How to Install Windows 11 on Steam Deck

Microsoft Corporation has been giving the best Windows version for years; the recent version is Windows 11, which is quite amazing for touchscreen devices and consoles. Installing Windows 11 OS on your Steam Deck will provide full access to the Steam games library, which is not compatible with the traditional SteamOS that comes preinstalled. So eventually, you can convert your Steam Deck into a full-fledged PC or Laptop.

Steam Deck comes with a plethora of gaming options and is the prime choice for people who wish to have a gaming console. But it does not support many games as a traditional PC. But you will be surprised to know that Steam Deck can support both Windows 10 and Windows 11. In this guide, we will be working with Windows 11. The process is the same regardless of the version of Windows you will be installing. Follow the below guide to install Windows 11 on your Steam Deck.

How to Install Windows 11 on Steam Deck

How to Install Windows 11 on Steam Deck?

This guide will help you install Windows 11 through a microSD card or USB drive as well as through an SSD (Solid State Drive). Installing Windows 11 on a microSD card or USB drive will keep your SteamOS intact. The steps might be moderately tough and require more concentration.

If you miss steps or do not follow instructions carefully, your Steam deck might go into a boot loop. GetDroidTips will not be responsible for any damage or loss. Please proceed with the below steps at your own discretion.

Method 1: Booting Windows 11 from a microSD card or USB drive

It is recommended to install Windows 11 on your Steam Deck using a microSD card or USB drive before installing it on the main drive. If you don’t find Windows 11 compatible on your Steam deck, you can remove your microSD card or USB drive and return to your SteamOS. This will save you time and keep your device from breaking down unexpectedly, as installing SteamOS is a difficult and time-consuming task.

Note: Use a microSD card or USB drive with a storage capacity of at least 32 GB. If a USB drive is used, it is recommended to use USB 3.0 for faster performance.

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Step 1: Creating Bootable drive for Installation

  • Go to Google’s website. Search for “Create Windows 11 Installation Media” and click on the “Download Now” button.

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  • Once the tool is downloaded, launch the tool and accept the Windows license.
  • Go with the recommended settings.

  • Now Choose a USB drive or microSD card as per your preference. (In my case, it’s a microSD card.)

  • Click next; this will take a few moments to convert your microSD card or USB stick into a bootable drive.

Note: Make sure your microSD card or USB drive is plugged into your PC or laptop and is successfully detected by your system.

Step 2: Loading Steam Deck drivers on microSD

Before installing Windows 11 on Steam Deck, you need to ensure you have access to the working drivers. These drivers will help you set up Windows easily and keep all the essential services running, such as Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and other USB-related peripherals.

  • Go to Google’s website. Look up “Steam Deck window drivers.”

How to Install Windows 11 on Steam Deck

  • Navigate to “Steam Deck Windows Resource”; a new page will be opened.

How to Install Windows 11 on Steam Deck

  • Now download all the drivers listed here (APU driver, Wi-Fi driver, Bluetooth driver, SD card reader driver, audio drivers) by clicking the download button.
  • After all the files have been downloaded, unzip or extract all the files. (You can now delete the original files as per your choice.)
  • Now create a folder named “drivers” and move all the drivers into it.

  • Copy the folder named “drivers” and paste it into your micro-SD card or USB drive.
  • Finally, eject the micro-SD card or USB drive from your PC or laptop.

Step 3: Booting Windows 11 on Steam Deck

  • Hold the power button on your Steam Deck until the power menu appears.

How to Install Windows 11 on Steam Deck

  • When they do, press A and select Shutdown.
  • Now carefully place the microSD card on the bottom of the deck.

How to Install Windows 11 on Steam Deck

  • Now hold the volume down button and tap the power button until the boot menu appears.
  • Select the microSD card from the boot menu and press A to boot into the Windows 11; This will boot up windows in portrait mode.
  • Long press the screen once you’re on the main screen until a menu appears.

  • Click on “display settings.”

  • Navigate to “display orientation” and select landscape. Close all the windows, and let’s get started installing all the required drivers.

Step 4: Installing drivers ( Can be skipped during this method)

  • Go to the file explorer and select your microSD card, then navigate to the drivers folder.

How to Install Windows 11 on Steam Deck

  • One by one, install all the drivers; each driver has its own installer.
  • After all of your drivers have been installed, restart your Steam deck and you are ready to install your favourite game.

Note: As Windows 11 is booted from a microSD card, when the card is removed, you are moved to SteamOS. If you want to install it permanently, follow the second method below.

Method 2: Installing Windows 11 from microSD card or USB drive to Main drive (SSD)

If you want to install Windows 11 on your Steam Deck permanently, you can do so directly on the Deck’s main drive. This will erase all your personal data, including games, SteamOS, and other files, from your device. After you have installed Windows 11 on your deck, you can still roll back to SteamOS, but that would be a pretty hectic process. (Native dual booting is still not released yet.)

Note: Use a microSD card or USB drive with a storage capacity of at least 32 GB. If a USB drive is used, it is recommended to use USB 3.0 for faster performance.

The Steam Deck can support both Windows 10 and Windows 11. In this guide, we will be working with Windows 11. The process is the same regardless of the version of Windows you will be installing. Now, let’s move on to the steps:

Step 1: Creating Bootable drive for Installation

  • Go to Google’s website. Search for “Create Windows 11 Installation Media” and click on the “Download Now” button.
  • Once the tool is downloaded, launch the tool and accept the Windows license.
  • Go with the recommended settings.
  • Now Choose a USB drive or microSD card as per your preference. (In my case, it’s a microSD card.)
  • Click next; this will take a few moments to convert your microSD card or USB stick into a bootable drive.

Note: Make sure your microSD card or USB drive is plugged into your PC or laptop and is successfully detected by your system.

Step 2: Loading Steam Deck drivers on microSD

Before you install Windows 11 on Steam Deck, you need to make sure you have access to the working drivers. These drivers will help you to setup Windows easily and keep all the essential services running such as Wifi, Bluetooth and other USB related peripherals.

  • Go to Google’s website. Look up “Steam Deck window drivers.”
  • Navigate to “Steam Deck Windows Resource”; a new page will be opened.
  • Now download all the drivers listed here (APU driver, Wi-Fi driver, Bluetooth driver, SD card reader driver, audio drivers) by clicking the download button.
  • After all the files have been downloaded, unzip or extract all the files. (You can now delete the original files as per your choice.)
  • Now create a folder named “drivers” and move all the drivers into it.
  • Copy the folder named “drivers” and paste it into your micro-SD card or USB drive.
  • Finally, eject the micro-SD card or USB drive from your PC or laptop.

Step 3: Installing Windows 11 on Steam Deck

  • Hold the power button on your Steam Deck until the power menu appears.

  • When they do, press A and select Shutdown.
  • Now carefully place the microSD card on the bottom of the deck.

How to Install Windows 11 on Steam Deck

  • Now hold the volume down button and tap the power button until the boot menu appears.
  • Select the microSD card from the boot menu and press A to boot into the Windows installer. The screen will now flip into portrait mode.

  • Now, hit Next when the Windows Setup menu appears, and click on Install now.
  • When the next screen appears, select “I don’t have a product key.”

  • Select Windows 11 Pro from the list, or whatever version you prefer.
  • Accept the license agreement and tap Next.

  • On the next screen, choose “Custom Install.”

  • Finally, select all partitions one by one and click “delete.” This will delete all the partitions, leaving you with just “Drive 0 Unallocated Space.”
  • Now hit “New” to create Windows partitions on your empty drive.
  • When size appears, hit apply and press OK; Windows will create the partitions, and you are good to go.

How to Install Windows 11 on Steam Deck

  • Ultimately, hit next and wait for the installation to get completed.

Step 4: Setup Windows 11

Once the installation is complete, the Windows 11 setup window will appear on the screen. You may follow the below steps to configure the same:

  • Choose your country, language, and keyboard layout. (Skip the second keyboard layout.)

  • Select “I don’t have internet” (because we don’t have Wi-Fi drivers installed yet).

  • Select “Continue with Limited Setup.”
  • Enter your username and password and click on “next.” Windows 11 will now boot.
  • Long press the screen once you’re on the main screen until a menu appears.

  • Click on “display settings.” Navigate to “display orientation” and select landscape. Close all the windows, and let’s get started installing all the required drivers.

Step 5: Installing drivers

Once you have installed WIndows 11 on your Steam Deck, then you must install the available drivers to get the best experience. These include graphics drivers, sound drivers, Bluetooth and WLAN drivers, and much more.

  • Go to the file explorer, select your microSD card, and then navigate to the drivers folder.
  • One by one, install all the drivers; each driver has its own installer.
  • After all of your drivers have been installed, restart your Steam deck, and you are ready to install your favorite game.

Conclusion

This brings us to the end of this guide for installing Windows 11 on Steam Deck. Please note that the Deck was not designed to run a heavy OS such as Windows. So before you permanently install it, make sure to follow method one to check if you like the feel of Windows OS on your Steam Deck. And if everything seems fine, go ahead for a permanent installation via method 2.

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