Traditional desktop apps are coming to Windows Mixed Reality

Microsoft's Windows Mixed Reality isn't just for playing VR games—it's a platform for using applications with both VR and AR environments. Until now, you could only run UWP apps from the Microsoft Store in Mixed Reality, but that is finally changing. The latest Windows 10 Insider Preview build includes support for running traditional Win32 desktop programs inside of Mixed Reality.

"In this update, we added the ability to launch Desktop (Win32) applications (such as Spotify, Paint.NET, and Visual Studio Code) in Windows Mixed Reality," Microsoft said in a blog post. "To use this feature, bring up Pins Panel, then go to all apps, where you will find a folder named “Classic Apps (Beta)”. In this folder, you will be able to select and launch any Desktop (Win32) applications."

While I don't think very many people will want to run traditional desktop applications for extended periods of time, this is still a useful addition. For example, instead of first opening the Desktop application in Mixed Reality to get to Steam, you can now open Steam straight from the Pins Panel.

It's not clear at this point when the feature will arrive on regular Windows 10 builds, but at least you Mixed Reality headset owners out there have something exciting to look forward to.

Corbin Davenport

Corbin is a tech journalist, software developer, and longtime PC Gamer freelance writer, currently based in North Carolina. He now focuses on the world of Android as a full-time writer at XDA-Developers. He plays a lot of Planet Coaster and Fallout and hosts a podcast all about forgotten stories from tech history.