I installed Windows on Steam Deck and I regret it
Users have literally begged us not to do this, or at least not to recommend it. But they forgot one simple fact: i own this device, its mine, so whatever i do what i want and besides even i dont know if i would recommend this yet what i would recommend is our sponsor: build redux, build redux, offers competitive pricing compared to building a Pc yourself, their website makes it easy to configure your build alongside their helpful support, guides so head to buildredux.com, linus and start creating your pc. Today we will talk about how we got to this point, but i dont want to keep you guys waiting and im going to dive right in starting with desktop controls. You can use either the right joystick or the right trackpad to move the mouse cursor around, and i got ta say right out of the gate having this track pad here. Compared to something like the joy x off on the ineo wow. Is that ever a lot better, but theres one thing: i immediately notice missing push to tab. How is that not a thing? No instead, and this is sort of intuitive, you actually use the right trigger for left click and the left trigger for right click. Pretty much. Every other handheld ive seen defaults. The other way around left is left right is right, but it seems like valve is of the mind that the dominant hand should be the one that is the most often clicked.
Okay, how do i scroll down the page, though? Its probably left yeah there we go left analog. Stick: oh okay! We just brought up an on screen keyboard by pushing down on the d pad im gon na close steam. For now we can use the touchscreen as well. I guess thats worth mentioning. Oh wait! No! You need steam running in order to wait. Nope, my mouse cursors back the right, joystick doesnt work for it anymore, though only the trackpad does basically theres two control schemes: theres the windows default, which allows you to use this as a trackpad and yeah its still right to left and left to right or if You have steam launched itll, actually treat the entire controller as a seam controller, and you can use the joystick to control the mouse as well. Now that ive got steam launched again lets try to launch an application. Okay is ive, seen this on other handhelds as well. For whatever reason, uac prompts disable, whatever software is allowing you to joystick to mouse on the steam deck, though at least you can still use the okay. I swear the touchpad worked a second ago now, its not working to be clear. A lot of these annoyances are kind of universal whenever youre trying to use windows on a handheld device, its just a very imperfect experience lets have a look at how this soc appears in cpu z, since weve got it amd ryzen, we dont know exactly what kind Custom apu 045 super cool nope does not know that this is lpddr5 all right, then how about gpuz same thing has no idea what to make of this mess.
Gpu clock, zero, megahertz, custom, apu0405, fair enough, gpu custom, gpu 405. picks up the memory speed. At least it doesnt seem to indicate in any way that this memory is shared between the gpu and cpu, although it does note that 1.2 gigabytes of it is hardware reserved which would be whats reserved for our gpu wi fi works. Bluetooth appears to be here. Actually, i should fire up device manager. Clearly, all the drivers are not uh working yet unknown devices. Multimedia controller multimedia controller would be the onboard audio. So the three and a half millimeter jack and the speakers do not work. So you can use bluetooth or you can use a type c to headphone adapter. For now, i think we should launch a game and of course we have a second steam deck. I can already tell that this is running like absolute dog poo on windows compared to linux, its not even close its, not even just that the fps is lower its just a difference in responsiveness and like stutteriness super unresponsive, its funny. While i was testing this with the haptics going, i thought that the speaker was going for some reason: yeah, because the haptics are so weak. The haptics are well theres, no haptics its just the vibration in the touch pads, yeah, so theyve tuned that in linux. So it doesnt feel so like kind of cheap and ugly sounding, but in windows, clearly that same tuning hasnt taken place well, how about on windows? What does the steam button and the overlay button do big fat load of nothing? I mean the steam button should pull up the steam overlay or something but oh, oh it does it.
Does it pulls up the steam overlay, which does allow me to exit the game so its just the quick access menu button that doesnt do anything: okay, thats, thats, thats, good, obviously, its a less comprehensive steam overlay lets try something else. I have not played elven ring. Yet so far launch time looks pretty similar. I started the windows once lately before thats a solid linux win right there that doesnt look right on the windows side. It really doesnt. When i was testing it earlier, the loading screens are only 16×9. So the actual background, like the game assets, loading in, could be seen in the seams at the top and bottom of the screen. Oh hilarious lets. Try borderless windowed ive had better luck with that in some ca. What hello, weird! Oh, oh, hey, hey were back time to not mess with that again. Im loading up a new game here, because we did all the benchmarking on this steam account where were actually a little bit into the game. But i wanted to be able to play them side by side with you guys. So we got a new account for the linux machine and we wanted to be able to just switch back and forth between them. Okay, wow big picture has work to do. I mean valve has said that theyre going to adapt big picture based on the steam os steam deck interface like this, oh man, night and day so much better there it is, you can see the seams.
Oh thats, weird. This is a famously bad port linux. For the win for loading times again, wow is windows really that far behind oh shoot, i didnt open frame view. This is another thing that im not expecting to be a great experience on the steam deck. Other handhelds have a button to minimize the game and jump to the desktop. I suspect valve has integrated no such functionality. I mean i dont need frame view to tell me thats terrible ive read about hitches and stutters in this game, but this is unbelievable. Valve apparently used the fact that they are translating directx to vulcan to implement a pre shader compilation routine. That prevents it from starting. The crazy thing about windows, though, is that this isnt even behaving like on the fly shader compiling like it, should stop doing it. It should, after i do a full rotation, but it doesnt, and so the fact that were running this translation layer actually results in better smoothness. I think its time for us to stop the side by side comparison and get into the empirical data. Then we ran benchmarks on three great on deck games and linux users can breathe a sigh of relief because steam os handily outperformed windows, particularly in hitman 3, where steam os gives playable. If inconsistent frame rates, while windows averages a painful 19 fps due maternal hit. A 60 fps average on steemos, while windows was stuck in the high 40s and eldon ring famously far more playable on deck than on windows pulls ahead in terms of frame rate and, as you guys saw, didnt suffer from the same stuttering that the pc port has Treated windows gamers to our swackets dont, suffer either by the way lttstore.
com. But what about controls outside of steam? We already saw that launching steam takes over the decks controller. Can we do the same in say an emulator uh? What emulator should you put on here? I just put on retroarch oh crap. I dont have screen cap. It did this in testing too, for whatever reason, retroarch what youre seeing on your screen is not what im seeing on this screen. This screen shows the desktop. Oh beautiful. Oh my god come on retroarch. I just i mean this could be a steam controller issue. How do i go back if my controllers, not allowing me to go back? Wait? Oh – and this is off now, wait what back, instead of going back negatively toggles a setting and then confirm activates the setting, that is the strangest behavior, i think, ive ever seen out of a controller ever is steam still running uh. Yes, that might be the problem. I dont even know if im going to be able to close this software theres no task manager, button or control alt delete button like you would see on a windows, optimized handheld thats, the kind of thing that you could probably bind i mean the steam controller is Infinitely customizable its one of the best things about it, but anthony i dont think i can close retroarch because i cant go back. This is crazy, x and y will sometimes go down our up and down multiple items in the menu, and sometimes just one see here.
It does just one what is happening. Oh you activated the on screen keyboard. I did yes, you cant see it, but i can, unless theres an escape key on that. No, i dont think president quit. Yes, full disclosure. I expected that to happen. Oh thanks anthony well. This is just as bad back doesnt go back. How do i go back b is trying to close retroarch the default control scheme in windows without steam running for the steam deck? Is that that key is escape? So is that a valve issue, or is that a windows issue that would be a valves, controller mapping issue now? Normally that makes sense for navigating windows, because the up and down arrows are just the just like the yeah. The d pad is the up and down arrows left and right, so you can navigate everything with the buttons pretty well. We have an xbox controller here right because now b is back because its picked up as a controller, not as a windows pointer device yeah. So i think retroarch is going to have to add a controller definition file or something to hook into it like they do, with the steam deck and with the xbox, 360 controller and xbox one well, will the game work? The game should work. Okay, lets. Try the game then at least Music, what it doesnt work, even in game its still in oh man, all right. Well, i still want to know about the latency.
I mean i guess, itll be fine, its just windows. I mean it should be. Oh yeah, i mean this feels great mostly. I just wanted to show off the fact that the controls are hot garbage and broken. Yes got it, so better use steam yeah pretty much. Oh, no, not charging chuck. Oh, i want to get up there. Oh balls – and there are a lot of other things to keep in mind if you want to run windows on deck for one youre, not able to dual boot steam, os and windows until valve releases. The final steamos installer with support for this baked in i already mentioned there isnt an audio driver for the speakers or the 3.5 millimeter headphone jack, yet but audio via usbc or bluetooth does work. Apparently a driver will be coming for that sooner rather than later. What we dont have an eta for is things like the brightness slider fix. Okay, it works fine, sometimes, and sometimes it doesnt respond to the full drag yeah. So you need to kind of like drag it back and forth towards the end that you want to go to. So, if you want to get it brighter, you need to go to max and drag it back and forth. You want to go darker, you need to. I think if it goes slow, its fine, so it might be an acceleration issue with the uh like the touch to mouse input, detection or whatever i dont know the proper technical terms for it.
But it seems to be that if you go fast, it doesnt make it the whole way, which could be a touch screen. Responsiveness, issue in windows – i im sure its fixable, but we dont know when or if that will ever be fixed and theres. Also the much larger problem where the deck doesnt like to come out of sleep in windows: either it takes forever or never wakes up so youll want to disable sleep unless youre into hard powering off in order to get back into windows, but thats, not a great Experience for a handheld device, whats more when you go to actually install windows, youre, going to notice that the display is rotated 90 degrees, thats, actually pretty common for devices like this, because they often use panels that were designed originally for tablets. It just means that until you get to the windows desktop youre going to have to deal with that, you wont have any wi fi, so youll have to install without a product key. If you dont have a type c, ethernet, dongle and speaking of youre, probably going to want a type c to usb a adapter or ideally a multi port dongle like this one, so that you can plug in a usb flash drive and a keyboard and mouse. It can be done without, but its definitely not as seamless, all of which raises the big question here. Why would anyone want to run windows on the steam deck? Well, i can think of a few reasons, even ignoring familiarity with the interface and the apps.
Access to xbox services comes to mind while alternative launchers and storefronts for epic game store and gog are available on linux, xbox still isnt, and that means there are some games that you simply cannot play on steamos right now, even ignoring anti cheat problems and youre, certainly Not going to get access to game pass unless youre streaming from a windows device or from microsofts own servers, ive also personally run into some very frustrating bugs, while gaming on the deck i just completed a run through of horizon zero dawn start to finish. On my personal deck, and i saw everything from drops down to 1 fps for extended periods like im, talking 10 30 seconds at a time to hard game crashes back to the steam interface to even black screens that necessitated a full system shutdown. This raises serious questions for me about the thoroughness of valves, game verification program. Horizon zero dawn is a great on deck game, but my experience was anything but great, and i sincerely doubt that if sony had actually been involved in this certification process, they would have signed off on it being advertised as great on deck. In fact, theres a great blog post on gaming on linux, from the lead developer of f audio, which is a core component of proton. The compatibility layer that allows windows games to run on linux, criticizing valves collaboration or lack thereof with third party developers. So if valve is just yellowing, it whats the process.
There are only so many hours in a day and valve seems to be validating a lot of freaking games, based on my experience with horizon zero dawn. What i suspect, theyre doing is theyre just firing up the game playing early areas which in many games tend not to be as demanding and going yep seems good rubber stamp, and i actually didnt have any issues in the first five hours of my playthrough of horizon Zero dawn, but by the end i was getting crashing or stuttering about every 30 minutes, or so not a great experience. Other than that, though, steamos is objectively the much more polished experience. The quick access menu with its convenient diagnostics and controls is conspicuously absent from windows and even basic functionality, like charging still seems to have issues in windows. We actually observed our steam deck discharging while plugged in, which is something that i have never seen running steam os. So valve is allowing users to run windows even facilitating it by providing drivers and public help dogs good guy valve 100, and were going to have those linked down below. If you want to do it yourself, but the roughness of the experience does make me wonder: are they ever going to put in the effort that it would take to make it as smooth as steam os? My gut feeling is no, which makes me wonder how much of the performance difference we saw is down to a lack of optimization.
I mean, theoretically, the same hardware should perform very similarly across windows and linux, and this our results were not even close now. Admittedly, that could be as much amds fault as valves and the steam deck also features a very unusual architecture for a windows machine with the cpu and gpu course sharing common memory. Im sure steamos, on the other hand, was carefully tuned to account for this. I just feel like there was a lot of windows performance left on the table here, and our investigation today has left us with more questions than answers. The one answer we have right now, though, is that we wouldnt recommend windows on the steam deck, at least not in its current state. So if your must have games dont work in steam os, you might just have to pony up for a competing handheld. That is, at least until valve makes dual booting possible, which is something were planning to explore, along with a 2 terabyte internal storage upgrade to the deck so make sure you are subscribed for that and make sure youre subscribed to hear about our sponsor dbrand the robots At dbrand drove a truck of money to our office to push their new project, kill, switch on pretty much every steam deck. Video that we have whats project kill, switch well its a project to kill the switch. I think, basically, its similar to their grip cases for phones and other devices, but for your steam deck.
Its got a rugged rubberized finish, plus a kickstand for when youre gaming on the go. But you want to pull out a controller. Theyve also got their tempered glass screen protector for the steam deck which we tested out for them turns out. Regular tempered, glass inhibits touch sensitivity, but dbrand screen protectors are super precise and guaranteed to work on your display. So why wait you can reserve projects, kill switch? Now, at dbrand.com killswitch or at the link down below thanks for watching guys, go check out our initial review of the steam deck for more decky goodness, it still blows my mind.