An update to SteamVR has brought a slew of interface changes which aim to improve ease-of-use and address the software’s dense array of settings.

Update (December 17th, 2019): Valve today pushed the SteamVR 1.9.13 update out of beta and into the main branch, making it the public version of the software which will be downloaded by all users. We’ve updated the article below to reflect the move from beta to public release, and included the full changelog for reference.

Original Article (December 12th, 2019), Updated: As Valve prepares for the debut of Half-Life: Alyx and an influx of new VR users alongside it, the company is also evolving SteamVR to be more user friendly.

An update to SteamVR (1.9.13) has overhauled the Settings menu, moving it away from a developer-centric power-tool toward something more approachable to end-users.

Captured by Road to VR

In addition to modernizing the look and feel of the Settings menu, some settings are now hidden by default and can only be seen when toggling on the ‘Advanced Settings’ option, which also reveals a sub-menu of developer-specific options.

Of equal importance, Valve says that “most” settings can now be accessed both inside and outside of the headset. This will hopefully reduce instances where players need to remove the headset to make small tweaks like adjusting Motion Smoothing, Render Resolution, or Audio Mirroring.

Captured by Road to VR

The update has also brought minor tweaks to the SteamVR Dashboard (the in-VR menu), including improvements for Desktop View with multiple monitors.

Additionally, the update allows users to further increase the brightness of Index, as well as change the headset’s refresh rate without restarting SteamVR (so long as the headset has been updated to the latest firmware and users are using NVIDIA GPU drivers of version 441 or higher).

Valve notes that “the new SteamVR settings are still a work in progress,” so we can expect to see more changes before the beta gets pushed out to the public branch of SteamVR. If you want to try it out ahead of time, you can install the SteamVR beta branch by right-clicking on SteamVR in Steam and going to the ‘Betas’ tap and selecting the beta branch from the dropdown menu.

The update marks a trend of steady improvements to SteamVR, including a recent update which overhauled the platform’s irksome audio management. With Half-Life: Alyx on the horizon, we expect to see continued improvements to SteamVR from Valve.

Here’s the full SteamVR 1.9.13 changelog:

SteamVR Settings

  • Settings user interface re-design.
  • Most settings now available on both the desktop and in-headset.
  • Valve Index HMD refresh rate can be changed mid-game, without restarting. (Requires NVIDIA driver version 441, or higher)

SteamVR Desktop View

  • Improved multi-monitor desktop support (Windows 10 only).
  • Improved cursor rendering (Windows 10 only).
  • Added experimental user setting to control Desktop scale.
  • Fixed double characters appearing in the desktop view and Steam chat.
  • Fixed backspace not working in the desktop view (Windows 10 only)


  • Numerous crash fixes and stability improvements.
  • Improved audio mirroring latency and fixed some cases where the mirror could accumulate a large delay.
  • Moved Performance Graph to main SteamVR status window (right-click)
  • Skip “Advanced Supersampling Filtering” for systems which use their own compositor (e.g. Windows Mixed Reality, Oculus). This fixes some causes of blurriness reported by WMR users.
  • All windows now group together under one icon in the Windows taskbar.
  • Fixed rendering of grid lines in the construct.
  • Fixed loading animation on transition overlay being at the wrong height.
  • Added better error diagnostics when failing to find proper display adapter for new UI.
  • Added block compression to render model textures over 2048×2048.
  • Minor optimization for motion smoothing.
  • Fixed some memory leaks when VR_Init is called repeatedly in long-running applications.
  • Increased the maximum number of overlays to 128.

SteamVR Dashboard

  • Minor appearance tweaks.
  • Fixed regression in ComputeOverlayIntersection for Dashboard overlays.
  • Moved dashboard power menu from a tab to a popover.
  • Added haptic bumps with moving on or off of buttons on the dashboard controls.
  • Added experimental user setting to control Dashboard placement and scale.

SteamVR Input

  • For games using legacy input: When fetching default bindings, prefer partner site explicit defaults instead of generic legacy defaults
  • When switching bindings, SteamVR now records the previously selected binding in a setting.
  • Action Sets with a higher priority will now correctly override sets with a lower priority.
  • Recent games list in top level controller configuration menu now shows most recent game instead of starting with second most recent game.


  • Rate-limit attempting to open the tracing filesystem to once every 5 seconds.
  • SteamVR will now attempt to set thread priorities through rtkit (when available).
  • Fixed a vrwebhelper crash that could make the dashboard disappear.
  • Fixed the pairing UI window content not showing up the first time it was opened.
  • Fixed a few behavior quirks in vrwebhelper’s desktop windows.
  • Added diagnostics for tracking down rare stuck haptics bug on Linux.

There is a known crash on Linux which is currently being investigated. In the meantime, Linux users may opt into the ‘linux_temp’ branch. (Right-click SteamVR -> Properties -> Betas, to enable).


  • Fixed an issue where controllers may stop tracking too quickly when hidden from view.
  • Fixed IPD value not being correct until changed by the user.

Index HMD

  • Max brightness extended to 140.
  • Framerate can be changed without restarting (requires NVIDIA driver version 441, or higher).
    Requires firmware update.

SteamVR Tracking 2.0 Basestations

  • Improved reliability of firmware updates, in situations with weak signals or interference.

Note: Vive Pro users experiencing issues with basestation communications may want to reposition their link box.

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Ben is the world's most senior professional analyst solely dedicated to the XR industry, having founded Road to VR in 2011—a year before the Oculus Kickstarter sparked a resurgence that led to the modern XR landscape. He has authored more than 3,000 articles chronicling the evolution of the XR industry over more than a decade. With that unique perspective, Ben has been consistently recognized as one of the most influential voices in XR, giving keynotes and joining panel and podcast discussions at key industry events. He is a self-described "journalist and analyst, not evangelist."
  • Ad

    Solely needed improvements

    1. Room setup inside the headset using paththrough (it can still be the same walking around the perimeter system)

    2. Pass through automatically enables when tracking is lost or before tracking starts

    3. Add something like a 10sec long press on the headset button to restart SteamVR

    4. Replace big picture mode and fix the issue where non steam VR games don’t show up in big screen even if you “add to VR library”

    5. Push to SteamVR home all the improvements made to Source 2 with Alyx, smooth locomotion, and online stability.

    • Gonzax

      I’d add a decent handling of the desktop, it’s long overdue. It’s absolute rubbish right now with two monitors, almost unusable. Something like what Oculus does would be perfect.

      • Ad

        They just added multi monitor to the beta if that helps, but yeah it’s not ideal. I want to be able to use my headset without touching my mouse, keyboard, or monitor, and use my desktop and some minor utilities easily.

      • Lukas Salomon

        Hop onto SteamVR beta, they just updated the desktop UI such that each screen has its own tab in the bottom, and the update speed is now 60fps as well.

        • Gonzax

          Well, that sounds promising, thanks!

          • Rosko

            It’s not as good as oculus though, you can’t resize it so it’s just fixed distance & its too small to read as a result.

  • Alextended
    • Uncle Right

      Looks brutal. I like hard punch of weapons against the living force mass.

      • Alextended

        It does look pretty sweet, dev said it’s all free locomotion too, it’s not quite clear in the vid so I went on their discord to make sure :D

    • aasdfa

      wanna stop spamming game videos on here… theyll do a review when it hits alpha and a real review when it launches

      • Alextended

        Cry some more, lol.

    • Zantetsu

      This post is off-topic. Ben, please address. Thanks.

      • Alextended

        Cry some more.

        • Zantetsu

          Welcome to my blocklist.

          • Alextended


    • Jonathan Winters III

      Thanks for sharing that, had no idea it was a thing until now. Trailer looks very promising.

      • Alextended

        Yup, that’s why I tried to get Road to VR folks to see it, I’m sure they’ll agree and make a post about it, but I cba to find proper contact info lol.

  • Uncle Right

    Why “recenter” never worked and still does not work for WMR? I have to go to Desktop, maximize the window of Mixed Reality and do the floor height / position Center there”. Anybody knows?

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  • Badelhas

    I’m looking forward for this game to be groundbreaking

  • Justos

    *rolls eyes*

    really reaching to include HL:A in the title.

    news update! Valve employees went to work at 9am today in preparation to finish HL:A before launch~!!!

  • Mike Porter

    Why no 60 and 72Hz modes?

    • crim3

      Because the flickering of the low persistance becomes noticeable at those frequencies. I use my Lenovo Explorer at 60Hz for performance reasons (I’m in DCS World 99% of my VR time and it’s veeery demanding) and I admit it’s not for everybody, but I prefer 60fps at 60Hz without reprojection to 45fps at 90Hz with reprojection.

    • dk

      they should remove the 80hz option

  • impurekind

    About time they made all of this simpler and cleaner for the masses, with all the nerd crap behind an option, and just made it better overall.

  • Now they need to streamline controller bindings cause half of it makes no sense.