Windows Mixed Reality Basics

What is virtual reality (VR)?

VR is a computer technology that uses Virtual Reality headsets to generate realistic images, sounds and other sensations in a virtual or imaginary environment. You can "look around" the artificial world, and sometimes move and interact with virtual features.

What is mixed reality (MR)?

Mixed reality is the blending of the physical world with the digital world. It covers a spectrum of experiences across both holographic and immersive devices, like VR/MR headsets.

How is mixed reality different from virtual reality?

Mixed reality blends physical and digital elements in real time and can be experienced on a spectrum — from an imaginary setting, to a real setting with imaginary items. Virtual reality is a purely imaginary setting.

What is Windows Mixed Reality?

Windows Mixed Reality combines the thrill of VR with a phenomenal sense of presence, so it feels like you're inside a world of wonder. All you need to get started is an immersive headset plugged into a compatible Windows 10 PC.

Why Windows Mixed Reality over other VR devices?

  • Windows Mixed Reality PCs and headsets are easy to set-up (10 minutes or less1/), affordable, and easy to take to another house or room because no external installation is needed.
  • Inside-out tracking is built into Windows Mixed Reality headsets to give you thrilling VR experiences plus precise movement with no need to install external sensors on your walls.
  • Windows Mixed Reality gives you a virtual home as a "start menu", designed to help you launch both 2D and 3D experiences.
  • Windows Mixed Reality headsets feature multiple designs, are lightweight, and feature flip-up goggles.

How long does it take to set-up?

Set-up time for a Windows Mixed Reality headset is usually under ten minutes1, which includes plugging in to a compatible PC. Additional time may be required to make sure your device has the latest Windows OS (Windows 10 Fall Creators Update). And there is no need to drill holes in your walls to set up sensors.

How does navigation work in Windows Mixed Reality?

  • Inside-out tracking is superior tracking technology built into your headset to deliver precise movement fidelity with no need to install external hardware on your walls.
  • Gaze allows you to move your cursor and target content for selection within the VR experience.
  • Spatial audio2 lets you hear sounds from specific locations just like you do in the real world.
  • Voice refers to speech, including voice commands, voice shortcuts, dictation to Cortana and voice over narration by Cortana2. Some voice commands include "Select," "Hey Cortana," "Go to Start," and "Teleport."
  • Locomotion refers to physical commands in virtual environments, such as pushing, pulling, arm swings, bobbing, leaning, etc.
  • Natural movement is your ability to physically move in a virtual reality experience. This is also referred to as Degrees of Freedom (see 6DOF below).

What is 6DOF?

6DOF stands for Six Degrees of Freedom, which is your ability to physically move in a virtual reality experience. Windows Mixed Reality headsets come equipped with built-in 6DOF tracking hardware.

  Three Degrees of Freedom Six Degrees of Freedom
  Mobile VR Windows Mixed Reality
Move up and down      
Move left and right      
Move forward and backward      
Swivel left and right      
Tilt forward and backward      
Pivot side to side      

What other voice commands can I use with Cortana?

Here's a list3

Command What does it do
"What can I say?" Shows Cortana card with info on what Cortana can do.
"Increase/decrease the volume" Increase/decrease volume.
"Mute/Unmute" Mute device. Unmute device.
"Launch/Open " Launches app into placement mode.
"Open " ("", for example). Launches Edge to the URL.
"Take picture/photo" Takes a MRC photo.
"Start recording" Starts recording MRC video.
"Stop recording" Stops recording MRC video.
"Play music" Randomly picks a song from Groove music collection to play. Groove has to be set up with music collection already on PC.
Play // Play music from specified artist/album/song in Groove music collection. Groove has to be set up with music collection already on PC.
Pause/Stop Pauses Groove music that is playing.
Play Resumes Groove music that was paused.
Next Skips to the next song when music is playing in Groove collection.
What time is it? Opens Bing answer for time in Cortana card.

Windows Mixed Reality Content & Experience

How old must you be to experience Windows Mixed Reality?

There is no age limit on Windows Mixed Reality, however, many manufacturers recommend a minimum age of thirteen years old to experience Mixed Reality Headsets.

Can Windows Mixed Reality headsets be used by people with glasses?

Yes, headsets can be used by people wearing distance viewing glasses (the ones that people wear to have good vision when driving or for distance viewing). Headsets are focused at a distance that is further away, so the experience might not be optimal for those wearing up-close viewing glasses (reading glasses are designed for focus at 'less than 10 feet to infinity').

How do the Windows Mixed Reality Motion Controllers work?

Unlike other systems requiring wall markers, Windows Mixed Reality motion controllers are directly tracked by the sensors in your headset. With nothing to come between controller and sensor, you get a better experience that's more naturally responsive to the moves you make. Use the Touchpad to scroll or pan content, rotate objects, or move a slider; it's even configurable to the app you're in. Pull the Trigger for actions, to select or to take hold of objects and navigate easily with the Thumbstick.

What's the content like?

We are working with content partners to bring the most immersive experiences to the Windows Store. We have a lot of exciting content coming — including Minecraft.

Can I play games from Oculus Rift in Windows Mixed Reality?

Oculus is not supported, but many of the most popular games, like Superhot and Space Pirate Trainer are available on Windows Mixed Reality.

Does Windows Mixed Reality work with Windows 10 S?

Windows 10 S does not currently support Windows Mixed Reality.

Windows Mixed Reality Hardware

Are the headsets adjustable?

The headsets have different adjustment straps depending on manufacturer. There is no option to adjust focus.

Can the headset be used if I wear glasses?

All Windows Mixed Reality headsets can be used with distance viewing glasses (e.g. for driving); however, the experience might not be optimal while wearing up-close glasses like reading glasses due to the headset being focused at a distance that is further away.

What is the difference between 60hz and 90hz experiences?

60hz and 90hz are refresh rates — the rate at which images you see are refreshed. The higher the rate, the smoother the movement. All Windows Mixed Reality headsets can deliver both, which is determined by your PC.

What are the minimum device requirements?

  Windows Mixed Reality
For those wanting a modern, sleek PC capable of immersive experiences.
Windows Mixed Reality Ultra
For those wanting powerful machines & best VR games and experiences.
Headset/controller compatibility Any of the five headsets from Dell, Lenovo, Acer, HP, and Asus are compatible. Any of the motion controllers are compatible. PC-compatible gamepad or mouse/keyboard will work too.
Processor Intel Core i5 (7th generation) CPU, 2 or more physical cores with Intel Hyper-Threading Technology enabled Intel Core i5 (6th generation) CPU, 4 or more physical cores AMD FX-4350 4.2Ghz (desktop), 4 or more physical cores
GPU Integrated Intel HD Graphics 620 or greater DX12 capable integrated GPU NVIDIA GTX 965M/AMD RX 460 or greater DX12 capable discrete GPU
Windows Display Driver Model (WDDM) 2.2 or later
Thermal Design Power 15W or greater
Display Headset connectors: 1x available graphics display port for headset (HDMI 1.4 or DisplayPort 1.2 or better) Headset connectors: 1x available graphics display port for headset (HDMI 2.0 or DisplayPort 1.2 or better)
  Resolution: SVGA (800x600) or greater
Bit depth: 32 bits of color per pixel
Monitor: connected external or integrated display required for setup and while using the HMD
Memory 8GB DDR3 or greater + dual channel memory for integrated graphics 8GB DDR3 or greater
  10 GB additional free space
Connectivity 1x available USB port for headset (USB 3.0 Type-A or USB 3.0 Type-C). Note: USB must supply a minimum of 900mA. Connector adapter required for USB 3.0 Type-C ports.
Bluetooth 4.0 (for accessory connectivity)