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Error on SteamVR Beta (iMac installation)

Asked: Dec 26 2017 | 2:30 pm EST 5985 Views 9 Answers View Best Answer

All: I have recently unboxed an iMac 580 running the latest version of High Sierra macOS. I have tried installing and running my new HTC Vive following all of the instructions on how to use the SteamVR Beta. However, when I try to launch Steam VR Beta from Steam to complete the set-up process I get the following error:

Missing File
A file we need for SteamVR is missing, please check your SteamVR installation. (103)

I have tried uninstalling/reinstalling both Steam and SteamVR and rebooting the machine and have had zero luck. I have all the components set up, plugged in and ready to go and again, no luck. Please help as Santa is looking really bad right now...

Thanks for any assistance you can provide!!!

Best Answer

Jan 02 2018 | 12:15 pm EST mattro7116

Hey Christopher.

I have an iMac 5K 2017, Radeon Pro 580 8GB VRAM and use a VIVE.

I have the exact problem you have on the Mac side. However, after installed boot camp and vive setup utility from VIVEs web site on the windows side, I was able to get everything working. I had the same peripheral firmware issue you did too, but when I did all this in the windows side, all updates worked correctly. They even updated wirelessly - I did not have to plug them into the iMac.

Your hypothesis of not having VIVEPORT software on the Mac side is correct. It is the missing link that drives the software to steam’s VR compositor. This is also why VIVE says that Mac is not supported on their web site. They have not developed the vive port app for Mac yet, and therefore official VIVE experiences will not work.

Now, that doesn’t mean that steam won’t support it, because we are both able to get as far as we are, but until vive gets their act together, I don’t believe we will see native vive VR gaming on the iMac just yet.

As far as needing a external GPU? You don’t. You only need it if you do NOT have a Radeon 580. All other Mac video cards need the boost. The only Macs that are VR capable are the iMac pro, and 5K iMac with 580 graphics.

More Answers

Dec 26 2017 | 9:47 pm EST pkcable

Our editor @Russell Holly will know better than I, AND I think he has one; but I believe you need a special device to run VR on an iMac except for the iMac Pro. It’s some sort of external video card processing device.

Dec 27 2017 | 2:03 pm EST Cale Hunt

Hi there. Sorry to hear about your troubles.

I don't have an iMac to test things out, but I'll contribute. After installing SteamVR, try verifying the integrity of its files. If that doesn't work, uninstall SteamVR, delete the SteamVR folder in the normal Steam directory, then reinstall. Keep us updated!

Dec 28 2017 | 12:52 pm EST christopherscole

Cale: Thanks for the tip. I verified the integrity and that came out good. When I uninstalled SteamVR from within Steam (vice in the Mac Applications folder), I was able to FINALLY make some progress.

I was able to get SteamVR to run enough that I could do the room set-up using the controller (not headset). Of could I could not test out the system via the content bundle (Fallout 4 and Google Paint) but when I downloaded a few SteamVR games, I have now run into my current roadblocks:

1) I cannot get the games to show up on the headset. Additionally I cannot even run the SteamVR set up with the headset. With the headset on, I can see the grid and make a few changes in the menu via the controllers, but doing anything else, including closing out the Set-up program is not working. This is really the main issue to actually using the Vive system. There seems to be a glitch in getting the Vive hardware to connect with the SteamVR games.
2) Updating the hardware firmware. With the exception of the headset, I am getting a notification that the controllers and the base stations need updated firmware. When I plug the devices into the USB cable (plugged into the back to iMac) I never get any notification that the devices are connected and that the firmware is being installed. Not sure what is going on here but it seems as if the iMac is not "seeing" when the hardware is plugged in.
3) Not being able to ge the "app" for Viveport is unfortunate. We have the free software and other titles we'd like to access there, but, I guess, until there's an official connection between Apple and HTC for Vive support we're likely screwed out of that too.

Through all of this, when I am doing research it seems that the only Mac people who have been able to get the Vive to work is through an external graphics card and via Windows in Bootcamp. I'd really like to exhaust all options to get this to work with my existing hardware before going that route (and making the purchases of Windows and the other hardware I would need).

Thanks again for the support and if you have made it this far, reading this long post. Would love too connect with anyone who has made it further than I have in making this iMac to HRTC Vive work successfully.

Jan 02 2018 | 3:37 pm EST pkcable


DAMN what a way to introduce yourself to our forum! Welcome to VRHeads. So glad you decided to join us and I gladly stand corrected on the external GPU issue! Glad you were able to provide a working solution! As such I have marked your post as "best answer"

PS Did I just say glad about 3 times too much!!!!! lol

Jan 02 2018 | 9:14 pm EST mattro7116

No problem! Thanks for the gold @pkcable !!

This issue had been plaguing me also, so I was glad to see I’m not the only one. @christopherscole if you have any questions or you make stride on our issue, please post! I’m going to favorite this page.

Jan 03 2018 | 10:48 pm EST christopherscole

Thanks to all. I did install Windows via boot camp and we are finally able to use the Vive. Thanks in large part because of the helps and tips from all of you.

I still am running into issues (had to reinstall Windows due to a reboot loop it was stuck in) and I am still having the occasional jittering or other small workable issues with the Vive system itself. The biggest challenge I may be having now is that I have not been able to update the firmware on the controllers and the base stations as even in Windows, the hardware isn't being recognized when plugged in via the USB cords. I am wondering if increasing the RAM will fix the jittering or if because it happens primarily in the menu area it may have to do with the super sluggish wifi bandwidth we've had (and are fixing) lately.

Through all of this I remain hopeful that Apple and Vive will be able to come together and we don't have to go through the Windows solution. However, I am really relived and excited to finally be using the system itself. Thanks again to you all. - Chris

Jan 04 2018 | 10:20 am EST pkcable

Through all of this I remain hopeful that Apple and Vive will be able to come together and we don't have to go through the Windows solution. However, I am really relived and excited to finally be using the system itself. Thanks again to you all. - Chris
THIS is the real solution. I think once that external video card device (for the rest of us iMac owners) comes out officially things will improve. It's just in testing/developer issue now. Upon the release of that device and as more Mac user are able to purchase and use Vive's THEN HTC will make the drivers we need.

Jan 07 2018 | 12:02 pm EST mattro7116


I resolved a lot of those issues by connecting the vive via a USBC multiport adapter. Plugged the vive HDMI and USB into it and just that one USB c into my iMac. Occasionally I will have to unplug power to the vive splitter box while windows is powered on, then relaunch VR by clicking VR in the vive app. I rarely use the steam interface except for the small info window with green icons to mirror audio and video. That’s also where I click to update firmware for base stations.

Also, I’m only running the whole system on 8GB of RAM and not having any performance issues. I’m a bit amazed at that, actually.