Controlling SteamVR versions

In a production environment commonly software versions are kept fixed. Unfortunately, if you installed SteamVR via Steam, SteamVR is automatically updated by Steam, so without additional precautions, it can always happen that SteamVR is updated to a version that breaks support for devices the user relies on. On this page we discuss two things: first, how to prevent Steam from updating SteamVR, and then how to create a standalone version of SteamVR to be able to roll back to a known ‘good’ version even in the case of an update. The second part also explains how to switch between several available versions of SteamVR. Finally, the third part shows how you may be able to roll back to an older version if you were already updated to a version that breaks your system.

Preventing updates to SteamVR

SteamVR is updated automatically by Steam. As long as you don’t start Steam, SteamVR is not updated. So the aim of this section is to describe how to start SteamVR without invoking Steam. Luckily this is very simple: SteamVR is started by running c:\program files (x86)\steam\steamapps\common\steamvr\bin\win64\vrmonitor.exe in the default setup. If you create a shortcut to this program, you can start SteamVR without running Steam and updates won’t happen any longer. Until you start Steam. In order to totally prevent updates, see the next section.

How to create a shortcut the simplest way

Start SteamVR as usual. An icon for SteamVR should pop up in your taskbar. Right-click on it, select “Pin to Taskbar” as in the screenshot.

You can now start SteamVR simply by clicking on the icon with no necessity to start Steam first.

Creating a self-contained version of SteamVR

While the previous approach prevents automatic updates, accidental updates can still happen. In order to prevent them, you will have to create a self-contained version of SteamVR that you can always roll back to. Creating this version fairly simple: just copy the contents of c:\program files (x86)\steam\steamapps\common\steamvr\ (or the corresponding path on your system) somewhere else. This is the procedure documented by Valve. E.g. in my case I have a copy of SteamVR 1.13.10 on my Desktop, in a folder old steamvr versions. In order to run this old version, we can execute bin\win64\vrstartup inside that folder. If that doesn’t work, we need to do two things:

1. Enabling a self-contained SteamVR

Open a command line and navigate to <your old steamvr location>\bin\win64. There should be a number of executables, as in the screenshot below:

In order to be able to execute this version we need to execute the vrpathreg.exe executable with the the setthis flag, so enter .\vrpathreg setthis. This will not give any output unless you mistyped it.

2. Running a self-contained SteamVR

In order to run the SteamVR version we have just enabled, you need to execute vrmonitor.exe from the same location. Note that it won’t work correctly if you don’t run vrpathreg setthis from the previous step first. Either navigate to the folder with the Windows explorer (you can enter the command explorer . to open it in the current location from the command line), and double click vrmonitor.exe or type .\vrmonitor if you still have the command line from step 1 open.
If you executed both steps correctly, the standalone version of SteamVR should start up correctly. You can now add this version of SteamVR to your taskbar as above.

3. Switching between different versions

Just repeat steps 1 and 2 to switch to a different version if you keep several around. Note: in principle running vrstartup should be enough to switch, but this doesn’t seem to be supported by all versions of SteamVR.

Alternative versions provided by Steam

Finally, Steam provides a number of specific version on their “Beta” track. Of particular interest is that they offer version 1.15.12 which prevents some breakage to our drivers that was introduced in the 1.16 releases. If you are using SteamVR from Steam, you can select this as follows:

Note: Please close SteamVR and, in case you are using a Varjo HMD, Varjo Base before doing this procedure. Otherwise SteamVR might jump back to the newer version after the next reboot.

  1. Open Steam, navigate to SteamVR

  2. Click on the gear near the upper right corner, then select “Properties”

  3. Select “Betas” on the left of the window that appeared

  4. Then select “oculus_win7and8 - v1.15.2 …”


  5. Steam might take some time to download this fallback version of SteamVR. Wait for the download to finish until starting SteamVR or Varjo Base. After this procedure your SteamVR should now be at v1.15.12. Confirm the correct version number in the SteamVR version information.