Steam Deck owners who want to install Windows 11 on the laptop, rather than running SteamOS, will no doubt be pleased to hear that Valve has addressed one of the major issues with this path, which is the audio side of the equation.
As we’ve seen with numerous complaints from people adopting Microsoft’s operating system on Valve’s compact gaming PC, there has been a problem with the audio drivers, which means that with Windows 11 you don’t get audio – unless you’re using Bluetooth speakers (or a USB-C headset).
But now Valve has provided Windows audio drivers (two of them) that fix the problem, so you’ll now get sound through the Deck’s built-in speakers (or you can use headphones with the audio jack, rather than to rely on a Bluetooth pair).
Instructions are included with the drivers on Valve’s Windows resource page, and note that there is an APU driver here that you must first install for audio support to work.
Analysis: A step in the right direction – but it’s only a step
It’s obviously good to see that Valve isn’t just pushing work on the Steam Deck as is – doing a lot of tinkering to add useful features like the recently implemented per-game performance settings – but also considering those who might want to take an alternate route like installing Windows 11 on the handheld (or even Windows 10 for that matter).
That said, if you’re planning on sticking Windows to the Steam Deck, even with one of the rougher edges now smoothed out in the form of audio drivers, it’s still a rather dubious proposition to install Microsoft’s operating system on the portable gaming PC.
Why? For starters, it’s still in the very early stages of development, with Windows support only officially arriving for the Steam Deck a few weeks ago – so there will no doubt still be driver and hardware issues. other technical issues (indeed, it is possible that these newly released audio drivers may still be problematic for some).
Also, as we’ve pointed out before, SteamOS is specifically designed for a smooth and streamlined experience with the Deck, but if you’re venturing into Windows territory, that’s going to be a very different matter. Plus, installing Windows on the Steam Deck isn’t a trivial exercise for the less tech-savvy – but if you want to give it a whirl, we’ve got a comprehensive guide on how to install Windows 10 and 11. on a Steam Deck.
Via Tom’s Hardware