How to install Windows on the Steam Deck

Despite the long wait (which is still going on for many) the Steam Deck has come as a breath of fresh air for gamers, with a console that has surprised by its great power and enormous versatility. However, many users have already seen an even greater use of this machine, seeking greater customization of it.

And it is that in the case of a handheld PC, the possibilities are practically endless, being able to reconfigure the console from start to finish, both with new internal components, external components and extras, and even a complete reconfiguration of its software, being able to install Windows on the Steam Deck.

That said, although the installation process is quite simple and not very invasive for the console, our recommendation before making this change is that Let’s consider first if we really want to install this operating system.

Install Windows on Steam Deck… yes or no?

While the Steam Deck has turned out to be a really interesting machine when it comes to playing our games, with compatibility continuing to grow by leaps and bounds including everything from indie to AAA titles, it’s true that the Steam Deck version this custom SteamOS has some limitations compared to Windows.

Although for its part, the built-in system is based on Linux, the freest and most malleable operating system that exists, in fact this console is 100% optimized to get the most out of its hardware thanks to this software created specifically for it.

So the main reason to install Windows is none other than the great ease of use and its wide compatibilitybeing able to easily install and play any Steam game (including those initially not optimized), as well as other platforms such as the Epic Games Store, GOG, or even Xbox Game Pass.

And it is that equipped with a custom Aerith APU manufactured by AMD and 16 GB of RAM, once we install Windows on this machine, we will have enough support not only to have a complete experience for the operating system, but for practically all the functions that we would have on a conventional computer.

Thanks to its multiple ports we can turn this console into a fully functional small laptop. In addition, thanks to the presence of its USB-C, we can retransmit the screen through an HDMI using a dongle or directly through the Display Port protocol, allowing us to go from a portable to a desktop mode with great ease.

How to install Windows on Steam Deck

That said, it is worth mentioning the fact that we will not be able to install Windows on the same SSD hard drive where the SteamOS operating system is already installed. This means that our options for installing Windows on a Steam Deck depend on whether we delete the default system completely (a step that we can easily rectify if we want to go back), or use a different storage unit.

How to install Windows on Steam Deck

As we said, installing Windows will be a fairly simple process. And it is that after all, despite its console nomenclature, the Steam Deck is still a portable mini PC, so we will only have to follow the usual installation steps that we would follow on any conventional computer, just highlighting a couple of special details.

The first thing you we recommend for the installation is that you have a keyboard and mouse at hand, since they will allow us to carry out the process in a significantly more comfortable way. Although to be able to use them on the console we will need a USB-C HUB, since the USB-A will be occupied. Although if you do not have these peripherals, do not worry, since the entire process can also be done with the touch screen and touchpad of the Steam Deck itself.

The next thing we will need to prepare a USB with the Windows installersomething that we can do quickly and easily as we explain in this other tutorial.

Once ready, and with our Windows external drive connected to the Steam Deck, we will have to turn off the console. We will hold down the “Volume Up” buttons and the “Options” button (three points) and we will make a short press on the power button to restart the console in BIOS mode. From here, we will only have to navigate a bit and to the “Boot manager”, and select this external drive so that the Windows installation wizard will run when we start the console again.

How to install Windows on Steam Deck

After the reboot, the screen will go to portrait mode, and the Windows installation process will appear. As we anticipated before, we will only have to follow the steps indicated by the Windows wizard itself, with the only change that we will have to stop momentarily once we reach the point for the selection of the system location. And it is that if we finally opt for the installation of Windows on the default unit of the Steam Deck (or what is the same, overwrite SteamOS) the most recommended thing is that we take the opportunity to delete all the existing partitions to take advantage of all the disk space.

Configure the Steam Deck for optimal use with Windows

In the same way that it happened during the installation, the first time we start the console with Windows, we will see that the screen will be configured vertically. A detail that we can correct just by accessing the screen configuration of the system.

However, the most important thing once this process is finished, is download and install all the drivers of the Steam Deck, so that we can make normal use of all the functions of the console such as the gyroscope or the trackpads. Luckily, Valve itself has released the main Steam Deck drivers in its different sections.

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