Oculus VR headsets knocked out by admin error

Oculus VR headsets knocked out by admin error

Mark Zuckerberg has shown great enthusiasm for VR since his firm took over Oculus

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Facebook bought Oculus in 2014 and has promoted greater use of the technology

Owners of Oculus Rift headsets could not use their devices for almost a day due to an administrative oversight.

Oculus failed to renew a security certificate for some software, meaning headsets would not run key code.

Security certificates are often used to authenticate software, and many computers refuse to run code lacking valid credentials.

Oculus issued a software update early on Thursday, which it said would fix the problem.

Critical time

The issue first came to light via social media when headset owners reported that the Oculus PC application was not working.

An error message said that the program could not reach Oculus's runtime service.

Soon after these reports started circulating, Oculus took to Twitter to acknowledge the problem.

Image Copyright @OculusRift


Twitter post by @OculusRift: We’re aware of an issue impacting people’s ability to use Rift’s software, and we’re working to fix the problem. Please visit  for the latest—thanks for your patience!
Image Copyright @OculusRift


It also posted a message to its support forum, apologising for the inconvenience and asking people to be patient while it worked on a fix.

The company was criticised for taking too long to respond to queries and posting too little information about the problem.

Many people could not wait for an official fix and traded tips on Reddit and other social-media sites about the best way to get around the problem.

One suggested solution involved turning a PC's system clock backwards to make it appear as if the certificate had not expired.

However, some reported that this then caused problems with other programs on the same PC.

In a later update, Oculus said fixing the problem had proved tricky because the expired certificate meant many people could not download and install the update.

Early on Thursday, Oculus found a way round this obstacle and provided a further update that renewed the certificate and got the core application working again. Oculus co-founder Nate Mitchell said it would give a $15 (£11) store credit to anyone "impacted" by the downtime.

The security certificates at the heart of the problem are widely used to guarantee the authenticity of the code in applications.

The certificates act like a passport for programs, and many machines refuse to run "unsigned" or uncertificated programs.

"Oculus are far from alone in experiencing these difficulties," said Craig Stewart, a spokesman for certification company Venafi.

"The average business has around 17,000 undiscovered or forgotten certificates in their environment and occasionally one will be as important as this one."

Mr Stewart said many companies still managed their certificates manually, which could leave them prey to similar "reputational crises".

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