The Oculus Quest 2 may be the best virtual reality headset you can buy at the moment—it’s self-contained, powerful, easy to use, and relatively affordable. Perhaps the only drawback is you need a Facebook account to use it.
Unlike several more expensive alternatives, to play Oculus Quest 2 games you don’t have to be tethered to a PC, which means you can roam free without the restriction of wires and take the headset just about anywhere you like. But this portability does have its trade-offs, the main one being you don’t get the levels of performance and graphics quality you do with VR headsets that run from a computer.
To bridge that gap, there’s the Oculus Link software. It runs on your Windows PC and streams games to your Oculus Quest 2, giving you access to more advanced titles on the device. The platform allows you to game wirelessly through your Wi-Fi connection, but if you prefer a more stable experience, you can connect your Oculus to your PC via a USB 3.0 cable. The choice is yours.
First of all, you need to check that your Windows computer meets the system requirements for Oculus Link. You need at least an Intel i5-4590 or AMD Ryzen 5 1500X processor, 8GB or more of RAM, and a supported graphics card. The platform supports most Nvidia and AMD GPUs, but not all of them.
Once you make sure you have the necessary hardware, it’s time to download and install the Oculus app on your Windows PC. It’s the same software whether you’re using a wired or wireless connection, and most of the setup process is the same as well. You’ll just need to plug in the cable at the appropriate point if you want to use one.
It’s also worth double-checking that you’re running the most recent version of the Oculus Quest 2 software for best results. From the main interface screen, choose Quick Settings, Settings, and About. If an update is available, you’ll be able to install it.
Making the link
If you’ve already set up your Oculus Quest 2 then we’re assuming you have a Facebook account that you’ve registered your device with. Use these credentials to log into the Oculus app on your computer.
During the setup process, you’ll need to choose a headset. Pick the Quest 2 and follow the instructions. If you have already been through the installation process inside the app, you can set up your headset later by choosing Add Headset from the Devices screen.
To register your Oculus Quest 2, you’ll need to connect it to your PC with a USB cable, whether or not you’re planning to use one while gaming. Oculus makes its own $79 cable for the job but any good-quality USB 3.0 cable will do. Just make sure you’re using a USB 3.0 port on your PC.
On your headset, you’ll see a couple of messages: Click Allow on Allow access to data and Enable on Enable Oculus Link, and the setup process will then redirect you to the main Oculus VR interface. To get back to the Quest 2 interface, choose Disable Oculus Link from the main navigation bar. If you can’t see it, press the Oculus button on your controller.
The Oculus Link setup process puts you in the main Oculus interface when it’s finished, so you can start browsing for new games and play them on your headset. You can also browse for and install games through the Oculus program on your computer.
To get back to this interface later, you can plug your Oculus Quest 2 into your computer, fire up the Oculus application in Windows, and then choose Enable inside your VR headset. Alternatively, if you miss the Enable prompt, you can pick Quick Settings and then Oculus Link.
Going wireless is easy, but at the time of writing, this type of connection option is a bit more experimental, so you may notice a few bugs and some instability. From inside the Oculus Quest 2, pick Quick Settings, Settings, Experimental Features, and enable Air Link. If you’re setting things up on your PC, open the Oculus software and choose Settings and Beta, and enable Air Link.
You should then be able to connect your devices by selecting Oculus Air Link from the Quick Settings pane inside your Oculus Quest 2 headset. If there are problems with the connection, check the troubleshooting tips that appear on the screen.
Choose Oculus Air Link from the main navigation bar to adjust the streaming quality, or to exit the interface and go back to the standard Oculus Quest 2 home screen.
You can find more settings, including refresh rates and whether your VR audio plays on your headset or on your computer, by selecting your Oculus Quest 2 from the Devices screen in the Windows app.