How to Install Windows on Steam Deck - A Comprehensive Guide

November 3, 2023 928 views

As a gamer, you always wish to expand your Steam Deck's capabilities. Conflicting information on the internet can help you understand how to install Windows for advanced Steam Deck capabilities. How do I install Windows on a Steam Deck? Will it affect my games and saves? What are the steps for this process? The following article will provide you with a Windows 11 clean install guide.

What Is a Steam Deck?

A Steam Deck is a cutting-edge handheld gaming device running on SteamOS, a Linux-based operating system.

Its features include A powerful custom AMD APU with a quad-core Zen 2 CPU RDNA 2 GPU, delivering smooth gameplay, Stunning graphics on its 7-inch touchscreen display, 16GB of LPDDR5 RAM, multitasking and resource-intensive gaming is a breeze,

Users can access their extensive Steam library and other platforms like Epic Games Store and GOG. Storage options range from 64GB eMMC to 512GB NVMe SSD for faster loading times. Prices start at $370, making it an attractive portable gaming solution with extensive capabilities.

Should I install Windows on my Steam Deck?

Yes! Install Windows on your Steam Deck. Windows can be a better option on your Steam Deck because it provides access to a broader range of PC games and enables compatibility with Windows-exclusive games and applications. Additionally, it has the potential to use services like Xbox Game Pass for additional gaming options and offers more versatility as it's a full-fledged PC OS.

Installing Windows on Steam Deck is advantageous because it allows access to a broader range of games and applications, has high compatibility with Windows-exclusive titles and services like Game Pass, has greater versatility for non-gaming tasks, and provides you with a familiar Windows user experience.

However, expect increased storage requirements due to the more extensive OS, Potential for decreased battery life during gaming, and a need for more powerful hardware in the long term.

Preparation for the Clean Installation of Windows on Steam Deck

Below are system requirements and tips you need to clean and install Windows 11 without losing data;

System Requirements

A USB drive with a minimum of 16GB storage (preferably USB 3 for faster installation).

A USB-C to USB-A hub with at least three USB-A ports.

A wired USB mouse and a wired USB keyboard.

Fully updated Steam Deck to ensure compatibility.

Internet connection for downloading necessary files.

Installation Tips:

Ensure your Steam Deck is fully charged, or use a powered USB hub/dock.

Keep the Steam Deck updated to install Windows 11.

Be prepared for SteamOS to be replaced by Windows during the installation process.

Dual-booting is an option, but it comes with its complexities.

Use a USB 3 drive for faster installation.

Verify compatibility of your hub/dock with Steam Deck.

Sometimes, you may need clarification about installing Windows 10 or 11 for your Windows. Let’s compare the two versions and see which could be your best option.

Windows 10 features

It is a well-established and stable operating system.

It's a solid choice for gamers who prioritize stability and compatibility with a wide range of games, including older titles and those with anti-cheat systems that may not fully support Windows 11.

It offers good performance and can be a reliable platform for gaming.

Windows 11 features

Introduces a more modern and visually appealing user interface with enhanced touch controls.

It suits gamers who value a sleeker design and optimized touch features.

Some newer games and technologies may be better supported on Windows 11,

It offers better tablet mode support.

We advise you to choose either Windows OS based on your preferences. Choose Windows 10 if you prioritize stability, compatibility with older games, or have concerns about anti-cheat support.

Opt for Clean install Windows 11 without losing data if you prefer a more modern interface, improved touch controls, and plan to play newer titles designed with Windows 11 in mind. However, be aware of potential compatibility issues with some games and software.

Easiest Way to Install Windows on Steam Deck (Step-by-Step) (How to install using SD)

Below is a step-by-step guide for cleaning and installing Windows 11. Let’s get started.

Process 1: Create a Windows ISO File

Step 1: Visit Microsoft's Windows installation media downloads page, select "Windows 11" or "Windows 10," and click ‘Download’ the Media Creation Tool.

Step 2: Run the Media Creation Tool, accept the license terms, and click on ‘Recommended options for this PC.’

Step 3: On the next dialog window, choose the "ISO File" option and click the ‘Next’ button. This will help you decide where to save your ISO File.

Process 2:Install Windows on the SD Card

Step 1: Download and run Rufus, a handy tool to create bootable USB or SD card drives

Step 2: Insert your microSD card into the reader and open Rufus.

Step 3: In Rufus, select your microSD card under "Device" and choose "Disk or ISO Image" under "Boot Selection."

Click "Select" and locate the Windows 11 ISO file.

Step 4: Choose "Windows To Go" under "Image Option" and name your SD card in the ‘Volume label box’.

Step 5: Click "Start" to create the bootable SD card.

Step 6: Follow the prompts, select your Windows version,

Step 7: Enable recommended options are shown below.

Step 9: Finally, click the ‘OK’ button on the warning window and wait for Rufus to complete the process.

Process 3: Get the Steam Deck Windows Drivers

Step 1: Download all six Steam Deck Windows drivers from Valve's Steam Deck Windows Resources page.

Step 2: Extract the driver archives into a single folder.

Step 3: Create a new folder on the root of your microSD card and copy the six-driver folders into it.

Process 4: Boot Using the SD Card and Install Windows

Step 1: Turn off the Steam Deck.

Step 2: Insert the microSD card into the Steam Deck's microSD card slot.

Step 3: Hold the volume down button and press the power button, then release both buttons when you hear a sound.

Step 4: In the boot selection menu, choose your microSD card and wait for Windows to boot.

Step 5: Follow the Windows setup process, select the desired options, and skip the internet connection setup.

Step 6: Change the screen orientation to landscape.

Process 5: Install the Necessary Drivers

Step 1: Install the first two drivers from the "Aerith Windows Driver" and "BayHub_SD_STOR_install" folders by running the "Setup" executable files.

Step 2: Install the first audio driver by right-clicking the "cs35I41" file and selecting "Install."

Step 3: Install the second audio driver by right-clicking the "NAU88L21" file and selecting "Install."

Step 4: Double-clicking the "InstallDriver" file to install the Bluetooth driver.

Step 5: Install the Wi-Fi driver by double-clicking the "Install" file with the "Windows Batch File" type.

Step 6: Now, you can continue setting up Windows 11 on your Steam Deck as desired.

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1. Can you dual-boot Windows 11 on Steam Deck?

It’s technically possible but not yet an official option. It requires advanced technical knowledge and potentially risky procedures, so it's not recommended.

2. Will installing Windows on Steam Deck void the warranty?

Installing Windows on the Steam Deck may void the warranty, though Valve's official stance could be more apparent as of my last knowledge update in September 2021. To ensure warranty compliance, it's advisable to check Valve's current policies or contact their customer support for the most up-to-date information on Steam Deck modifications.

3. How long does Windows take to install on Steam Deck?

Installing Windows on a Steam Deck can take 20 minutes to an hour or more, depending on your internet speed.


This article provides a Windows 11 clean install guide on a Steam Deck, expanding its capabilities. We have discussed the benefits and considerations of using Windows, outlined system requirements, and provided a step-by-step guide for clean installing Windows 11. Be sure to use WPS Office on your Steam Deck. Its user-friendly interface, delicate templates, and compatibility for creating practical game guides.

15 years of office industry experience, tech lover and copywriter. Follow me for product reviews, comparisons, and recommendations for new apps and software.