The SteamDeck is a fine piece of technology that is made by Valve for the primary purpose of playing video games or other entertainment activities. I have put together the resources, mostly for me, but hopefully it will be valuable for others too.

Steam Button Shortcuts

By holding the Steam key and pressing one of the many buttons or using the joysticks on the SteamDeck, you can invoke various actions. A menu of these actions can be viewed by pressing and holding the Steam button for 2 seconds.

Steam + B long press — force game shutdown

Steam + X Release Press — Show On-Screen Keyboard

Steam + L1 — Toggle Magnifier

Steam + R1 — Take Screenshot

Steam + L2 — Right Mouse Click

Steam + R2 — Left Mouse Click

Steam + Right Joystick — Acts as Mouse

Steam + Right Joystick (R3) Press — Left Mouse Click

Steam + Left Joystick Up — Increase Brightness

Steam + Left Joystick Down — Decrease Brightness

Steam + D-Pad Right — Enter Key

Steam + D-Pad Down — Tab Key

Steam + D-Pad Left — Escape Key

Desktop Mode

One of the great features of the SteamDeck is that Valve gave you access to a full fledged desktop computing interface with KDE Plasma. Here you can do all kinds of wonderful computery things and take advantage of the fact that this system is more than a console and can be used as a regular desktop or laptop kind of computer. Although not completely necessary, a Bluetooth keyboard and mouse is quite handy for this purpose.

To switch into desktop mode:

Steam Button > Power > Switch to Desktop

To Return to Game Mode. “Double-Click” on the Icon labeled: Return to Gaming Mode

Note: The video is accelerated and the time takes a bit longer than pictured.

Set up User Password

If you are going to use some of the really cool features of the SteamDeck, you will have to set up a user password. Technically, this is not strictly necessary but if you intend to access the device remotely, it would be a poor decision to not do this step.

Within Desktop Mode, open a terminal, specifically Konsole, and run this.


Enter your desired password twice to confirm it. Do note, you will not see the cursor move when keying in the password.

Enable Secure Shell (SSH)

To be able to manage files remotely using SFTP to add or remove game files. This is one of my favorite features. Sure, you can move things around using the SD Card but you can also manage the system remotely while you are playing games.

sudo systemctl start sshd

Determine the IP address of the SteamDeck in terminal

ip -c address

If you are connected through wireless look for the entry under wlan0 or sometimes wlp*** (where *** represents some sequence of characters. If the machine is connected through Ethernet on a docking station the IP address will be under the emp***. In this case, my IP address is

You can, of course, get the IP address from the SteamOS interface or network manager when in Desktop Mode.

Immutable Root Filesystem

The SteamDeck has an arguably fantastic feature of locking its root filesystem making it immutable and essentially more resilient. What does it mean? You can’t make changes to it. Valve sends down updates to your SteamDeck in images that are specially tuned for the hardware. If you would like to make changes to it, you have to unlock it.

In the terminal run this:

sudo steamos-readonly disable

To restore the immutability of the root filesystem:

sudo steamos-readonly enable

Boot Menu

To boot from a different device, shut the SteamDeck down.

Insert a bootable Drive into the USB-C port or through a USB-C Hub or SD Card

Hold the volume down and power button. Release the power button when you hear the boot sound but continue to hold volume down for a moment longer. The boot menu will be displayed.

Performance Tweaks

Performance Boost and Space Savings by CryoByte33

Protective Cases and accessories

JSAUX Advanced Dock and Protective Shell for the SteamDeck | Review

JSAUX Screen Protector for the SteamDeck

Further Reading

SteamDeck | What Makes it Awesome for an openSUSE User
Fortnite on the SteamDeck | With Xbox Cloud Gaming
SteamDeck | RetroArch and mGBA for Trading Pokémon
Restoring SteamDeck Unresponsive Touchscreen

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