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Wearable Tech

Update: Why your Oculus Rift just stopped working (and how to fix)

Having trouble using your VR headset today? Here's what to do.

oculus-runtime-service-issue

Can't Reach Oculus Runtime Service? A fix is on the way.

Screenshot by Sean Hollister/CNET

Are you locked out of your Oculus Rift? There's a pretty decent chance you have -- Facebook appears to have goofed, and now its Windows-based virtual reality headset is totally unusable. (We confirmed with our own Rifts.)

Good news: Your headset isn't bricked, and there's now a fix right here. Plus,  Oculus tells us you'll automatically get a $15 Oculus store credit as an apology if you used your Rift between Feb. 1 and March 7.

Original story:

You can use a simple workaround to get back in VR almost immediately... albeit a risky one you may want to immediately revert afterwards.

  • Right-click on the clock, likely located in the lower-right hand corner of your Windows desktop
  • Select adjust date/time.
  • Uncheck set time automatically, then click Change.
  • Set your computer's time and date to a few days in the past.

Why does that work? Most likely because Facebook failed to update the Oculus Rift software's security certificate, which Windows uses to tell whether programs are legitimate. You know, instead of being spoofed by a malware company or something.

But that's also why it's risky to set your Windows system's time to a date that's already past. So maybe wait for the official fix instead? That's what Oculus recommends.

"We are aware of and actively investigating an issue impacting ability to access Rift software. Our teams apologize for any inconvenience this may be causing you and appreciate your patience while we work on a resolution," reads the current official statement from Oculus. You can check out the official support thread or this Reddit thread to stay informed about a fix.

First published, March 7 at 11:48 a.m. PT.

Update, 2:03 p.m. PT: Oculus has confirmed it's a security certificate issue, and recommends you wait for an official fix. "For security, we use a certificate to ensure that the software you receive actually comes from Oculus. That certificate has expired, and we're looking at a few different ways to resolve the issue," the company writes.

Update, 5:48 p.m. PT: Oculus says it's still working on the issue but that the expired certificates are blocking the usual software update path.  

Update, March 8 1:27 a.m. PT: Oculus has released an official patch to fix the issue. We can confirm it works on one of our affected PCs, and you can download and install it here.

Update, March 8 at 10:10 a.m. PT: Oculus says affected users will automatically get a $15 Oculus Store credit. We've confirmed with Oculus that includes anyone who used their Oculus Rift between Feb. 1 and March 7, so you can't just fire up your Rift now and get the credit.