Valve has released two new updates for the Steam Deck: an official update featuring a number of added features and improvements. Plus a new beta update with even more features and improvements that will come later to everyone. But most importantly, the new beta update adds full support for Windows 11 thanks to fTPM enablement on the AMD SoC.
If you are one of the few people daring enough to install Windows on your Steam Deck, the new fTPM support will be nice to have. It will allow full support for Microsoft's latest operating system, Windows 11, and grant you access to new gaming-specific features Windows 11 will have over Windows 10, such as the full version of DirectStorage. However, you can still enable fTPM in Windows 10 if you want or need the additional security.
Valve warns that this new beta update -- which applies to both the OS and BIOS, is still being tested. So be sure you know the risks of installing beta firmware if you want to try it out.
Microsoft made TPM a requirement in its new Windows 11 operating system and will prevent you from installing the OS if an internal or dedicated TPM module is not detected. There are ways to work around the TPM requirement, but the only way to install Windows 11 in the fashion Microsoft intended is with TPM support.
But, if you plan on installing Windows 11 on your shiny new Steam Deck, you aren't out of the woods just yet. Steam Deck's driver set is still incomplete, with audio drivers still in development. There are also a number of bugs that have been found with Valve's current Windows drivers for the Steam Deck, making the Windows experience on Steam Deck feel incomplete.
Another cool feature that comes with the official update for Steam Deck, is the addition of dual trackpad typing support for typing with both trackpads at the same time, a feature that comes from Valve's own Steam Controller.
When the on-screen keyboard appears in SteamOS, you get two cursors on your screen to see where you are typing. According to Youtuber Gaming On Linux, the addition of this feature makes typing on the Steam deck much easier than before.
Here's a quick video from him demonstrating the dual trackpad typing feature on the Steam Deck:
Another feature added in the official update is calibration options for the Steam Deck's joysticks, aswell as external controllers. You can now adjust the deadzones for the left and right joysticks, aswell as adjust the haptic strength for both right and left trackpads.
This could be particularly useful, especially for the haptics on the touchpads, which we found in our review to be quite weak overall. Tuning them could help offset this problem, or you can potentially just turn them off entirely.
You can also now calibrate joysticks on external gamepads aswell, which can prove useful if you choose to run the Steam Deck as a regular console like the PS5 -- hooked up to a dedicated gamepad and TV.
Steam Deck Update Patch Notes
Patch notes for the March 30th Steam Deck Client Update include the following:
- Added dual trackpad typing support to onscreen keyboard
- Added game mode onscreen keyboard to Desktop mode
- Added Family Sharing status to game details page. Borrowers will see whose library they are borrowing from, and lenders will see a message if their library is currently in use by a borrower.
- Updated network connection flow to connect without re-prompting for a known password
- Improved performance downloading library images after logging in, leading to less stuttering
- Removed display of 'B' back button in Overlay Quick Access Menu
- Fixed onscreen keyboard input issues when connecting to public WiFi captive portals
- Fixed issue where Chrome wouldn't install from the non-Steam section of the Library
- Added a Calibration and Advanced Settings screen with options for:
- Adjusting deadzones for the left and right Joysticks
- Adjusting haptic strength for left and right Trackpads
- Joysticks and other sensors on external gamepads
Here are the patch notes for the March 30th Steam Deck Beta Update:
If you want to install the new update on your Steam Deck, go to "settings" then "system", and select Beta from the OS Update Channel.
- Added messaging when a charger that doesn't meet the minimum bar is plugged in
- Added uncapped framerate setting in Quick Access menu > Performance
- Added fTPM support, enabling Windows 11 installation
- Added button combo: hold "..." + "Volume Down" to reset PD contract in the cases where Steam Deck gets stuck due to an incompatible Type-C device
- Updated power LED to dim a few seconds after power supply connection events for better experience in dark environments
- Improved compatibility for a number of Type-C docks and PSUs
- Improved battery life in idle or very low usage scenarios
- Improved stability
- Fixed issues where the touchscreen does not work after some boots
- Fixed compatibility with some SD cards specifically when used as boot devices.
- Fixed ACPI error spew in the kernel
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Aaron Klotz is a freelance writer for Tom’s Hardware US, covering news topics related to computer hardware such as CPUs, and graphics cards.