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Steam Deck should be able to run Windows 11 at launch

Steam Deck
Steam Deck (Image credit: Valve)

What you need to know

  • Valve is working with AMD to make sure that the Steam Deck is compatible with Windows 11.
  • The Steam Deck ships with SteamOS, which is a custom version of Linux.
  • While the Steam Deck should be able to run Windows, some experts recommend against it.

Valve's Steam Deck will likely be compatible with Windows 11 at launch. While the handheld gaming device will ship with a custom version of Linux called SteamOS, at its core, the device is a computer. As a result, people can plug in peripherals and put Windows on one if they'd like. Valve hasn't focused on Windows 11, but the company expects that the device will work with the new OS from Microsoft.

"There's work looking at TPM just now," said Valve Steam Deck designer Greg Coomer to PC Gamer. "We've focused so much on Windows 10, so far, that we haven't really gotten that far into it. Our expectation is that we can meet that."

Coomer's mention of TPM refers to the controversial Windows 11 minimum requirement. To run Windows 11, a PC has to have a TPM (Trusted Platform Module). Specifically, TPM 2.0 is required for the new OS. Valve is working with AMD to make sure that this is enabled on the Steam Deck.

"It's also a conversation that's going on with AMD," said Coomer. "To make sure that, at the BIOS level, we can accommodate that. So there's nothing to indicate to us yet that there'll be any issues with Windows 11."

While the Steam Deck will likely be able to run Windows 11, whether you'd want to run the new Microsoft operating system on it is another question. Our Richard Devine explains why he thinks people shouldn't put Windows onto a Steam Deck.

Sean Endicott
Sean Endicott

Sean Endicott is the news writer for Windows Central. If it runs Windows, is made by Microsoft, or has anything to do with either, he's on it. Sean's been with Windows Central since 2017 and is also our resident app expert. If you have a news tip or an app to review, hit him up at sean.endicott@futurenet.com.

9 Comments
  • Yes, the first thing I will do when I get my hands on one of these is to install Windows 11 because of my Game Pass subscription ofc.
  • Man this thing would be perfect for game pass, that's an awesome idea.
  • Would be nice if they also ship that custom UI they use for SteamOS on Steam client for Windows. Using Windows 11 would be really nice on this, but the OS isn't really optimized to be used with gamepad for general OS operation, and screen is too small for touch when Windows 11 doesn't even have dedicated Tablet Mode which was meant for something like small screen tablet. Current Windows 11 builds so far are too desktop centric still though with touch improvements that has a notch better than Windows 10. Except the tablet behaviour from the Tablet Mode is now gone with Windows 11, so running apps on full-screen and automatically split apps when you open another one and auto-arrangement isn't here anymore. Makes me question the possibility of releasing Neo unless Microsoft is secretly developing the same mode from W10X.
  • Supposedly, Steam Big Picture mode is going to be updated to match the Steam Deck interface so that will be nice. As always, people will put what they want on the device and push it to its limits to see what will run.
  • Something like xbmc / kodi would be my bet. Xbmc + game pass that would be amazing combo. That I suspect would need to run something similar to W10 iot customised to run the store + xbox package with associated dependencies. As that's the only way to utilize a users store library to access games previously bought without jumping through hoops. As well as game pass - the limitation there would be that it would be game pass for PC. To get the console game pass, that would involve dumping the Xbox o/s from a owned home console due to legal limitations.
  • I would like to put Windows 11 on mine so I can play the Blizzard, Microsoft, GOG and Steam games I own...
  • Remember, to run W11 you not only have to support TPM 2.x but you also must support Secure Boot.
    If you turn on Secure Boot, that precludes any dual-boot Linux ability. So, to run W11 you have to kill any Linux partitions and reformat as a GUID partition to support W11 Secure Boot.
  • Hmm, what about a liveboot via the msd card slot?
  • Turns out I am incorrect. Dual-Boot with Secure Boot was solved in Linux dist. a while ago. You WILL have to change any MBR boot partitions into GUID partitions however, but W10 (and I assume W11) includes a utility to do just that (MBR2GPT.EXE)