The most common HTC Vive problems, and how to fix them

common htc vive problems and how to fix them black
The HTC Vive is, by our estimation, the best virtual reality headset currently on the market. It’s an exciting and innovative device, but it’s also complex and requires very specific setup conditions in order to work, and work properly. As such, a myriad of problems can occur, stemming from both hardware and software issues. Thankfully, many of these problems can be fully addressed and prevented. This guide will cover the most common HTC Vive problems users may encounter, and how to fix them.

If you exhaust the fixes detailed in this article, or simply do not find a solution to your particular problem, it may require you to send a system report to the SteamVR mailing list so Valve can diagnose and hopefully solve whatever is plaguing your system or device setup.

  1. From SteamVR, go to Settings > General > Create System Report.
  2. Click Save to File.
  3. Email the system report file to steamvr@valvesoftware.com

Valve stresses to do this ONLY if the solutions listed here — which are culled from Valve’s troubleshooting page and the Steam forums — fail to yield a solution to your problem.

Issues presented with an error code

(Error 108) Headset not found

There are a couple of ways this error can manifest, either as an error message (error 108) or a blinking red light on the headset. This is usually the result of either a USB or driver issue.

Possible fixes:

  1. First and foremost, make sure the headset is plugged in correctly.
  2. The power, USB, and HDMI cables from the headset should be plugged into the correct slots on the link box; from there, the link box’s USB and HDMI should be plugged into the PC, and the power cord plugged into a power outlet.
  3. Once properly plugged in, the LED on the headset should be green, indicating that it’s ready for use.
  4. If everything is plugged in but the headset is not turning on, try a different outlet.

Once you’ve done that, if the issue still persists, there are a number of other things to try:

Reboot the headset

  1. In steamVR, right click on the headset icon and select Reboot Vive Headset.
  2. Wait for the reboot to complete.

Power cycle the link box

  1. Shut down SteamVR.
  2. Unplug the power and USB cord from the PC side of the link box (meaning NOT the orange side of the link box).
  3. Wait a few seconds.
  4. After a few minutes, plug the power and USB cord back into the Link Box. If you see a notification in the taskbar that a driver is installing, wait for it to finish.
  5. Relaunch SteamVR. Keep in mind that you may need to repeat this process more than once in order for the error to stop appearing.

Restart your computer

  • Quit SteamVR and reboot your computer.

Use a different USB port

Sometimes, plugging into USB 3.0 and 3.1 ports can cause errors. In that case, try using a USB 2.0 port instead. If there is a USB port already in use and working — say, one that your keyboard or mouse is plugged into — try moving the Vive connection to it. If, after trying all possible USB ports, you still do not have a connection, try resetting your USB devices using the following steps.

  1. Unplug the link cables from your PC.
  2. Navigate to SteamVR > Settings > General, and make sure the Developer Settings box is checked.
  3. Click Reset in the sidebar.
  4. Double check to see if the link box’s USB cable is unplugged from the PC. Click Remove all SteamVR Devices and click Yes when prompted.
  5. Next, quit SteamVR, plug the link box back into your PC, and re-launch SteamVR.

If you’ve attempted every fix detailed above, it may be that your USB chipset is causing the issue. Check with Steam’s support page for further explanation of compatible USB chipsets.

(Error 113) Path registry not writable

This is usually due to a lack of proper installation permissions. You’ll need to change your permissions in Windows.

Potential fix:

  1. Right click in Windows explorer and select the folder you wish to edit permissions for.
  2. Click Properties.
  3. Click on the Security tab.
  4. Check the names listed in the Group of usernames box. If the account you’re using does not appear, click Add and type the name of the user you wish to add. Skip this step if the username already shows up.
  5. To change permissions, click the Allow or Deny check box in the Permissions for User of Group box. For the purposes of solving error 113 with the Vive, you’ll want to allow access.

(Error 200) Driver failed

This error message indicates that the OpenVR driver failed.

Potential fixes:

  • If you added a file or folder to the SteamVR drivers director, removing it should fix the problem.
  • If not, you may not have the proper permission to write to the user directory. To change your permissions in Windows:
  1. Right click in Windows explorer and select the folder you wish to edit permissions for.
  2. Click Properties.
  3. Click on the Security tab.
  4. Check the names listed in the Group of usernames box. If the account you’re using does not appear, click Add and type the name of the user you wish to add. Skip this step if the username already shows up.
  5. To change permissions, click the Allow or Deny check box in the Permissions for User of Group box. For the purposes of solving error 200 with the Vive, you’ll want to allow access.

(Error 206) Driver not calibrated

Error 206 means that SteamVR was unable to load the calibration for your headset. To solve the issue, you will need to reset your headset to force the drivers to reinstall.

Potential fix:

  1. Unplug the headset.
  2. In SteamVR, go to Settings > Reset, and click Remove all SteamVR devices. Wait a moment.
  3. Plug your headset back in and wait for the drivers to install.

If repeated attempts do not solve the issue, Valve’s support website indicates you may have a faulty unit, and encourages users to contact HTC through the company’s website.

(Error 207) Driver calibration invalid

This error is similar to error 206, in that it indicates a failure of the headset calibration to be loaded by SteamVR. As such, the steps to solve the issue are the same.

Potential fix:

  1. Unplug the headset.
  2. In SteamVR, go to Settings > Reset, and click Remove all SteamVR devices. Wait a moment.
  3. Plug your headset back in and wait for the drivers to install.

If repeated attempts do not solve the issue, Valve’s support website indicates you may have a faulty unit, and encourages users to contact HTC through the company’s website.

(Error 208) HMD display not found/(Error 208) HMD found over USB, but monitor not found

If you encounter error 208 with the message “HMD display not found” or “HMD found over USB, but monitor not found”, then here’s what to try:

Potential fix:

  • Be sure you have the latest version of your video card drivers.
  • Double check the connections for all cables — those from the headset to the link box and the link box to the PC and power outlet alike. The power cord especially can come loose after heavy use. This can be checked by taking off the removable cable panel on the MHD by pushing it forward.
  • Make sure the orange-tipped cords from the headset are plugged into the orange ports on the link box.

(Error 301) Connect failed

This indicates that vrserver.exe failed to start or connect. Sometimes, this is caused by multiple instances of the program running at the same time.

Possible fix:

  1. Quit SteamVR.
  2. Type “Task manager’ in the Windows Start bar, and open the Task Manager.
  3. Locate any instances of vrserver.exe that may be running and quit the process.
  4. Run SteamVR.

If this doesn’t solve the issue, Valve’s support page instructs users to send in a system report as detailed in the introduction to this article.

(Error 302) Init failed

This error means that vrserver.exe is experiencing issues starting up.

Possible fix:

  • Usually, this can be fixed by simply rebooting your computer and trying again.
  • If this doesn’t solve the issue, Valve’s support page instructs users to send in a system report as detailed in the introduction to this article.

(1101 through 1112) USB error

All error messages between 1101 and 1112 are related to USB failures. If you receiving an error code within that range, try the following:

Possible fix:

  1. Unplug your headset/linkbox, controllers, and any other VR devices you have plugged into your PC.
  2. In SteamVR, go to Settings > Reset, and click Remove all SteamVR USB Devices.
  3. Click Yes.
  4. Quit SteamVR.
  5. Reconnect your headset, this time using a different USB port, and wait for drivers to install.
  6. Restart SteamVR.

If this doesn’t solve the issue, Valve’s support page instructs users to send in a system report as detailed in the introduction to this article.

Controller and base station problems

Controller not connected

If you find that your controller is not connected, the LED color should give you a clue about what to do.

Possible fixes:

If blue

When the controller LED is solid blue, it means that the controller is not connecting to the PC successfully. You will need to re-pair your controllers. To do so, navigate to SteamVR > Settings > Devices > Pair Controller.

If red

If the controller’s LED is solid red and the controller is unresponsive, try resetting your controller.

  • Simultaneously press and hold the trigger, menu button, trackpad button, and grip buttons.
  • Keeping these buttons held, plug your controller into your PC via microUSB.
  • After plugging it in, wait five seconds and then release the buttons. Your PC will appear to find a new storage device. Ignore this prompt and unplug the controller.
  • After this, the controller will be reset, and should now be working properly.

If light is not on

If the LED is displaying no color, that means the controller is not turned on. Press the system button to turn on the controller. If the controller does not turn on, then your controller needs to be charged. Plug your controllers into an outlet via the microUSB and power adapter. While the controllers are plugged in and charging, the LED will display different colors:

  • Orange — the controller is charging.
  • Green — fully charged, controller turned on.
  • White — fully charged, controller turned off.

Controller Trackpad is twitchy or oversensitive.

If your controller is a bit squirrely or difficult to use, it likely needs to be calibrated or the firmware needs to be updated.

Possible fixes:

  • Begin by double checking the controller firmware. In SteamVR, navigate to SteamVR > Devices > Update Firmware.

Once you’ve confirmed your controllers have the latest firmware, follow these steps to calibrate:

  • Turn off the controller by holding down the System button until the LED turns off.
  • With the controller turned off, press and hold the trigger and grip button.
  • While continuing to hold the trigger and grip button, press the system button. The controller should turn back on. When it does, it will make a different noise than the usual power-on noise.

One or both Base Station LEDs won’t change from blue

This generally means that the Vive base station is having difficulty stabilizing. Vibrations or movement can cause this error to occur.

Possible fix:

  • To solve, make sure the bases are securely mounted.

The Base Stations won’t leave standby mode (LEDs dim green)

Are your Vive base stations refusing to wake up from standby mode?

Possible fix:

  • Unplug the base stations and then plug them back in again.

Base Station LEDs are solid or blinking purple

This means the base stations are having difficulty seeing one another.

Possible fix:

  • Try moving anything that may be blocking the Vive base stations.

The base station LED is off

If the LED on the Vive base station is not lit up, that means the base station is not receiving power.

Possible fixes:

  • Make sure the power cord is plugged in.
  • If the base station is plugged into an outlet but not powering on, try a different outlet.

Base station optical sync issues

Issues can occur with your base station while trying to sync. Here are some tips to make sure they are set up properly for optical sync.

  • Double check your base station firmware is up to date. Go to SteamVR > Devices > Update Firmware.
  • Be sure the path between base stations isn’t blocked, so they can see one another.
  • Don’t set the stations too far apart. They need to be within 16 feet of one another.
  • Be sure the base stations are set to the proper modes. Press the mode button on the backs of the stations so that one station is set to “b” and the other “c.”
  • If all of the above criteria are met, the base station LED should turn solid green when synced.

Cable sync

Your room setup may not allow for the bases to easily see one another. In that case, optical sync may not be possible, and you may want to opt for a cabled sync instead.

  1. Packaged with the Vive box is a long, optional cable. Plug this cable into the base stations.
  2. Push the mode buttons on the backs of the stations until on station displays “a” and the other “b.”
  3. If done correctly, the base station LEDs should now be solid green.

Software and headphone problems

Device icon flashing green in Steam VR

This means that one or more of your devices are not tracking properly (or at all). It should be easy to rectify the problem.

Potential fix:

  • All devices need to be in view of at least one base station. If they are not, adjust your set up so all devices can been seen.
  • Be sure the base station is fully powered on and synced. The base station LEDs will be green if everything is on and working correctly.
  • Make sure controllers are on and charged. The LEDs should be green.
  • Make sure the headset is correctly plugged in. The LED should be green.

Corrupt or missing SteamVR files

Corrupt or missing files may be caused by an incomplete installation. You need to make sure your installation is fully intact.

Potential fix:

  1. Exit SteamVR.
  2. Go to the Steam desktop client.
  3. Navigate to Library > Tools, and right click on SteamVR. Select Properties.
  4. Open the Local Files tab.
  5. Select Verify Integrity of Tool Cache.

No sound while using the Vive’s headphone extension cable

If you’re not getting any sound through your headphones, headset, or speakers then you’re not alone. There are lots of things you can try to get your Vive audio working.

Potential fixes:

  1. Be sure SteamVR is still open and running.
  2. The headset may be in standby. Move it to make sure it wakes up.
  3. In steam VR, right click and select Settings > Audio. From Mirror audio to device drop-down menu, select your desired device.
  4. Be sure the Vive is receiving audio from Steam VR. In Steam VR, right click, select Settings > Audio. In the Set Playback Device drop down box, choose HTC-VIVE.
  5. If you are using speakers, right click in SteamVR and select Settings > Audio. In the Set Playback Device drop-down box, choose Speakers or USB-Audio Device.
  6. Windows may not be sending audio to the Vive headset. Right click on the Volume icon in the Windows taskbar, then click Playback devices. Select HTC-VIVE-0 and set it as the default device. If the Vive does not appear from this list, try selecting Show Disabled Devices and Show Disconnected Devices.
  7. Make sure the Vive’s volume slider in the Windows Volume Mixer is up. Right click the Volume icon in the Windows task tray and click Open Volume Mixer. Locate the slider for HTC-VIVE-0 and set its volume to 50 percent or so.
  8. Check the program volume. Right click the Volume icon in the Windows task tray and open volume mixer. Find the game or program you are running, and make sure its volume is set to at least 50 percent or so.

No sound/Mono sound while plugged into the Vive’s headphone jack

No sound while using the Vive’s headphone jack may be caused by a number of issues.

Potential fixes:

  • Sometimes, headphones may have a difficult time properly plugging into the Vive’s headphone jack. Push firmly on the headphone cable to ensure it’s fully inserted into the jack.
  • If your headphones do not reach, use the provided audio extension cable that ships with the Vive.

No sound when using USB headphones with the Vive’s extra USB port

If you find there’s no sound coming through your headphones and you’re plugged into the extra USB port, here’s what to do:

Potential fixes:

  • Be sure the Vive is receiving audio from Steam VR. In Steam VR, right click and select Settings > Audio. In the Set Playback Device drop-down box, select HTC-VIVE.
  • Windows may not be sending audio to the Vive headset. Right click the Volume icon in the Windows task tray and select Playback devices. Select HTC-VIVE-0 and set it as the default device. If the Vive does not appear from this list, try selecting Show Disabled Devices and Show Disconnected Devices.

Sound stops playing while plugged into the Vive headphone jack

A few people have had trouble with the sound cutting off while plugged into the Vive headphone jack. There are a few things worth checking to bring it back.

Potential fixes:

  • Be sure SteamVR is still open and running.
  • The headset may be in standby mode. Move it to make sure it wakes up.
  • To maintain audio playback, even while the headset is asleep, right click the Volume icon in the Windows task tray and then select Playback devices. Select 2-USB Audio Device, and set it as the default device. If the Vive does not appear from this list, try selecting Show Disabled Devices and Show Disconnected Devices.
  • If the above methods do not solve the issue, try using a USB headset in conjunction with the Vive’s extra USB port.

Static electricity when using earbuds

If you get a surprise shock from your Vive while using earbuds it might just be static. This normally isn’t indicative of an issue, as a buildup of static or minor static shock does not necessarily mean your Vive is malfunctioning and isn’t cause for worry. It can, however, be annoying.

Potential fixes:

  • Valve notes on its support page that this usually occurs in much the same way static shock builds from something like, say, socks on carpet or a balloon rubbing on hair.
  • Try using anti-static sprays and lotions, and wear clothing made of natural fibers to reduce the buildup of static electricity.
  • Dry environments are are particularly susceptible to this, but using a humidifier should be sufficient enough to add moisture to the air and prevent any static buildup.

That’s all of the HTC Vive problems we have for you right now, but we’ll add to this list as and when we discover new issues and work out how to solve them.

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