How to connect a Windows Mixed Reality headset to your PC using adapters

HP WMR and cable
HP WMR and cable (Image credit: Windows Central)

WMR headsets connect to your PC via HDMI and USB-A 3.0, while the motion controllers use Bluetooth 4.0. Unfortunately, not all PCs have what it takes to connect, so adapters (often called dongles) are required. The adapter market is huge, and buying the first thing you see might not always turn out great. We put together this guide to help you get the right connection.

A Bluetooth adapter that works with Windows Mixed Reality

If your PC doesn't natively support Bluetooth 4.0, Microsoft recommends an adapter from Plugable. It's tiny, it plugs in through a USB-A port (best used with USB 2.0), and costs only about $14 (opens in new tab). There are internal solutions you can look at as well, but this adapter is by far the easiest way to get your WMR motion controllers connected.

See at Amazon (opens in new tab)

Display adapters that work with Windows Mixed Reality

If your PC only has DisplayPort, Mini DisplayPort, or USB-C, these adapters will help you get your WMR headset connected.

Plugable Mini DisplayPort to HDMI 2.0

This active adapter supports both 60Hz and 90Hz, plus it's available in both Mini DisplayPort and regular DisplayPort configurations. It costs only about $18 (opens in new tab) and will support 4K at 60Hz if you want to use it for other purposes than WMR.

See at Amazon (opens in new tab)

Surface Mini DisplayPort to HDMI 2.0

If you're using a Surface device with WMR, you might be interested in an adapter to match. This supports 60Hz and 90Hz, plus it can be used elsewhere at 4K to maintain a 60Hz refresh rate. It costs about $40 (opens in new tab).

See at Microsoft Store (opens in new tab)

Plugable USB-C to HDMI 2.0

Coming in at about $18 (opens in new tab), this adapter from Plugable takes the USB-C port on your PC and turns it into an HDMI 2.0 port. It works for both 60Hz and 90Hz, and can help you out elsewhere by offering 4K resolution at a 60Hz refresh rate.

See at Amazon (opens in new tab)

Plugable USB-C to USB-A adapter

Your WMR headset also requires a USB-A port to plug into, but newer laptops sometimes only come with USB-C. If this is the case, grab this adapter from Plugable (about $10) (opens in new tab). It plugs into the USB-C port on your PC and provides an input for USB-A.

See at Amazon (opens in new tab)

A powered USB 3.0 hub that works with Windows Mixed Reality

If your PC doesn't have enough USB 3.0 ports for all your peripherals and your WMR headset, you'll likely have to invest in a powered USB hub. That means it's plugged into a separate power source at all times.

Microsoft recommends the Plugable 10-port USB 3.0 hub (about $50) (opens in new tab) for WMR. It connects to a USB-A 3.0 port on your PC and offers up, as advertised, 10 USB-A ports. It comes with a 48W power adapter, and has a 4.4-star rating on Amazon with more than 2,650 reviews.

See at Amazon (opens in new tab)

Making sense of adapter compatibility

WMR PCs come in two flavors: devices that are considered "Ultra" and devices that are considered "regular."

Ultra PCs generally have dedicated graphics cards (GPU) and can reach 90 frames per second (FPS). PCs that run standard WMR have integrated GPUs that can achieve 60 FPS.

What is Windows Mixed Reality Ultra?

Figuring out which adapters work with what can be confusing. Microsoft thankfully created some handy tables (opens in new tab) that outline what adapters are required based on what ports your PC has. (You can click to enlarge the images below.)

Windows Mixed Reality

Windows Mixed Reality Ultra

More resources

If you're looking for more WMR content, we have it!

Cale Hunt
Senior Editor, Laptop Reviews

Cale Hunt is formerly a Senior Editor at Windows Central. He focuses mainly on laptop reviews, news, and accessory coverage. He's been reviewing laptops and accessories full-time since 2016, with hundreds of reviews published for Windows Central. He is an avid PC gamer and multi-platform user, and spends most of his time either tinkering with or writing about tech.

  • "How to connect MR to your Surface UM"..... Need some news.
  • You take a silver unicorn horn and stick it in the PiS port (Pie in the Sky Port), this is only after you go to the Microsoft Store and download the apps that will definitely be there.
  • I see we are all in Whiney Wednesday mode.
  • Are you 100% sure MS is not working on a new category defining Surface device?
  • Nope. It was a joke, but maybe an unfortunate reality?
  • One thing to note is that an older Mini DisplayPort to HDMI 1.4 adapter does not seem to work, even for non-"ultra" mixed reality. On my Surface Pro 2017, doing so (tried 2 different adapters) caused the screen to blank every few seconds and the headset to never display. Getting a new adapter that supported HDMI 2.0 fixed the issue.
  • Speaking of refresh rate for the WMR headsets, what is the maximum rate it supports? I mean, is the 90 FPS target halved between both eyes? I wonder because yesterday I saw a video of a guy trying an Assetto Corsa demo and it showed a max FPS of 45 as a custom benchmark.
  • Wait what's wmr ultra?
  • And me I'm still trying to find an answer to know if any WMR, AR or VR work for people with only one eye.  Nobody seems to want to answer that. I'm almost blind from one eye so anything that requires two eyes is a no no for me.
  • Can you try VR or MR in a store?
    What do you mean by "work"?
  • took 2 seconds to find this.
  • Is there a USB-C adapter that allows for playable use of WMR for the surface book 2?!?