(Steam Deck Guide) How to install Non-Steam Games Using Steam Deck Desktop Mode

by Abbey banji

You can easily install non-Steam games on the Steam Deck with a little tinkering behind SteamOS, so let’s get started.


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How to Install Non-Steam Games Using Steam Deck Desktop Mode

Before you begin, any apps or games you install outside of the official Steam Deck store will be on internal storage, not your microSD card or other external drive. Be sure to check that you have enough space on the main eMMC SSD, the size of which depends on the model of Steam Deck you have chosen (64 GB, 256 GB or 512 GB).

  1. Press the left STEAM button to open the quick menu.
  2. Navigate down the list to highlight and select Power.
  3. In the power menu, navigate to and select Switch to Desktop.
  4. Locate and open the Discover app, which is usually pinned to your taskbar with an icon that looks like a blue bag.
  5. Otherwise, you can find it in the System tab of the applications menu.
  6. In Discover, select Applications from the left menu, then Games to filter results by category.
  7. Scroll down to find a game you’d like to play, then tap Install.

If your game is not listed, you can download a Linux Flatpak archive from the developers and install it from desktop mode. Check Flathub for games that might not show up in Discover.

You can launch your newly installed game from this desktop environment, but to make things easier we can make it appear in SteamOS on startup with a few extra steps.

How to Add non-Steam games to your library

Installing additional games is great, but booting into desktop mode every time you want to play them isn’t very efficient. You can take a few extra steps to have them appear in your Steam Deck’s library alongside your regular purchases.

  1. Launch the Steam app from your desktop or the apps menu while still in desktop mode.
  2. Navigate the top menu to the Games tab and select Add a non-Steam game to my library…
  3. A new window titled Add Game will appear with a list of your software. Scroll through this list until you find your newly installed game.
  4. Check the box to the left of the game title, then tap Add Selected Programs.
  5. Close the Steam app and launch the Return to Game Mode shortcut from the desktop or apps menu.

You are now done and you can find these additional games in the non-Steam section of your Steam Deck library. Some titles may have no artwork or description, but can be played as if they were part of your collection. Be careful when installing software from sources outside the Steam store. Windows Central cannot be held responsible for potential bugs caused by these third-party games.

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