How to Fix HTC Vive SteamVR Failed to Initialize Error 109 and Compositor Not Available 400 Error

HTC Vive SteamVR Error 109 & Error 400 Fix

HTC Vive SteamVR Failed to Initialize Error 109 and Compositor Not Available 400 Error

In this article, we are going to guide you how you can fix SteamVR Failed to Initialized for unknown reasons (Error: Not Initialized (109)) and Compositor is not available (400) errors. Both the Error 109 and Error 400 appear together as they are linked with each other. SteamVR fail to initialize because it cannot find Compositor and according to the error description,

How to Fix Error 109: Failed to Initialize

How to Fix Error 400: Compositor Not Available


You’ll need this to run SteamVR to work correctly

Compositor is not available

Error Indication

If you are unable to get video in your HMD even after

  • You have connected everything and followed the instructions on how to setup SteamVR.
  • All of the boxes in the SteamVR are green.
  • Steam Big Picture has loaded on your PC’s main screen.
  • You see Launch Compositor button but it is disabled (nothing happens when you click on it).

It means that you have encountered these two errors.

See also: How to Fix HTC Vive Tracking Issue

Cause of Error

Both the SteamVR Failed to Initialize Error 109 and Compositor Not Available Error 400 occur due to primary and secondary display settings inside your system. For instance, you have plugged your main monitor in HDMI port on integrated graphics, and now you are trying to connect your HMD to your GPU via HDMI port.

You should connect HMD on the same card on which you have your primary display.

How to fix SteamVR Failed to Initialize (Error 109) and Compositor Not Available (400)

If you have single monitor or display unit

  1. If you have a single monitor, make sure that the monitor and the HTC Vive should be connected on the same card.
  2. Plug the monitor using DVI port. If your monitor has only HDMI port, buy a HDMI-to-DVI converter plug and then plug it to your GPU.
  3. Plug the HTC Vive using HDMI port on your graphics card.
  4. Make sure if the system you are using is running on battery, it is set to Maximum Performance mode instead of Balanced or Battery Saver
  5. Navigate to Steam\config and delete “steamvr.settings” file in the folder.
  6. Uninstall and reinstall SteamVR.
  7. Update your GPU drivers to the latest version available from the manufacturer.
  8. Restart your system.

If you have multiple monitors or multiple GPUs

In case you have an SLI setup and have more than 1 display unit, follow the steps below to solve the Compositor not available error. Note that this guide is only for Nvidia users.

    1. Plug your secondary display unit(s) on 2nd or 3rd card.
    2. Plug your main display unit on 1st card using DVI port.
    3. Plug your HMD on 1st card using HDMI port.
    4. Open Nvidia control panel by right clicking on Nvidia Geforce Experience icon in system tray and clicking on Open Nvidia Control Panel.

      Nvidia Control Panel tray
      Nvidia Control Panel
    5. On the left, under 3D Settings, click on Manage 3D settings

      Nvida Manage 3D Settings
      Nvida Manage 3D Settings
    6. On the right you will see few options
      1. Select a program to customize – select SteamVR. If it is not in the list, click on Add button and browse to the location of the exe file. Add all the SteamVR apps like Compositor, Server etc.
      2. Select preferred graphics processor for this program – select your 1st GPU in which you have plugged in your main monitor and HTC Vive.

        3D settings select program
    7. Repeat Step 6 for vrserver.exe as well.
    8. Open Start menu and type Control Panel. Click on the first search result to open Control Panel.

      Windows 10 Control Panel
      Windows 10 Control Panel
    9. Click on Appearance and Personalization option.
    10. Click on Display option.

      Control Panel Display menu
      Control Panel Display menu
    11. On left sidebar, click on Change display settings.
    12. Now you will see monitors here which are plugged into your system. Click on the 1st display unit that you plugged into your 1st card in Step 1.
    13. You will see a checkbox Make this my main display. Check it.

      primary display

If all else fails, you need to send your system report to HTC. If you don’t know how, you can follow our guide on how to send system report to SteamVR mailing list.


Leave a Reply
  1. Not helpful. I have a laptop with a GTX 1070 which means there is no option to change which GPU to use in the control panel as there is only one, and since there’s only one it’s not possible to have the HMD and monitor plugged into different cards.

    • As our test machine is a desktop, we weren’t able to replicate the same error on a laptop and then try fixing it. However, after going through steam forums, there are plenty of ways people have fixed this problem on a laptop. For one, just try this – Go to Nvidia control panel, manage 3d settings, program settings, and add all of the SteamVR apps (Compositor, Server). After this, SteamVR should run fine. These apps defaulted to the integrated Intel graphics instead of dedicated graphics card (1070 in your case) which causes the 109 error.

    • Chris, I have a GTX 1080 and what worked for me is to uninstall all Nvidia drivers and software, and remove the NVIDIA lines from the registry. If nothing else works, try that.

  2. I’ve had the same issue, but my solution ended up being different. I found that by removing ALL nvidia drivers and software, then restarting the machine, VOILA! Thank you so much though, this post actually helped bring me to the conclusion it was software related / driver related. Assuming the Game Ready drivers that get put out every other day the likely culprit. Vive on!

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