What you need to know
- Valve knows a lot of people want to turn their Steam Deck into a portable Windows device.
- It has WiFi, GPU, and Bluetooth drivers available right now explicitly designed to help optimize your Windows-on-Deck experience.
- Audio drivers aren't ready yet, but they're coming.
Valve is well aware putting Windows on Steam Deck is a priority for many users, and it's keen on helping them in the endeavor. That's why Windows drivers are now available for download.
Currently, three types of drivers are live: WiFi, GPU, and Bluetooth. Audio drivers are still in the works but are on the way, according to Valve. Due to them not being available yet, "speakers and the 3.5mm audio port will not provide audio." That means you'll have to go with USB-C or Bluetooth for audio until AMD and co. get the drivers ready to go.
As for the state of dual-booting, here's what Valve has to say: "While Steam Deck is fully capable of dual-boot, the Steam OS installer that provides a dual-boot wizard isn't ready yet. This will ship alongside SteamOS 3 once it's complete." That means for now you'll have to wipe your Deck if you want Windows. Furthermore, only Windows 10 installation is currently supported. An upcoming BIOS update will make Decks friendlier to Windows 11, but for now, you'll have to settle for the second-newest operating system from Microsoft.
If you're wondering where you can actually download the aforementioned Deck drivers, the answer is: Directly from Valve. That hyperlink will take you right to the page with the links for each driver.
Valve also has recovery instructions available in the event you attempt to put Windows on your Deck and somehow bork the device.
Robert Carnevale is the News Editor for Windows Central. He's a big fan of Kinect (it lives on in his heart), Sonic the Hedgehog, and the legendary intersection of those two titans, Sonic Free Riders. He is the author of Cold War 2395. Have a useful tip? Send it to firstname.lastname@example.org.
While it's still not all the needed Windows drivers, and they're still not offering to ship it with Windows pre-installed, I definitely take this as a good sign. I'm cautiously optimistic that those of us who have been particularly vocal about the way Valve came out against MS with the original launch have helped encourage Valve to turn from the dark path they were treading and back to the light. :-) They're not there yet, but they seem to be turning in the right direction. I'll be watching hopefully.
This was a big deal to me because whether I complete my order of my Steam Deck hinges on how Windows runs on it. My library compatibility is quite low with Steam OS.
For anyone who wants to see tests of Windows on the Steam Deck, check out ThePhawx on YouTube or the Steam Deck Reddit. Also, right now UWP games have issues due to the Steam controller setup built into the Deck.
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