How to get Mixed Reality working on a Surface Book

I found these notes on reddit and reproduced them here in case anyone else finds them useful:


I picked up a Surface Book last year, and it has quickly become my ideal laptop. I was excited to hear about Windows MR headsets working with lower spec machines, Windows Surface Book + Windows Immersive seemed like a match made in heaven.

Unfortunately, once I actually tried to get things up and running, I ran into quite a few issues. A little digging into forums indicated that several other folks were running into trouble as well. Even worse, Microsoft had directly declared the Surface Book line incompatible with Windows MR.

It seemed kind of silly that less capable machines were able to run the Mixed Reality Portal, so I dug a little deeper. There were 3 main roadblocks:

  • Surface Book fails the Portal Compatibility Check
  • USB recognition issues
  • Specific display adapter is necessary

The following guide provides workarounds for these roadblocks. Follow the guide at your own risk, there is some regediting involved that may lead to unexpected results (although everything is working fine for me so far).


Depending on the Surface Book you have, you may or may not be running into this problem. For mine, the check did not like the driver associated with the integrated Intel Graphics, nor the nondescript “Nvidia GeForce GPU”

Unfortunately, there is no way to update these drivers outside of a Windows update. Manually installing drivers got around the check, but the display adapters did not function properly. Essentially, you have to go into the registry to convince Windows to ignore the check.

Open the Registry Editor and navigate to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Holographic\FirstRun (you can paste that into the address bar at the top).

Create a new DWORD (32-bit) value (either via Edit or context menu) and give it a name of AllowFailedSystemChecks.

Double-click that value and set its data to 1.

You can now restart Mixed Reality Portal, and the “Next” button should be clickable no matter what. Keep in mind that if the compatibility check is right about whatever it doesn’t like, that you will run into issues later.


So you get past the compatibility check and it asks you to plug in your headset. I plugged in my Acer VR HMD, and immediately got the message that the hardware was not recognized.

As it turns out, a very similar thing happens when trying to get a Kinect going on a surface book. There is some Surface specific part of the USB driver that causes an enumeration failure. The workaround is to open the Registry Editor, navigate to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\Class{36fc9e60-c465-11cf-8056-444553540000}.

Double click on the LowerFilters string and delete the Value Data “SurfaceUsbHubFwUpdate”


I got really excited at this point! Mixed Reality Portal started right up, recognized the Acer headset, and began downloading and installing things. Unfortunately, the trials were not over. As soon as the Portal tutorial started up, my monitor began to flicker and no video displayed in the headset. This “black flickering” happens if your dongle does not support mini display port 1.2 to HDMI 2.0. Windows have a specific list of adapters that they recommend.

I picked up the official Surface Mini DisplayPort to HDMI 2.0 Adapter, and finally I was in business!

Interestingly, it seems to function best when I disable the Nvidia GPU in Device Manager and force Integrated Graphics only. I will continue to experiment to see if I can get it to run in low-spec mode using the Nvidia GPU.


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