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Valve wants Steam Deck to run Windows 11

Published Aug 9th, 2021 8:45PM EDT
Steam Deck Windows 11
Image: Valve

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When the Steam Deck reaches your door this winter, it’ll run a preinstalled version of Linux that Valve calls SteamOS. The portable console should run all the titles in the Steam store right on top of SteamOS. But what’s great about the Steam Deck is that Valve will not force its Linux version of users. We’re calling it a handheld console, but the Steam Deck is more of a portable PC. And the Steam Deck can run Windows right out of the box. You’ll be able to install a Windows version of it as long as you’re ready to fork additional cash for a Windows license. Hopefully, Windows 11 will be among the supported Windows versions on the Steam Deck.

Windows 11 upgrade controversy

Windows 11 is one of the hottest topics in tech right now. Sadly, the upgrade controversy is most of that talk. The new operating system has specific hardware requirements in place that will help Microsoft provide a more secure Windows experience than before. That means some of the users eager to make the jump to Windows 11 might not be allowed to do so.

Microsoft has strict hardware requirements in mind when it comes to the PC’s motherboard. The BIOS must have Trusted Compatibility Module (TPM) enabled to pass the Windows 11 upgrade test. That’s a simple fix to ensure that your relatively Windows 10 computer can make the jump to the next version. But if TPM isn’t there, you’ll need to either upgrade the motherboard or the entire computer.

Alternatively, you can stay on Windows 10 for years to come.

Valve working with AMD on Steam Deck compatibility

Naturally, a brand new device like the Steam Deck also has to pass the same upgrade test. So the Steam Deck has to have TPM enabled for users to run Windows 11 on it. Otherwise, they’ll be stuck in Windows 10 universe forever.

Valve told PC Gamer that it’s already working with AMD to ensure Windows 11 can run on the handheld console.

“There’s work looking at TPM just now,” Valve Steam Deck designer Greg Coomer told the blog. “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.”

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

Why Steam Deck Windows 11 support is critical

If SteamOS delivers a great user experience and all Steam games work on top of it, there’s no reason to move to Windows 11. But there are worries that some games might not work immediately on the Steam Deck without Windows.

Valve is already working with BattlEye and Easy Anti-Cheat to ensure that anti-cheat systems work on top of Proton. Those systems are critical for some Steam games. Without anti-cheat in place, the games won’t run on SteamOS 3.0. In such a case, the alternative is installing Windows. That’s why getting Windows 11 support on Steam Deck is so critical.

Chris Smith Senior Writer

Chris Smith has been covering consumer electronics ever since the iPhone revolutionized the industry in 2008. When he’s not writing about the most recent tech news for BGR, he brings his entertainment expertise to Marvel’s Cinematic Universe and other blockbuster franchises.

Outside of work, you’ll catch him streaming almost every new movie and TV show release as soon as it's available.