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Compositor not available error 400 (new Dell Alienware AuroraR7)


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Hello:  I'm sorry to start yet another "compositor not available" thread, but I have no choice...I've tried everything else.  I just unboxed a new Alienware Aurora R7 with a GTX1080ti card...plenty of power, plenty of memory.   I'm receiving the dreaded Error 400, and no solutions are working.  Here are the steps:

1. Powered up PC and updated all drivers using DriverEasy.  NOTE:  I'm upgrading from an Asus ROG G20, where I received the exact same error...updating drivers fixed it.  Also applied Windows updates.

2. Installed Steam and Steam VR, received error.  Made sure all cables were installed correctly (unplugged and replugged all).  Vive is connected to PC via DisplayPort cable and USB 3 cable (both new and verified working, as they were working on my Asus).

3. Removed SteamVR settings file from x86/Steam/Config directory.  Also tried removing drivers using the SteamVR Settings menu (General tab) and resetting cables.  No luck. 

4. Tried uninstalling Steam and reinstalling Steam and SteamVR.  Shut down PC and restarted about a billion times.  No luck.I'm respectfully asking for any Vive tech to please assist me with this issue.  This should not be happening with a brand new gaming PC with ne of the most advanced GPUs available.  I have spent hours with this and  it's clear that there is no solution I can implement withoutadvanced help.  Please note that I am looking for a definitive, coherent solution in the form of an official patch or a systemic fix...I have already reset and checked cables/connections ad infinitum, and can verify that they are all working.


One additional note:  I have spent quite a bit of money on Vive and related products, and was in fact considering upgrading to the Vive Pro.  However, I have no desire to go through this Compositor nonsense every time I change configurations.  I have scanned countless posts on this topic, and most of the "solutions" posted reek of magic...unplug and replug cables in a specific order, restart at specific times, etc.  HTC Techs: either the  software works with a brand new gaming PC, or it doesn't.  If it doesn't, please advise accordingly, and I will try my luck with the Oculus Rift, which reportedly is not as good a VR experience as the Vive but is a lot easier to set up.  Note also that if I'm obliged to go with the Oculus, I will be sure to log my experience with it (emphasizing the setup issues as compared to the Vive).  This is not a threat, I am a VR enthusiast (I was an early adopter of the Vive), and am a contributing member of various forums where I have both given and received help.


Thanks so much for your help!

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, a couple of notes:

  • OEM installations of Windows are never "clean" - the contain a bunch of middleware that alters how Windows works. I've personally never had the worst luck with MSI and Alienware OEM installations and VR and always install a clean image as the first step towards administrating a new PC, regardless of usecase. 
  • I would never ever recommend using a 3rd  driver installer, especially for GPU drivers with the sole exception of using DDDU to uninstall older display drivers. This is a pretty good way to cripple a PC. 
    • Driver Easy is especially controversial in the PC community (and widely regarded as scamware). I'd recommend reading up on it. 
  • What are the lines with SteamVR's log that relate to this? It should point to where to begin looking. 
    • This is often the best way to troubleshoot compositor issues. 
  • Have you tried HDMI? Displayport is a very loose standard at best and HDMI is just all around more standardized.
    • As the first step of troubleshooting, I always recommend plugging the HDMI and USB leads from the 3-in-1 cable directly into the GPU/MB while keeping power going through the linkbox. This really helps with HDCP errors. 
  • Do you have multiple monitors? This can definitely cause these type of IPC errors. 
  • SteamVR itself is a Valve technology; we're responsible for the hardware portion. You may have similar SteamVR compositor issues other HMDs, even Oculus Rift when using the OpenVR integration.
  • It always helps to ensure that your Nvidia GPU is set as the default with the control panel (see below).
  • I would not equate "sheet specs" with actual performance. Powerful hardware is meaningless if there are OS or BIOS issues that prevent you from actually using that power.
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Hello David:  I appreciate the rapid and detailed response, thanks very much!  The good news is that I actually got past the Compositor error by rolling back the GTX 1080 driver to the 5/22/18 version from the most recent version (I believe it's this month).  Your other tips make sense and are greatly appreciated, although I do have a couple of follow-ups;


Regarding DriverEasy:  I agree with you in general, although there are a couple of reasons I used DriverEasy.  One is sheer laziness...with my last gaming PC (Asus ROG), it was a pain to keep drivers updated.  And the fact is that DriverEasy did fix the Compositor issue on my Asus when it happened there.  But your point is well taken, I'll be careful about this going forward.  One potentially troubling note:  when I start SteamVR, it throws an attention message saying my GPU driver is out of date with an install link.  It's working now so I'm afraid to upgrade it after the hours I spent fixing the original issue...is there any specific advantage to the new 1080 driver?


Regarding HDMI using DisplayPort:  I've seen posts advocating both on these forums, but the vast majority of them seem to support using DP.  I use a DP to mini-DP cable for the Vive linkbox, again on the advice of these forums.  It's working now so I don't want to change anything, but if it happens again I will try HDMI.


Regarding the Compositor issue:  It seems to me that the SteamVR/Vive system could handle this error better.  For one thing, the original error includes a Launch Compositor link that does nothing (as I'm sure you're aware).  There are a myriad of posts throughout these forums advocating "magical" fixes (unplugging and replugging cables in a certain order, restarting at certain times, etc.).  Surely there must be a better way...perhaps a series of discrete diagnostic steps that Vive users can perform to troubleshoot the exact nature of the issue, maybe an automated debug script/utility that can be run, etc.?  I for one would have paid big $$$ for such a utility in a heartbeat at 4am the other night when I was still trying to debugging this thing.  Food for thought :)  


Thanks again, I really appreciate the help!



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