh options, can you confirm?

ps. won't be able to check back until tomorrow now.
 
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Ok.you said you only see the monitor as an option.
The 3D/VR output options within the Elite graphics settings should show the following :
- Off
- Side by Side
- Anaglyph
- HMD Headphones
- HMD... (something else, I'm not near my computer to check.)

Even if the headset is not being recognised you should still see the Off, Side by Side and Anaglyoh options, can you confirm?

ps. won't be able to check back until tomorrow now.
dont worry Steed , thx for your help , take your time ;)
in the option, under " display" i see :
- adapter ( only mi graphics card 2080ti)
-monitor
-resolution
-fullscreen
-Vsinc
-refresh rate
-frame limit
if i look into the odyssey i see a blu windows with tree vertical lines ( loading time )
 
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dont worry Steed , thx for your help , take your time ;)
in the option, under " display" i see :
- adapter ( only mi graphics card 2080ti)
-monitor
-resolution
-fullscreen
-Vsinc
-refresh rate
-frame limit
if i look into the odyssey i see a blu windows with tree vertical lines ( loading time )
Can't sleep so you get a reply ;)

Helpfully ED doesn't put the vr output under display.

Don't expand the Display menu, below it you should have (I think this is right, again not near my PC to check) :
- Quality
- Field of View
- Gamma
- 3D

It's the 3D setting you need to change which should show as OFF. Click on OFF and you should see the Anaglyph, Side by Side and HMD Headphones options.
That help?
 
Can't sleep so you get a reply ;)

Helpfully ED doesn't put the vr output under display.

Don't expand the Display menu, below it you should have (I think this is right, again not near my PC to check) :
- Quality
- Field of View
- Gamma
- 3D

It's the 3D setting you need to change which should show as OFF. Click on OFF and you should see the Anaglyph, Side by Side and HMD Headphones options.
That help?
Jesus... embarassing.... thank you Steed... now he's started in the odyssey ....
 
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