Windows 11 and Windows 10 work on the Steam Deck now that Valve has officially released drivers for Microsoft’s OS . it isn’t as simple as hitting a download button, though. during this guide, we’re visiting show you how to install Windows on the Steam Deck, both to the interior solide-state drive (SSD) and from a microSD card.
Windows isn’t perfect on the Steam Deck, but installing the OS (or booting from it with a microSD card) can help turn the Steam Deck into a laptop replacement. We’re visiting show you to do a full installation to the SSD, also as how to boot to Windows from a microSD card. The latter will keep the first SteamOS install intact.
Before diving in, confine mind that Windows 11 isn’t technically supported on the Steam Deck. Windows 11 requires TPM, and therefore the Steam Deck doesn’t have that enabled. you’ll still install Windows 11 with the instructions below, but you’ll not receive Windows updates.
Boot from a microSD card or USB drive
Before actually installing Windows on the Steam Deck, i like to recommend you boot from a microSD card or USB drive first. this is often completely reversible, so you’ll try out Windows without erasing anything on your Steam Deck. Windows isn’t perfect on the Steam Deck, and reinstalling SteamOS may be a big task on its own.
I’m employing a microSD card, but any UHS-1 microSD card (check the label) or USB 3.0 drive with a minimum of 32GB of storage will work. The Steam Deck supports Windows 10 and Windows 11, and therefore the process is the same regardless of which OS you use. I’m using Windows 10 here.
Step 1: Head to Microsoft’s website and download the Windows 10 media creation tool. If you would like to use Windows 11, download the Windows 11 creation tool (under Create Windows 11 installation media).
Step 2: Download Rufus, which is what is going to allow you to create a bootable version of Windows on your microSD card or USB drive.
Step 3: Download the Windows drivers for Steam Deck from Valve. Put all of them in a folder together on a spare USB drive for access later.
Step 4: Open the Windows Media Creation Tool and choose Create installation media. On the subsequent page, choose ISO file, and choose an area to store it on your PC. Wait until the method is done, and ensure to keep a note about where you stored the ISO.
Step 5: connect your microSD card or USB drive and open Rufus. Note: Continuing here will erase all data on your microSD card/USB drive. In Rufus, select your microSD card or USB drive under Device. Then, choose Select next to the Boot selection section. Navigate to your Windows ISO that you simply created earlier.
Under Image option, select Windows to travel . Then, choose MBR under Partition scheme. Rename the drive if you would like , and choose Ready to start the flashing process.
Step 6: Once it’s done, eject the microSD card and insert it within the Steam Deck. close up your Steam Deck completely, then hold down the Volume down button as your power it on. this may enter the boot manager.
Step 7: Select your SD card else into Windows. it’ll boot in portrait mode on the Steam Deck.
Windows doesn’t actually install here, so proceed through the setup process as normal by selecting your language, keyboard layout, etc. A keyboard and mouse help plenty here, but you’ll get through setup with just the touchscreen.
Step 8: Once you’re in Windows, head to Settings > System > Display and find the Display orientation option. Select Landscape to flip the screen to the right orientation.
Step 9: Finally, connect your USB drive that you stored the Windows drivers on. Plug it in using your USB-C hub (not directly into the Steam Deck) and install the drivers.
That’s it. once you reboot your Steam Deck, it’ll go back to SteamOS, but you’ll always boot into Windows provided you go through the boot manager.
Don’t misunderstanding this process with dual booting. The Steam Deck doesn’t support dual booting at the instant , so you will need to choose either Windows or SteamOS if you want a permanent solution.
How to install Windows on the Steam Deck’s SSD
If you would like Windows only on the Steam Deck, you’ll install directly to the SSD. you will need to erase all of the data on the SSD to do so, though, including your games, settings, and SteamOS itself.
It’s possible to revive SteamOS on the Steam Deck, but it is a bit of a hassle. If you only want to experiment with Windows, use the tactic above. If you’re willing to dive into the complete experience and don’t mind deleting your data, continue on.
Step 1: to start out , you would like to create a Windows installation drive. We outline the way to do that in our guide on how to install Windows 11, but the method is straightforward.
Download the Windows media creation tool and make an installer on your USB drive. you will need a USB drive with at least 16GB of storage, but the tool will walk you thru the steps otherwise.
Step 2: Power down your Steam Deck completely and connect your USB drive with a USB hub. Although you’ll connect the drive directly, I strongly recommend connecting it with a USB-C hub to avoid any issues. A keyboard and mouse are good for installation, too, and a USB-C hub will allow you to attach those peripherals.
Step 3: Power on the Steam Deck while holding the quantity down button to enter the boot manager. Select your USB drive with the Windows installer to continue.