The Steam Deck is technically a PC and as such some (particularly players) are going to need to use the machine as a full-blown Windows gaming PC. In this publish, we are going to stroll you thru the steps on how to install Windows 11 on Steam Deck so that you will be in a position to run all of your Windows PC video games or simply do another non-gaming-related duties.
Can you dual-boot SteamOS and Windows 11?
Dual booting is difficult and may trigger storage points due to the Steam Deck’s restricted onerous drive capability, particularly on the entry-level 64GB mannequin. Windows 11 alone requires about 20GB of storage, and SteamOS requires about 10GB minimal disk area, so this isn’t a sensible choice. Instead of dual-booting, you possibly can install and run Windows 11 from a microSD card on Steam Deck.
Read: Change Mac trackpad scrolling route in Windows Dual Boot setup
How to install Windows 11 on Steam Deck
(*11*)There are unofficial procedures for dual-booting Windows 11 and SteamOS on the Steam Deck, which is difficult and may lead to storage points, and due to this fact not really useful. However, till Valve releases its official methodology for dual-booting, you possibly can install and run Windows 11 from a microSD card on Steam Deck. The caveat right here is that you’ll want two separate microSDs (one to your typical SteamOS video games and a 2nd for Windows).
We will focus on the subject of how to install and run Windows 11 from a microSD card on Steam Deck underneath the next subheadings:
- Download Windows 11/10 ISO picture
- Create a bootable microSD card drive
- Download Steam Deck drivers for Windows
- Install Windows 11 on Steam Deck
- Install Steam Deck drivers for Windows
- Switching between SteamOS and Windows
Let’s delve into the small print.
Before you start, the next are the prerequisite:
- Windows 11/10 PC for downloading/creating the Windows ISO picture.
- MicroSD (128GB or bigger) relies upon on what you propose to install underneath Windows. In my opinion, a 128GB (or bigger that could be a U3/A2 for higher efficiency).
- 7-Zip or another file compression software program.
- Steam Deck.
- USB-C Dock, USB Keyboard & Mouse (really useful) – You can use the D-Pad and buttons on the Steam Deck if wanted. However, it’s a lot simpler with an exterior dock linked.
2] Download Windows 11 ISO picture
Once you could have ticked all of the bins for the conditions talked about above, now you can proceed to obtain the Windows 11 ISO picture file immediately from the Microsoft official website, or you should use the Media Creation Tool by following the directions on this information.
Read: Download Windows 11/10 ISO Image immediately in Chrome or Edge
3] Create a bootable microSD card drive
Next, should you presently have any extra exterior storage units linked to your laptop, disconnect them to keep away from unintended imaging to the incorrect drive, then comply with the directions within the information on how to install Windows 11 from microSD Memory Card to create a bootable microSD card or you should use Rufus. If putting in Windows 11, be certain to choose the next choices:
- Disable knowledge assortment (Skip privateness questions)
- Prevent Windows to go from accessing inside disks
- Remove requirement for Secure Boot and TPM 2.0
Read: How to create a Windows Bootable USB on Linux or Mac
4] Download Steam Deck drivers for Windows
Next, obtain all of the drivers listed at help.steampowered.com/en/faqs underneath the Windows Drivers part to a folder on your PC’s native drive.
By now, the Windows picture creation has accomplished, click on the CLOSE button to shut Rufus after which do the next:
- In File Explorer, copy all of the drivers you simply downloaded and create a brand new folder within the root of the microSD card drive and paste the drivers.
- Next, choose all of the .zip recordsdata from the obtain, right-click and choose 7-zip > Extract Here.
- Once the extraction is completed, you possibly can safely eject the microSD card from the Windows PC.
Read: No machine drivers had been discovered error throughout Windows Setup
5] Install Windows 11 on Steam Deck
Now, to install Windows 11 on Steam Deck, proceed as follows:
- Press the Steam button, and choose Power > Shutdown to energy off your Steam Deck.
- Next, take away any microSD card and insert the brand new Windows microSD card you simply created.
If you could have a dock and keyboard/mouse, you might have considered trying to join it at the moment for a better setup expertise.
- Next, maintain the Volume down after which press the Power button to flip on the Steam Deck
- From the Boot Manager, use the D-pad/keyboard arrow keys to spotlight the microSD after which press A/Enter to choose the bootable media.
- Windows will now boot up.
- After Windows boots, you’ll now have to full the all too acquainted OOBE (Out-Of-Box Experience).
Once accomplished Windows is now put in on Steam Deck! However, you’ll want a license key to activate Windows 11/10 on your Steam Deck.
Read: How to install Windows 11 with out an Internet Connection
6] Install Steam Deck drivers for Windows
Next, now you can proceed to install all of the drivers you downloaded in 4] above. Once accomplished Windows is now totally put in with the official Steam Deck drivers! Now, you possibly can verify for Windows updates and install all out there bits on the machine. You can now additionally install any extra Windows apps you need on your Steam Deck!
In addition, you possibly can install the SWICD driver to make Windows deal with your Steam Deck as a sport controller with out the necessity to use Steam in any respect. This is a brand new driver out there at github.com that makes the copy of Windows that you simply’ve put in on the Steam Deck acknowledge the Deck as an precise gaming controller with none want for Steam or different third-party applications. With the motive force working, Windows ‘thinks’ that an precise Xbox controller has been bodily plugged into the “computer” that it’s working on. This eliminates the necessity to add the Windows copy of any sport executable file to Steam as a non-Steam sport, no taking part in by means of Steam, and no want to even install Steam. All you want do is launch the sport — the sport, like Windows, now acknowledges the Steam Deck as an precise Steam gaming controller which now presents you with dialogs like Press the B button to exit, as a substitute of Press ESC to exit.
You can flip on/off SWICD at any time, and you may customise this system format per your requirement, together with saving particular layouts for particular video games. Furthermore, you possibly can change the L and R triggers, and assign capabilities to the STEAM and again buttons. The config is saved in your paperwork folder.
Read: Steam Games No sound or audio on Windows 11/10
7] Switching between SteamOS and Windows
You can now simply change between SteamOS and Windows on the machine by following these steps:
Boot into Windows
- Shut down the Steam Deck.
- Once powered off, insert the microSD card Windows is put in on.
- Next, press and maintain the Volume down button, then press the facility button and launch.
- Now, choose the microSD (EFI SD/MMC Card choice, or comparable) from the Boot Manager for Windows to boot.
Boot into SteamOS
- Shutdown Windows.
- Once Windows shuts down and powers off the Steam Deck, you possibly can take away the microSD with Windows.
- If you could have a microSD formatted to be used with the Steam Deck, you possibly can insert it now.
- Next, energy on the Steam Deck by urgent the Power button.
It’s far simpler to use a Bluetooth/USB keyboard, however typically that will not be sensible. However, whereas working Windows on your Steam Deck, you possibly can carry out the next capabilities:
- Easily transfer the mouse cursor on the right-touch pad.
- Use the correct/left set off button for the mouse’s proper/left click on.
- To entry the Virtual Keyboard, faucet Settings > Devices > Typing and allow the choice Show the contact keyboard when not in pill mode and there’s no keyboard hooked up choice. You may have to use the contact display to carry up the keyboard reasonably than the touchpad+click on.
Read subsequent: Play Windows video games on Steam Deck with Steam Proton
Should I install Windows on my Steam Deck?
If most of your video games do work immediately, or solely want a unique model of proton to run, is best to stick with SteamOS. Ultimately, this relies on your choice for gaming units. On the opposite hand, Steam Deck is extremely reasonably priced when put next to an excellent half-decent desktop gaming PC or laptop computer. If you need to get into good-quality PC gaming, the Steam Deck is the most affordable approach to do it.