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What is a VRMANIFEST file?
A VRMANIFEST file is a JSON file that contains metadata used to show and launch a StreamVR video game. It specifies the game's app key, launch type, name, and controller type, as well as where the game's SteamVR menu image is stored. Each SteamVR game has a VRMANIFEST file that contains metadata about just that game. SteamVR also uses an overarching VRMANIFEST file, named steamapps.vrmanifest, which contains metadata about all a user's games, including where those games' manifest files are stored.
SteamVR is a virtual reality gaming system that allows users to don a headset and handheld controllers and play interactive video games. Whenever SteamVR installs a game, it creates a VRMANIFEST file for that game. The VRMANIFEST file tells SteamVR how to launch the game, as well as what image to show when a player views the game in a SteamVR menu.
VRMANIFEST files are plain text files that contain JSON data. Each game's VRMANIFEST file contains the game's app_key, which SteamVR uses to identify the game, launch_type, which SteamVR uses to determine how it should load and launch the game, and name and image_path, which SteamVR uses to determine how the game appears in menus.
Steamapps.vrmanifest contains data used to keep track of and load each of your SteamVR games, including a reference to those games' action manifest. Action manifests are saved in files named actions.json within a game's installation folder, and they determine how a game's controls are mapped to your controller. If SteamVR tells you it cannot find a game's action manifest, it means the path referenced in your steamapps.vrmanifest file is invalid. Closing SteamVR, deleting steamapps.vrmanifest and the game's VRMANIFEST file, and then reopening SteamVR should fix this issue.
Common VRMANIFEST Filenames
steamapps.vrmanifest - SteamVR's overarching VRMANIFEST file. Usually located in C:/Program Files(x86)/Steam/config.
How to open a VRMANIFEST file
Typically, VRMANIFEST files are not meant to be opened. Editing a VRMANIFEST file may cause SteamVR to not be able to load the associated game(s) correctly. However, if necessary, you can manually open and edit a VRMANIFEST file in any text editor, such as Microsoft Notepad (Windows).