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How to install SteamOS 3 on a Linux PC

The Steam Deck has gained a lot of attention as a great portable gaming device that allows the average gamer to play AAA games on Linux.

In the gaming and Linux communities, this news caused a lot of positive emotions, excitement and anticipation of what is coming. Unfortunately, Steam Deck is proving to be very difficult for gamers at the moment.

Thanks to the hard work of a group of enthusiasts, it is now possible to install Steam Deck (SteamOS) software directly on your computer. The best part is that installing SteamOS is easier than you might think.

What is SteamOS?

Valve Inc. has been a major driving force behind improving the lives of gamers with the Steam-focused Linux OS. While playing the latest games on Linux is nothing new, a lot of work has been done to reduce the headache associated with the process.

Thanks to Proton software, the WINE and Vulkan APIs now work as one command to emulate proprietary DirectX and Windows files. Check out our guide explaining how Proton works for more details.

The perfect combination of Arch Linux, Proton and open source Steam software makes many gamers want to get their hands on a Steam Deck console to experience just how great Linux gaming on a portable PC has become.

Due to chip shortages and supply issues, Valve is unable to assemble and ship this magical marvel of innovation quickly enough. And thanks to theVahovskeIsTaken, installing SteamOS 3 on your PC has never been easier.

Set up and install SteamOS 3

Although this is an unofficial version, it will still look like the real one. First, make sure you have the following items in place before you begin:

  • HoloISO ZIP file (at the time of writing, the latest version of the installer is 3.2).
  • unpack or other archive tools
  • A storage device (e.g. HDD, SDD, M.2) that is either empty or data is overwritten during installation
  • Gaming PC with AMD graphics for the best experience (NVIDIA and Intel graphics still have some features)
  • 8 GB+ USB Flash Drive
  • Currently only balenaEtcher, ROSA ImageWriter, Fedora Media Writer, DD with 4MB block size, or Rufus with DD mode create a correct boot image.

After downloading the HoloISO file, unzip it on Linux and open your favorite media editor. You will then need to select a file (this will be the ISO file extracted from the ZIP file you downloaded):

Make sure you select the correct USB device to burn the ISO file, then click Next and let the magic unfold:

Once this is completed, you will need to restart your computer. When your computer is out of the post, press F12 (or the key that will bring up the boot menu). Select the UEFI USB drive and press Enter.

In the small boot menu that appears, highlight SteamOS and press Enter.

In a few minutes, you’ll be presented with the SteamOS “Live CD” version. Currently, you can try the operating system before installing it permanently.

When you’re ready, select the Wi-Fi icon on your desktop, select your SSID, and enter your Wi-Fi password (if you’re connected to Ethernet, make sure you’re connected to the Internet). Then select “Install SteamOS”.

The installer will now ask you where you want to place the new home for SteamOS 3.

The Konsole terminal will soon appear, where the installation is deployed. During this process, you will need to enter the username and password you chose during the initial setup prompts.

Welcome to Arch Linux with the KDE Desktop Environment. There is special software that allows you to create Steam magic. As the installation continues, you will soon be prompted to select your graphics card type so that the installer can apply the appropriate drivers and tools for your graphics card.

When the installation process is complete, you will need to reboot your system. Don’t forget to press F12 (or the appropriate key to open the boot menu) to select the storage location where your SteamOS installation is located.

If you have a controller, such as an Xbox One model, SteamOS will immediately recognize it. Shortly after, you will be prompted to update some settings and then enter your Steam credentials.

This test PC is equipped with a 4th Gen Intel i5 processor, 16GB of DDR4 RAM, a 1TB SSD, and a 6GB NVIDIA 1060GTX. This SteamOS installation has some quirks; however, everything worked without requiring configuration. The update process went smoothly too (you can do this by selecting the gear in the Steam main menu).

Loading a random game like Quest Hunter worked well! Want to know which Steam game will run perfectly smoothly on SteamOS on your PC? Visit the Proton DB website to find out which games work right out of the box and which ones require special attention to run flawlessly.

Steam Deck vs. SteamOS on your PC

Is it worth it? Why bother at all? The right questions to ask. It’s worth trying it out for yourself. If you’re just getting started with Linux, then this might be a great solution for you.

If you want to connect your computer to a big screen TV at home, installing SteamOS 3 on your computer is also a great option. Otherwise, when using Steam Deck, you will need to plug in the dock when connected to an external display.

If you are on the Steam Deck waiting list, you can simply test SteamOS on your PC. What’s more, you can ensure that gamer kids in your family are limited to games that are filtered based on their age group.

While you can get past a few minor hiccups, try these steps at home. If you’re really clean and will only use the software on the device it was originally built for, you just have to wait until your Steam deck arrives soon.

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