While it’s all too easy to lose ourselves in the countless VR worlds at our fingertips, sometimes we just need to access the desktop and get things done in Windows. Thanks to a few innovative apps, this is possible without removing your headset.
The default startup environments for the Vive and Rift are comfortable spaces, designed to be as streamlined as possible, allowing you to launch into specific VR content quickly and easily. With time, these spaces are expected to become more interactive and social, but for now they’re basic launchpads. Sometimes, it can be handy to glance at your Windows desktop without having to remove the headset or perform an awkward peer-down-the-nose-gap manoeuvre.
SteamVR, which runs by default on the Vive and can be used with the Rift as well, caters for this with a basic square Windows desktop view within the launcher which can be handy for making quick adjustments. But if desktop productivity in VR is your main objective, you’ll want a virtual reality desktop that’s built around that task.
Whether you just need a decent monitor replacement, or you have grand dreams of using a PC entirely in VR, it’ll be worth trying at least one of these apps, all of which are available on the HTC Vive or Oculus Rift via SteamVR.
A popular choice due to its performance and simplicity, Virtual Desktop has the most straightforward representation of the Windows desktop, with support for multiple monitors.