Oculus releases fix after worldwide blackout
The good news is that it’s fixable. But it probably shouldn’t have happened in the first place, reports HAYDEN DINGMAN
If you want a hint of how fragile our tech-reliant world is, look no further than the Oculus Rift. Rift owners the world over recently discovered that their £399 virtual reality headset had become a paperweight overnight – at least temporarily.
It seems as though Oculus forgot (?) to issue an updated Windows certificate, the security feature that
confirms that, yes, Oculus’s software is actually Oculus’s software. As Microsoft’s decade-old primer puts it, “Digital certificates function similarly to identification cards such as passports and drivers’ licenses.” That’s a pretty good analogy.
When the certificate expired, Windows stopped recognizing Oculus Runtime Service and thus stopped allowing it to run – for good reason, I might add. As the end user though, this manifests as a pretty opaque ‘Can’t reach Oculus Runtime Service’ error.
On the plus side, it’s a relatively easy fix. According to Oculus: ”To patch your Oculus software, you’ll need to download ‘OculusPatchMarch2018.exe’ at
fave.co/2HwSMxN. Run the executable, and select ‘Repair’. When the update is finished, launch the Oculus desktop app to continue the update process. Once the update is complete, you’ll be able to use your Rift.”
On the other hand, this should not have happened. Windows certificates are a basic part of modern software, and it’s embarrassing for a company as big as Oculus – with the backing of Facebook – to let this happen. It’s understandable, and as Reddit user TrefoilHat pointed out, Oculus’s certificate was generated in 2015 prior to the Rift’s actual public release, when the company was a lot more rough and tumble than it is now. But it’s still embarrassing.