Valve shipped its $400 handheld gaming console, the Steam Deck, before all its promised features were ready — but one of the biggest is now here. You can now install Windows 10 on a Steam Deck and actually expect it to work because Valve has just released the all-important GPU, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth drivers you’ll need to download and play games.
Importantly, you’ll need to wipe a Steam Deck to do this, there’s no dual-boot yet, and Valve says you can only install Windows 10 since the Steam Deck’s current BIOS apparently doesn’t include firmware TPM support (which Microsoft infamously requires for Windows 11).
Oh, and your speakers and headphone jack won’t work because there’s no audio drivers yet. Bluetooth or USB-C audio are both options for now.
You can find Valve’s Windows on Deck page right here — and the Steam Deck Recovery Instructions right here in case you screw up or run into one of the Deck’s unfortunate bugs. “To get to the boot menu, power down. Then, while holding Volume Down, click the power button,” writes Valve.
I should note that the Steam Deck isn’t quite as buggy today as it was during the review process, and the updates aren’t coming as fast and furious: after launch, Valve created “stable” and “beta” release channels you can access right from the Deck interface. I’ve still had some crashes and games that mysteriously stopped working the way they did days or weeks before (looking at you, Vampire Survivors), but I’ve also played hours of Elden Ring and Into the Breach without issues.
I’ll be firing up Windows 10 on my own review unit soon, so stay tuned!
Update, March 11th: Mixed results so far! Seeing slightly higher framerate (but hitches, it’s a known issue) in Elden Ring, but lower in Deus Ex: Mankind Divided. Having issues getting some other games to install and play from SD card. Trying to troubleshoot that now. Bluetooth audio works but with the same lag I saw in Linux. Weird glitches with Big Picture Mode. And sadly the navigation buttons (like “Steam” and “...”) do nothing in Windows, but we all saw that coming.
Update March 14th, 9:42PM ET: Valve says it’s reproduced the bug I was seeing with SD cards vanishing in Windows, and has uploaded a new SD card reader driver that it hopes will fix the issue. It largely has, though big patches for games like Elden Ring may still take a long time to complete on both Windows and Linux.