Windows Mixed Reality and the new Microsoft Edge

The new Microsoft Edge is available for download and has begun automatically rolling out to customers via Windows Update.

The new Microsoft Edge adopts the Chromium open source project on the desktop. This creates better compatibility for customers and less fragmentation for web developers. It will also support WebXR at launch, which is the new standard for creating immersive web experiences for VR headsets, in place of WebVR.

Important

When you install Microsoft Edge on an up-to-date Windows 10 device, it will replace the previous (legacy) version on your PC.

Installing the new Microsoft Edge

Before you install the new Microsoft Edge, upgrade to Windows 10 Version 1903 or later for native Win32 application support like the new Microsoft Edge in Windows Mixed Reality. Check Windows Update or manually install the latest version of Windows 10.

Once you have Windows 10 Version 1903 or later, you're ready for the new Microsoft Edge! The new Microsoft Edge is rolling out via Windows Update, but you can manually install the new Microsoft Edge from the Microsoft Edge website if you want it sooner.

Important

The new Microsoft Edge launches with support for WebXR, the new standard for creating immersive web experiences for VR headsets. When you install the new Microsoft Edge, you will no longer be able to play WebVR experiences in Microsoft Edge.

Known issues

Known issues resolved by the 2020-01 Cumulative update for Windows 10 Version 1903 (or later)

  • Launching any Win32 app, including the new Microsoft Edge, causes the headset display to briefly freeze.
  • The Microsoft Edge tile disappears from the Windows Mixed Reality Start menu (you can find it in the “Classic apps” folder).
  • Windows from the previous Microsoft Edge are still placed around the mixed reality home, but cannot be used. Attempting to activate those windows launches Edge in the Desktop app.
  • Selecting a hyperlink in the mixed reality home launches a web browser on the desktop instead of the mixed reality home.
  • The WebVR Showcase app is present in the mixed reality home, despite WebVR no longer being supported.
  • General improvements to keyboard launch and visuals.

Monitor and input handling issues

After taking the 2020-01 Cumulative update for Windows 10 Version 1903 or later, virtual monitors will appear as generic physical monitors in Settings > System > Display during Windows Mixed Reality sessions. Some customers, especially those with more than one physical monitor, may notice issues with desktop layout and input handling as a result.

Why this happens

Support for classic Win32 applications in Windows Mixed Reality was introduced with the Windows 10 May 2019 Update. To enable this support, a virtual monitor must be created to host the Win32 application. Each time a new Win32 application is launched, another virtual monitor has to be created. Unfortunately, creating a virtual monitor is an intensive task that can cause the headset display to briefly freeze. Customers offered feedback that the experience was uncomfortable and disruptive. Because of that feedback, alongside increased usage of Win32 applications, we decided to pre-allocate three virtual monitors during startup of Windows Mixed Reality to prevent this disruption and enable customers to launch up to three concurrent Win32 applications without experiencing the headset display freeze.

Workaround

We've since received feedback that some customers, especially those with multiple physical monitors, would prefer to disable this virtual monitor pre-allocation. To give customers more control, we've enabled a workaround that involves changing a registry key value, available with the following Windows Updates:

  • 2020-07 Cumulative Update Preview for Windows 10 Version 2004 (KB4568831)
  • 2020-10 Cumulative Update Preview for Windows 10 Version 1909 (KB4580386)
  • 2020-10 Cumulative Update Preview for Windows 10 Version 1903 (KB4580386)

Note

Modifying registry key values is intended for advanced users.

Warning

Disabling virtual monitor pre-allocation may result in your headset display briefly freezing when you launch a Win32 application (such as Steam, the new Microsoft Edge, or Google Chrome) in Windows Mixed Reality.

To disable virtual monitor pre-allocation:

  1. Check Windows Update for one of the Windows 10 Cumulative Update Preview versions listed above, and install the update when available. You may find the update under Optional updates or Advanced options on the Windows Update settings page
  2. Launch Registry Editor
  3. Navigate to "HKEY_CURRENT_USER\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Holographic"
  4. If the "PreallocateVirtualMonitors" REG_DWORD isn't present, create it by selecting Edit > New > DWORD (32-bit) Value and entering PreallocateVirtualMonitors as the name
  5. If the "PreallocateVirtualMonitors" REG_DWORD is present (or you just created it), double-click the entry and change "Value data" from 1 (its default value) to 0 (zero)
    • TRUE - 1
    • FALSE - 0

Virtual monitors will now allocate when you attempt to launch a Win32 application in Windows Mixed Reality instead of pre-allocating. To reset this and re-enable virtual monitor pre-allocation, return the DWORD "Value data" to 1.

Other known issues

  • Websites open in Windows Mixed Reality will be lost when Mixed Reality Portal closes, though the Microsoft Edge windows will remain where they were placed in the mixed reality home.
  • WebXR experiences, including the 360 Viewer extension, may not launch correctly on PCs with a Hybrid GPU setup. You can work around this issue by enabling a preview feature in the new Microsoft Edge. Navigate to edge://flags, search for "multi gpu" and enable the flag called WebXR Multi GPU Support.
  • Audio from Microsoft Edge windows isn't spatialized.
  • Fixed in 360 Viewer extension version 2.3.8: Opening a 360 video from YouTube in Windows Mixed Reality may result in the video being distorted in the headset. Restarting Edge should invisibly update the 360 Viewer extension to resolve this issue. You can confirm which version of the extension you have by entering edge://system/ in the address bar and selecting the Expand button next to "extensions."