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Windows 11 comes to Steam Deck – but should you install it?

Windows 11 can now be installed on the Steam Deck, thanks to a new beta update for the compact gaming PC. There's also a smaller update deployed as an official release that adds some useful advanced settings for the Deck’s controls.

As Tom’s Hardware spotted, the beta update (which is obtained by testers via the beta channel) contains this important change for those who fancy trying Microsoft’s latest desktop OS with their Steam Deck: “Added fTPM support, enabling Windows 11 installation.”

Support for fTPM means that firmware TPM (in the AMD processor powering the Steam Deck) has been enabled. TPM is part of the crucial security-related requirements for Windows 11 to be installed on a PC (though there are ways around that, but an official supported installation of Windows 11 needs TPM).

The beta update also claims to provide better battery life in “idle or very low usage scenarios”, and better longevity away from a power socket is always useful.

As for the official update, the patch notes highlight some important changes, including a Calibration and Advanced Settings panel that lets users adjust the dead-zones for both of the Deck’s joysticks (to fine-tune and help guard against issues like stick drift). This panel also lets you adjust the haptic strength for trackpads, too.

There’s a further nifty addition in the form of dual trackpad typing being supported so you can use both trackpads to type with the on-screen keyboard.

Analysis: Windows 11 will bring important goodies like DirectStorage (eventually)

Anyone could – and should – grab the official update with those useful tweaks for the joysticks and trackpads, but the beta software that adds Windows 11 support is, as ever with updates which are still in testing, something that you’ll use very much at your own risk.

If you intend to try Windows 11 right away, then you’ll need to switch to the beta channel, which is done via Settings > System, where you can choose the ‘Beta’ option in the OS Update Channel. Bear in mind that Windows support on the whole is still rough at this early point in the Steam Deck’s life, with bugs still present in drivers, for example.

At any rate, if you’re mulling switching away from SteamOS to Microsoft’s platform on the Steam Deck, the ability to install Windows 11 appearing in beta is a good sign that full support for the successor to Windows 10 will be implemented soon enough. And that’ll come with Windows 11’s additional performance benefits for gaming compared to Windows 10 (such as DirectStorage tech, which could help certain games not just load faster, but run more smoothly too).

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