Steam has been home to many Windows games since its launch in 2003. Despite that, the Steam Deck, which acts as a portable PC, lacked the firmware needed to support the Windows operating systems upon shipping, but that has changed. Valve announced in a blog post that it has released the important GPU, WiFi, and Bluetooth drivers that are required to install Windows 10 on the console, and support for Windows 11 is already in the pipeline.
Because the Steam Deck didn’t come with those drivers at launch, there are a few caveats to using them. You will need to wipe the Steam Deck clean in order to conduct a full Windows install, and dual-booting is out of reach at the moment, though the console is technically able to support that function. “While Steam Deck is fully capable of dual-boot, the SteamOS installer that provides a dual-boot wizard isn’t ready yet,” Valve wrote, adding that it will ship with SteamOS 3.
Steam Deck driver limitations
While the GPU, WiFi, and Bluetooth drivers are necessary to install Windows on the Steam Deck, they still come alongside a few limitations. The only version of Windows you can install right now is Windows 10, as Steam Deck’s current BIOS doesn’t have the firmware TPM support necessary to install Windows 11 — although that is expected to ship soon. To make matters even more tedious, audio is currently limited to Bluetooth and USB-C. Valve says it is still working on getting audio drivers in place, so this will change in the future.
The links to download the drivers are found on Steam’s Windows Resources page, which is offered as-is because the company is not able to provide “Windows on Deck” support. Valve has also provided the Steam Deck Recovery page in case you mess up on the Windows installation process and need to start from square one.
As for when you’ll get your hands on the Steam Deck, those in the Q1 2022 reservation pool who pre-ordered the system will see it arrive on their doorstep by the end of March. Valve posted an update on Tuesday, March 8, that emails for Q2 reservations will start going out in April 2022, meaning those customers will have to wait a little while longer.