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

VR not working right on your HTC Vive? Here's how to fix it

The HTC Vive was the best virtual reality headset when it debuted in 2016 and though it’s since been supplanted as the VR king, it’s still a great VR headset. 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 you can’t find the solution anywhere online, including its help forums.

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 blinking red light on the headset. This is usually the result of either a USB or a driver issue.

Possible fixes:

  • First and foremost, make sure the headset is plugged in correctly. If in doubt, remove everything and plug it back in again.
  • 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.
  • Once properly plugged in, the LED on the headset should be green, indicating that it’s ready for use.
  • 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

Step 1: In SteamVR, right-click on the headset icon and select Reboot Vive Headset.

Step 2: Wait for the reboot to complete.

Power cycle the link box

Step 1: Shut down SteamVR.

Step 2: Unplug the power and USB cord from the PC side of the link box (meaning NOT the orange side of the link box).

Step 3: 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.

Step 4: 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

Step 1: 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.

Step 1: Unplug the link cables from your PC.

Step 2: Navigate to SteamVR > Settings > General, and make sure the Developer Settings box is checked.

Step 3: Click Reset in the sidebar.

Step 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.

Step 5: 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.

Change permissions

Step 1: Navigate to the folder you want to change permissions for.

Step 2: Right-click it and select Properties.

Step 3: Click on the Security tab.

Step 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.

Step 5: To change permissions, click the Allow or Deny check box in the Permissions for User or 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. If you added a file or folder to the SteamVR driver directory, removing it should fix the problem. If not, you may not have the proper permission to write to the user directory.

Change permissions

Step 1: Right-click in Windows Explorer and select the folder you wish to edit permissions for.

Step 2: Click Properties.

Step 3: Click on the Security tab.

Step 4: Check the names listed in the Group or 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.

Step 5: To change permissions, click the Allow or Deny checkbox in the Permissions for User or 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.

Reinstall headset drivers

Step 1: Unplug the headset.

Step 2: In SteamVR, go to Settings > Reset, and click Remove all SteamVR devices. Wait a moment.

Step 3: Plug your headset back in and wait for the drivers to install.

Step 4: 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.

Reinstall headset drivers

Step 1: Unplug the headset.

Step 2: In SteamVR, go to Settings > Reset, and click Remove all SteamVR devices. Wait a moment.

Step 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,” try these potential fixes.

  • Update your graphics 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.

Kill VRServer processes

Step 1: Quit SteamVR.

Step 2: Type Task manager in the Windows search bar, and open the Task Manager.

Step 3: Locate any instances of vrserver.exe that may be running and quit the process.

Step 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.

  • 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. Reinstalling headset USB drivers can do the trick.

Reinstall headset drivers

Step 1: Unplug your headset/linkbox, controllers, and any other VR devices you have plugged into your PC.

Step 2: In SteamVR, go to Settings > Reset, and click Remove all SteamVR USB Devices.

Step 3: Click Yes.

Step 4: Quit SteamVR.

Step 5: Reconnect your headset, this time using a different USB port, and wait for drivers to install.

Step 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 isn’t recognized by SteamVR, the LED color should give you a clue about what to do.

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.

Step 1: Simultaneously press and hold the trigger, menu button, trackpad button, and grip buttons.

Step 2: Keeping these buttons held, plug your controller into your PC via Micro USB.

Step 3: 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.

Step 4: After this, the controller will be reset, and should now be working properly.

If light is not on at all

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 Micro USB 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.

Step 1: In SteamVR, navigate to SteamVR > Devices > Update Firmware.

Step 2: Turn off the controller by holding down the System button until the LED turns off.

Step 3: With the controller turned off, press and hold the trigger and grip button.

Step 4: 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.

  • Make sure the bases are securely mounted. If stuck to the wall, tighten all screws and the retaining nut. If on tripods, make sure that movements on the floor aren’t sending vibrations through the frame.

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

If your Vive Lighthouse base stations won’t wake up from standby, try this:

  • 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.

  • Try moving anything that may be blocking the Vive base stations. Including yourself. Follow any on-screen instructions from Steam VR if necessary.
  • Make sure that the base stations are tilted at an angle that lets them see each other and the play space.

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.

  • 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.”
  • Consider mounting the base stations higher up, to make sure that your movements in the place space aren’t interrupting their view.

If all the above criteria are met, the base station LED should turn solid green when synced. If it still doesn’t, try using the Sync Cable.

Step 1: Packaged with the Vive box is a long, optional cable. Plug this cable into the base stations.

Step 2: Push the mode buttons on the backs of the stations until one station displays “a” and the other “b.”

Step 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.

  • All devices need to be in view of at least one base station. If they are not, adjust your setup so all devices can be 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.
  • Check all the firmware is up to date. If not, consider upgrading it. Follow the on-screen instructions to do so.

Corrupt or missing SteamVR files

An incomplete installation may cause corrupt or missing files. You need to make sure your installation is fully intact.

Step 1: Exit SteamVR.

Step 2: Go to the Steam desktop client.

Step 3: Navigate to Library > Tools, and right-click on SteamVR. Select Properties.

Step 4: Open the Local Files tab.

Step 5: Select Verify Integrity of Tool Cache.

No sound when using the Vive headphone port

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.

  • Be sure SteamVR is still open and running.
  • Check the headphones are definitely plugged in. If using the Deluxe Audio Headstrap, make sure the headphones connect to the headphone extension cable, and that that connects into the headset itself.
  • The headset may be in standby. Move it to make sure it wakes up.
  • In steam VR, right-click and select Settings > Audio. From Mirror audio to device drop-down menu, select your desired device.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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% or so.
  • Check the app or games 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% or so.

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:

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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 particularly susceptible to this, but using a humidifier should be sufficient enough to add moisture to the air and prevent any static buildup.

Vive Wireless Adapter problems

The HTC Vive Wireless Adapter is one of the best upgrades you can make to your VR experience for room-scale play, but the experience isn’t error-free.

No power to the headset

If you find that your headset doesn’t work or power on at all with the Vive wireless installed, try these fixes.

  • Make sure that the battery is plugged into the Vive Wireless adapter via the USB cable.
  • Make sure the Vive Wireless adapter is plugged into the Vive headset with all three cables.
  • Make sure the battery is charged. Press the button on it to check.
  • Press the button on the battery, followed by the button on the Vive Wireless Adapter to turn them both on.

If you have done all of the above, try running the Vive Wireless connection software again, then launch SteamVR.

Stuck initializing

If you find that the Vive Wireless connection application gets stuck on “Initializing,” or any of its other intermediary steps, there are some things you can try that should fix it.

  • Make sure that you aren’t over-extending the wireless transmitter/receiver. The coaxial cable for the wireless transmitter/receiver can be extended by a further 2M, but beyond that, you are likely to face problems. It’s also worth making sure that it’s a high-quality coaxial cable that you’re using.
  • Make sure that the Vive Wireless Adapter is within visual range of the wireless transmitter/receiver. 30ft is about the maximum range they should be apart.
  • Try changing the PCI-Express card to a different PCIe slot.

If none of that works, try the following:

Step 1: Search for Device Manager in the Windows search box and select the corresponding result.

Step 2: Find the Intel Wireless Gigabit VR Adapters and click the arrow next to it. Right-click the Intel Wireless Gigabit W11100 VR Device and select Disable.

Step 3: Right-click on Intel Wireless Gigabit W11100 VR Device and select Enable.

Try to run the Vive Wireless application again. It should now find your headset.

Grey screen during play

If you find that your gameplay is consistently interrupted by the headset turning grey or losing connection with your PC, try the following.

  • Make sure that the Vive Wireless Adapter is not getting too hot. Thermal build-up can cause it to crash, temporarily shutting down your VR experience. Try to lower the ambient temperature, take a break, or rig a fan to try to cool down the adapter.
  • Make sure that the battery is sufficiently charged.
  • Make sure that nothing is blocking the line of sight between the wireless transmitter, receiver and the headset.

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