Install the tools

Get the tools you need to build applications for Microsoft HoloLens and Windows Mixed Reality immersive (VR) headsets. There is no separate SDK for Windows Mixed Reality development; you'll use Visual Studio with the Windows 10 SDK.

Don't have a mixed reality device? You can install the HoloLens emulator to test some functionality of mixed reality apps without a HoloLens. You can also use the Windows Mixed Reality simulator to test your mixed reality apps for immersive headsets.

We recommend installing the Unity game engine as the easiest way to get started creating mixed reality apps. However, you can also build against DirectX if you'd like to use a custom engine.


Bookmark this page and check it regularly to keep up-to-date on the most recent version of each tool recommended for mixed reality development.

Installation checklist

Tool Description Notes
Windows logo

Windows 10
(Manual install link)
Install the most recent version of Windows 10 so your PC's operating system matches the platform for which you're building mixed reality applications. Installing Windows 10
  • You can install the most recent version of Windows 10 via Windows Update in Settings or by creating installation media, using the link in the left column.
  • See current release notes for information about the newest mixed reality features available with each release of Windows 10.
Enable developer mode on your PC at Settings > Update & Security > For developers.

Note for enterprise and corporate-managed PCs: if your PC is managed by an your organization's IT department, you might need to contact them in order to update.

'N' versions of Windows: Windows Mixed Reality immersive (VR) headsets are not supported on 'N' versions of Windows.
Visual Studio logo

Visual Studio 2019 (16.1 or higher)
(Install link)
Fully-featured integrated development environment (IDE) for Windows and more. You'll use Visual Studio to write code, debug, test, and deploy. Workloads to install:
  • Desktop development with C++
  • Universal Windows Platform (UWP) development
Note about Unity: Unless you're intentionally trying to install a newer (non-LTS) version of Unity for a specific purpose, we recommend not installing the Unity workload as part of Visual Studio installation, and instead install the 2018.4 LTS stream of Unity as noted below.

Note: There are some known issues with debugging mixed reality apps in Visual Studio 2019 version 16.0. Please ensure that you update Visual Studio 2019 to version 16.1 or higher.
Windows logo

Windows 10 SDK (10.0.18362.0)
(Manual install link)
Provides the latest headers, libraries, metadata, and tools for building Windows 10 apps on HoloLens 2. To build HoloLens 2 apps, you must install the Windows SDK, build 18362 or later.

If you are only developing applications for desktop Windows Mixed Reality headsets or HoloLens (1st gen), you can use the Windows SDK installed by Visual Studio 2017.
Visual Studio logo

HoloLens 2 Emulator (October 2019 Update)
(Install link: 10.0.18362.1034)

HoloLens (1st gen) Emulator
(Install link: 10.0.17763.134)
The emulator lets you run applications on a HoloLens virtual machine image without a physical HoloLens.

See Using the HoloLens emulator for more information on getting started with the emulator.

Your system must support Hyper-V for the emulator installation to succeed. Reference the System Requirements section below for details.

Choose your engine

We typically recommend the Unity LTS (Long Term Support) stream as the best version with which to start new projects, updating to its latest revision to pick up the latest stable fixes.

The current recommendation is to use Unity 2018.4.x, which is the LTS build required for MRTK v2 below.

Some developers might want to use a different version of Unity for specific reasons. For those cases, Unity supports side-by-side installs of different versions.

Mixed Reality Toolkit (MRTK)
Mixed Reality Toolkit (MRTK) v2 for Unity is an open source cross-platform development kit for mixed reality applications.

MRTK v2 is intended to accelerate development of applications targeting Microsoft HoloLens, Windows Mixed Reality immersive (VR) headsets, and the OpenVR platform. The project is aimed at reducing the barriers to entry in creating mixed reality applications and contributing back to the community as things evolve.

Unreal Engine 4 is a powerful, open source creation engine with full support for mixed reality in both C++ and Blueprints.

HoloLens support for Unreal Engine 4.23 is currently in beta.

DirectX templates
DirectX templates
All of the essentials you need to start writing a mixed reality app using DirectX. Includes a rendering loop (or "game loop"), a DeviceResources helper class to manage the Direct3D device and context, and a simple example renderer.

Mixed Reality Toolkit (MRTK)

The Mixed Reality Toolkit provides components and features that are intended to accelerate the development of applications targeting Microsoft HoloLens, Windows Mixed Reality headsets and OpenVR platform. The project is aimed at reducing barriers to entry to create mixed reality applications and contribute back to the community as thing evolve.

  • Mixed Reality Toolkit - a collection of scripts and components intended to accelerate the development of mixed reality applications.
  • Mixed Reality Toolkit-Unity - uses code from the base toolkit, making it easier to consume in Unity.
  • Mixed Reality Companion Kit - code bits and components that might not run directly on HoloLens or immersive (VR) headsets, but instead pair with them to build experiences targeting Windows Mixed Reality.

Setting up your PC for mixed reality development

The Windows 10 SDK works best on the Windows 10 operating system. This SDK is also supported on Windows 8.1, Windows 8, Windows 7, Windows Server 2012, Windows Server 2008 R2. Note that not all tools are supported on older operating systems.

For HoloLens development

When setting up your development PC for HoloLens development, please make sure it meets the system requirements for both Unity and Visual Studio. If you plan to use the HoloLens (1st gen) emulator, you'll want to make sure your PC meets the HoloLens emulator system requirements as well.

To get started with the HoloLens emulator, see Using the HoloLens emulator.

If you plan to develop for both HoloLens and Windows Mixed Reality immersive (VR) headsets, use the system recommendations and requirements in the section below.

For immersive (VR) headset development


The following guidelines are the current minimum and recommended specs for your immersive (VR) headset development PC, and are updated regularly.


Do not confuse this with the minimum PC hardware compatibility guidelines, which outlines the consumer PC specs to which you should target your immersive (VR) headset app or game.

If your immersive headset development PC does not have full-sized HDMI and/or USB 3.0 ports, you'll need adapters to connect your headset.

There are currently known issues with some hardware configurations, particularly notebooks that have hybrid graphics.

Minimum Recommended
Processor Notebook: Intel Mobile Core i5 7th generation CPU, Dual-Core with Hyper Threading Desktop: Intel Desktop i5 6th generation CPU, Dual-Core with Hyper Threading OR AMD FX4350 4.2Ghz Quad-Core equivalent Desktop: Intel Desktop i7 6th generation (6 Core) OR AMD Ryzen 5 1600 (6 Core, 12 threads)
GPU Notebook: NVIDIA GTX 965M, AMD RX 460M (2GB) equivalent or greater DX12 capable GPU Desktop: NVIDIA GTX 960/1050, AMD Radeon RX 460 (2GB) equivalent or greater DX12 capable GPUDesktop: NVIDIA GTX 980/1060, AMD Radeon RX 480 (2GB) equivalent or greater DX12 capable GPU
GPU driver WDDM version WDDM 2.2 driver
Thermal Design Power 15W or greater
Graphics display ports 1x available graphics display port for headset (HDMI 1.4 or DisplayPort 1.2 for 60Hz headsets, HDMI 2.0 or DisplayPort 1.2 for 90Hz headsets)
Display resolution Resolution: SVGA (800x600) or greater Bit depth: 32 bits of color per pixel
Memory 8 GB of RAM or greater 16 GB of RAM or greater
Storage >10 GB additional free space
USB Ports 1x available USB port for headset (USB 3.0 Type-A) Note: USB must supply a minimum of 900mA
Bluetooth Bluetooth 4.0 (for accessory connectivity)

See also