Two and a half months after our Steam Deck review, Valve has finally provided the drivers you’ll need for audio if you choose to install Windows on the gaming laptop. Before today, you should have paired Bluetooth headphones or plug in USB-C headphones or a dongle to get any kind of audio on Windows. The speakers and 3.5mm jack didn’t do anything on Windows before today, and AMD blamed the delay.
But now this pair of new drivers should enable the two missing audio features. It took AMD and Valve a while to release the initial set of graphics, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and SD drivers for Windows as well.
Is it time to install Windows on your Deck? No, I definitely wouldn’t say that. While Valve continues to squash bugs and add cool features on the Linux side, Windows was even more of a hassle to get started, and Valve has been clear that you’re largely on your own if you go this direction. I had all sorts of problems with Windows 10 a few weeks ago – and although the Deck now has proper TPM support in the BIOS so you can install Windows 11, I can’t tell you if that would be better.
Personally, I’d wait for Valve’s next Dual Boot Wizard so you can add Windows without erasing the existing SteamOS installation from Steam Deck first. (You could just swap out the M.2 NVMe drive instead and keep the two operating systems separate that way, but be careful.)
The biggest issue for me is that Windows just doesn’t have the same console-like attributes that make the Deck so good to start with, especially how you can get an instant window into your performance and the lifespan of the drums and fine tune all of that on the fly.
If you want Windows, I’d probably look for a dedicated Windows laptop instead, especially once rivals react to the Deck with more powerful chips and/or lower prices.