How do I get Virtual Desktop working in Rift?

Virtual Desktop is an amazing app that lets you basically live in your PC. You don your headset, launch Virtual Desktop from Steam, and away you go in your Oculus Rift.

There are a ton of settings involved, so let's take a look at what every knob, box, and slider does to help you get the best Virtual Desktop experience possible.

How to adjust your view

Sliders to adjust your view

  • Screen Size: Click and move the slider next to Screen Size to a desired size.
  • Screen Distance: Click and move the slider next to Screen Distance to a desired distance.

If you don't have a mouse, Xbox controller, or Rift remote handy, you can also use the F2 and F3 keys on your keyboard to adjust the size of the screen.

Reset buttons

  • Reset Orientation: Click or hit F4 on your keyboard to snap the screen back to where you're looking.
  • Reset to Defaults: Click to change all settings back to original settings.

How to change your backdrop environment

The standard Dark Nebula backdrop that opens by default when you launch Virtual Desktop is nice to look at, but one of the best parts of VD is changing your environment.

Changing your environment

  • Environment: Click the dropdown arrow in the Environment field to display a list of other backdrops.
  • Store: Click Store to see environments available for purchase.
  • Workshop: Click Workshop to see environments created by users that are available for free.

How to set up your screen

Screen Options

  • Curved: Click so that a checkmark appears to curve the screen — much nicer viewing!
  • Multi-Monitor: Click so that a checkmark appears if you want to have all of of your monitors displayed in Virtual Desktop.
  • Floating: Click so that a checkmark appears to enable the ability to re-position the screen anywhere using Reset Orientation.
  • Transparent: Click so that a checkmark appears to make your desktop's own wallpaper clear.
  • Clear wallpaper: Click to completely remove your desktop's wallpaper.

How to use voice commands

If you don't want to keep track of a controller or mouse and keyboard while you're in your Rift, you can enable voice commands to get some basic stuff done.

Voice Commands

  • Voice Commands: Click so that a checkmark appears to enable voice commands.
  • Accuracy: Click and move if the Rift has problems picking up what you're saying.
  • Vocal Feedback: Click so that a checkmark appears if you'd like to hear what you're saying through your headphones.
  • Environment Sounds: Click so that a checkmark appears if you'd like to hear sounds around you through your headphones.

List of voice commands

  • Switch to / Change Background to (background): changes to the desired background.
  • Reset orientation: resets the orientation of the screen.
  • Show / Bring up (Settings, Bindings, Games, Photos, Videos): brings up the desired tab.
  • Launch / Start / Run / Play (Game): launches a game.
  • Return to desktop / Exit game: exits the launched game.
  • What time is it?: tells you the time.

How to set up 3D viewing

One of the best parts of Virtual Desktop is the ability to view 3D content within. Here's how to set things up.

3D Viewing Options

  • Full SBS: Click or hit F6 so that a checkmark appears if you want to view side-by-side 3D video on the virtual screen.
  • Half SBS: Click or hit F7 so that a checkmark appears if you want to view stretched side-by-side 3D video on the virtual screen.
  • Over Under (OU): Click or hit F8 so that a checkmark appears if you want to view over-under 3D video.
  • Invert Left-Right: Click or hit F9 so that a checkmark appears to toggle between screens in SBS or OU modes.
  • SBS Direct: Click or hit F10 so that a checkmark appears to view side-by-side 3D video in the entire headset.
  • SBS Direct + Distortion: Click or hit F11 so that a checkmark appears to correct any distortion when viewing 3D video in the entire headset.

How to set up Windows integration

There are a number of options available that help get Windows working with Virtual Desktop.

Windows Integration

  • Mirror Headset to: Click so that a checkmark appears to mirror what you're seeing in the Rift to your desktop monitor.
  • Window: Click the dropdown arrow to change where to mirror the headset to.
  • Allow Injection: Click so that a checkmark appears to allow capturing of fullscreen games.
  • Show Error Notifications: Click so that a checkmark appears if you want error notifications to pop up.
  • Start when Windows Starts: Click so that a checkmark appears if you want Virtual Desktop to open when Windows starts — this is great for when you explicitly use VD for everyday PC tasks.

How to set Oculus options

Oculus Options

  • MSAA: Click so that a checkmark appears to enable aliasing selection.
  • MSAA slider: Move to change the amount of aliasing.
  • Mip Mapping: Click so that a checkmark appears to reduce aliasing.
  • Xbox Controller: Click so that a checkmark appears to enable Xbox controller support.
  • Render HUD: Click so that a checkmark appears to enable the render heads-up-display.
  • Performance HUD: Click so that a checkmark appears to enable the performance heads-up-display.

How to change key bindings

Xbox controller remapping is coming one day, but for you you can only remap the keyboard keys.

  1. Click the BINDINGS tab at the top of the window.
  2. Click a key binding.
  3. Hit a new key or hit ESC to cancel the process.

    Click the BINDINGS tab. Click a key binding.

How to add games to Virtual Desktop

  1. Click the GAMES tab at the top of the window.
  2. Click Add Game.

    Click the GAMES tab. Click Add Game.

  3. Double-click a game.
  4. Click PLAY to launch the game.

    Double-click a game. Click PLAY to launch the game.

Adding games to this list allow you to launch them with voice commands! Cool!

How to add 360-degree photos to Virtual Desktop

Any 360-degree photos you take yourself or download from the internet can be added to the Photos section of Virtual Desktop.

All you have to do is locate the 360-degree photo in your File Explorer, then drag and drop it into Virtual Desktop's PHOTOS tab.

How to change 3D playback options

There are a bunch of settings you can tweak to get the best video experience possible.

Video Mode

Video Mode

  • Standard: Click this option if the video is a standard 3D video.
  • Side by side: Click this option if the video has a side-by-side picture.
  • Over Under: Click this option if the video has an over-under picture.

Video Projection

Video Projection

  • Sphere (360): Click this option to have the video wrap 360-degrees around you.
  • Dome (180): Click this option to have the video wrap 180-degrees around you.
  • Fisheye (90): Click this option to enable the projection slider located below.
  • Fisheye slider: Move this to change the degree of projection.

Playback options

Playback Options

  • Always Show Desktop: Click this so a checkmark appears to keep the desktop in view at all times.
  • Stream Lower Quality: Click this so a checkmark appears to stream low quality video — perfect for those with slow internet connections.

How to add 360-degree videos to Virtual Desktop

Any 360-degree videos you shoot yourself, or any you find online can be played in Virtual Desktop.

How to open a video saved on your PC

  1. Click the VIDEOS tab at the top of the window.
  2. Click Open.
  3. Click the 3D video you want to open.

    Click Open. Click the 3D video you want to watch.

  4. Click Open. The video will play in your Rift.
  5. Click Stop to stop the video.

    Click Open. Click Stop to stop the video.

How to play a video from the internet

  1. Launch your favorite web browser from your desktop, taskbar, or Start menu.
  2. Navigate to a 3D video you want to watch. In this case we find one on YouTube.
  3. Double-click the URL in the address bar.
  4. Hit Ctrl + C on your keyboard.
  5. Click Virtual Desktop in your taskbar.

    Double-click the URL in the address bar. Copy the link. Click Virtual Desktop in your taskbar.

  6. Click Paste URL. The video will download and play.
  7. Click Stop to stop the video.

    Click Paste URL. Click Stop to stop the video.

Do you use Virtual Desktop?

Now that you have a handy guide, will you use Virtual Desktop for some 3D video or gaming? Let us know in the comments section below what you use Virtual Desktop for!