The Steam Deck from Valve runs on a customized version of Arch Linux known as SteamOS v3.3. Valve mentioned that they plan to employ a rolling update technique for Deck's system software even though SteamOS was originally created for Steam devices using Debian Linux. Having said that, we should keep in mind that, as demonstrated in this article, you can also install Windows on the Deck.
Steam Deck can emulate a variety of consoles, arcade devices, and even MS-DOS games, and this shouldn't come as a surprise. It's also important to note that there are several legitimate emulators you may use to install and run your games.
With Valve's SteamOS recovery image, you may switch back to SteamOS if you decide you don't want to replace it with Windows. You may easily switch between the operating systems each time your device boots up if you install Windows on a USB drive or SD card.
How to dual boot on the Steam Deck
Windows must be installed on a USB drive or micro SD card if you want to dual-boot Windows and SteamOS. This is not possible out of the box with the built-in storage. Using an external USB-C drive is an option if you only require Windows while your SteamDeck is stationary and preferably hooked into a powered dock at home. The most practical option if you want mobile access to Windows is an SD card.
This is how you can use a SteamDeck to start Windows from an SD card:
1. Download the Media Creation Tool for Windows 10 from the official Microsoft website and obtain the Windows 10 installation files.
2. Get the Rufus app and set it up.
3. Launch Rufus.
4. Choose the appropriate SD Card or USB stick under the Device option.
5. Select the Windows 10 installation file from the Boot selection menu.
6. Choose MBR in the Partition scheme section, then click Start.
7. Place a USB stick or SD card in your SteamDeck once the image is completely installed via Rufus
8. To begin, press the Power and Volume buttons simultaneously.
9. Choose Boot Manager, then press Enter after selecting the bootable device.
10. Once this is complete, Windows 10 will be installed on your device and you will need to go through the setup procedure. There really isn't anything new because we follow the same straightforward procedure each time we install Windows 10 on one of our computers or laptops.
How to boot from USB?
Ensure that the Deck is off, then press the Power button while holding the Volume Down button. Once the boot screen appears, release the Volume Down button and hit the Volume Up button to launch Steam's Boot Manager. The system will handle the rest if you do a good job creating the image or media you desire to boot from. Keep in mind that you may dual-boot Windows using your trusted USB drive and an SD card using Steam Deck.
FAQ section: Steam Deck dual boot questions answered
Q1: Can I use the internal storage of the Steam Deck for dual booting?
A1: No, currently it is not possible to use the internal storage of the Steam Deck for dual booting. You need to use an external USB drive or a micro SD card to install Windows alongside SteamOS on your Steam Deck.
Q2: Is it difficult to switch between Windows and SteamOS on the Steam Deck?
A2: Switching between Windows and SteamOS on the SteamDeck is quite simple. You can easily choose the desired operating system during the boot process. Just follow the instructions provided in the article, and you'll be able to seamlessly switch between the two operating systems.
Q3: Can I use a USB-C drive to install Windows on my Steam Deck?
A3: Yes, you can use a USB-C drive to install Windows on your SteamDeck, but this option is more suitable if you plan to use Windows only while your SteamDeck is stationary and connected to a powered dock.
Q4: Will dual booting my Steam Deck void my warranty?
A4: Dual booting your SteamDeck with Windows and SteamOS should not void your warranty, as long as you follow the instructions provided in the article and don't modify any hardware components. However, it's always a good idea to check with Valve or the manufacturer for specific warranty information.
Q5: If I decide to remove Windows, can I revert back to SteamOS easily?
A5: Yes, if you decide you no longer want Windows on your SteamDeck, you can use Valve's SteamOS recovery image to restore your device back to its original state. This will remove Windows and restore your console to running SteamOS exclusively.
Q6: Do I need a specific SD card or USB drive to install Windows on my Steam Deck?
A6: You can use any compatible SD card or USB drive to install Windows on your SteamDeck. However, it's recommended to use a high-quality, high-speed SD card or USB drive for optimal performance.
Q7: Can I still access my Steam library and installed games if I dual boot my Steam Deck?
A7: Yes, you can still access your Steam library and installed games on your handheld when dual booting with Windows and SteamOS. Once booted into SteamOS, your Steam library and games will be available as usual.
By including this FAQ section, we have provided additional information and addressed common concerns about dual booting a SteamDeck with Windows and SteamOS. We hope this will help users make an informed decision about whether or not to dual-boot their SteamDeck and offer a better understanding of the process involved.