Late last year Microsoft announced it would be ending support for Windows Mixed Reality headsets (and associated software). Now the company has taken the first steps toward pulling the plug.
Windows Insider Preview Build 26502 was released to members of the Windows Insider Preview program this week, and users running this build who plug in a Windows Mixed Reality Headset will find that it doesn’t work. So far this only affects folks who are testing the latest preview, but this will become standard behavior when Windows 11 24H2 rolls out later this year.
Microsoft started building virtual and mixed reality features into Windows nearly a decade ago, with the launch of a Windows Holographic set of features initially designed to support the company’s HoloLens headset.
Windows Holographic was renamed Windows Mixed Reality in 2017, when Microsoft began working with PC companies including Acer, Asus, Dell, HP, and Lenovo to release lower-cost VR headsets designed for use with Windows PCs.
But the platform never really took off in a big way, and it’s been years since any company has released a new headset for Windows Mixed Reality. Meanwhile we’ve seen growth in the non-Windows headset space, with Meta’s Quest line of headsets, Sony’s PlayStation VR, and, most recently, Apple’s Vision Pro.
So what are you supposed to do with your hardware if you’re one of the handful of people who’ve actually got a Windows Mixed Reality headset lying around? Microsoft says you can keep using it with Valve’s Steam VR platform through November, 2026. There’s just one catch: you’ll need to avoid installing major Windows operating system updates, as you’ll need to remain on Windows 11 23H2 to use a Windows Mixed Reality Headset with Steam after Windows 11 24H2 is released.