Steam Deck – Install and run your own games

Most Windows games can be run at Linux as a custom Steam game:

  • Switch to desktop mode
  • Copy the installer or the installed game(install the game on a Windows computer and use the installed directory) to the Steam Deck (I use a SMB share on my computer the share the files with the Steam Deck over WLAN)
  • Create a custom Steam game and point it to the installer
  • Activate „Proton“ in the compatibility tab (or better ProtonGE with ProtonUp)
  • Start and install the game on C:\…
  • Take care, that all runtimes are installed with the installer. In most custom games you find a „Support“ or „Installer“ folder, where you can found the needed runtimes. You can install them like the game setup, but you have to do it in the same custom Steam game. Edit the path to the exe of the VC installer
  • Now, very important, edit the same Custom Steam Game and select the EXE of the game, because only in the Proton environment of the custom Steam game, the VC Runtimes are installed.
  • If the game was installed on C, you can find the game in the following folder: „home/deck/.steam/steam/steamapps/compdata/ID of the Proton folder (you can read it with ProtonTricks or just sort it by date)/pfx/drive_c/Program Files (x86)/“.
  • All steps must be done in the same custom Steam game. You have to edit it for installiert, runtime installers and EXE to start the game.


With ProtonTricks you can customize a settings and also display the ID’s of the games in the compdata folder. You can install it at the Desktop Mode with the GUI.


With „Bottles“, which can installed in the paket manager too, you can set up your one WINE enviroment with a runner you like and the newest DXVK, VKD3D, WINE or Proton. With that you can run games, which Proton in Steam dont support.

In „Bottles“ you can install the runtimes you need with one click and you can select diffrent DXVK, VKD3D, WINE, Proton and what you want.

Epic Launcher / UbiSoft Connect / GoG

Also, you can install other launchers like Epic, Gog, UbiSoft Connect, etc. through this way and then install games through it. Many games are much cheaper here than in Steam.


You have to be careful with the savegames: The savegames are of course stored in the Proton environment in the compdata folder. If you delete the custom Steam game, the savegames are also gone. So make sure you save them first.

You should find them perhaps here: home/deck/.steam/steam/steamapps/compdata/ID of Proton folder/pfx/drive_c/Users/Documents/Name of the game

Install updates for custom game

Do the same like to install the game. Do all on the custom Steam game, you installed the game first. Change the path to the update installer, install the update and than change again to the start EXE of the game.

Install custom games on SD Card

If you want to install the game on the SD Card, you have to edit the start parameters in the custom Steam games. You have to add: „STEAM_COMPAT_MOUNTS=/run/media/NameOfSdCard/ %command%“ Than you can install it on the drive „E“ and „E“ is the SD Card.

Cracked games

Of course also run with that guide, but I would like to explicitly point out not to support piracy. However, in many countries it is allowed to crack games that you have bought.

On the Steam deck, this could be useful if games cannot be played offline or the copy protection has a negative impact on performance.

Steam Deck – PluginLoader and PowerTools

Steam Deck – PluginLoader

With the „PluginLoader“ you can add plugins and thus new functions to GameScope. Here can you find informations about it:

Steam Deck – PowerTools

With „PowerTools“ you can change CPU related settings on the fly.

What can yo do with „PowerTools“?

  • Limit the CPU threads of 1 to 8
  • Enable / disable the CPU Boost option
  • Set the CPU max frequency

Why this can help?

  • Some emulators are running better with only 1 or 2 threads and you get better performance and less issues
  • You can save energy from the battery, at games which need so much CPU threads

Here you can find the website of „PowerTools“:

Steam Deck – PluginLoader / PowerTools installation

At first you have to install the „PluginLoader“ and than the plugin „PowerTools“:

  1. If you don´t set the passwort for the Steam Deck Account, do this first:
  2. Go to the System Settings and enable the Developer Mode
  3. Scroll down on the left side to Developer Mode
  4. Enable the option CEF Remote Debugging
  5. Switch to the Desktop mode and start the „Konsole“

5. Now enter this command in the „Konsole“:

curl -L | sh
6. Now you have to type the password and enter

7. Go into the directory of the installed „PluginLoader“ with that commands, that we can install „PowerTools“ in the correct directory:

cd homebrew
cd plugins

8. Now you have to copy the „PowerTools“ files from the GIT reposiroty to the plugins folder of „PluginLoader“. We need the permissions from sudo, because the directory is no writable without:

sudo git clone

At last you can restart the Steam Deck and now you can use the „PowerTools“ plugin. Please note: You can control the plugins only with the touchpad.

Steam Deck – ProtonUp-Qt / Proton-GE

With ProtonUp-Qt you can download new Proton-GE versions and install them automatically, among other things, in Steam.

Here you can find the newest Proton-GE releases and the changelog of them: Releases · GloriousEggroll/proton-ge-custom · GitHub

Benefits of Proton-GE

  • Faster updates
  • vk3d3d / dxvk lastest git updates
  • Vanilla version of WINE
  • If you have problems with movie rendering in game or at the start, ProtonGE can fix it because of FFmpeg and FAduio enabled
  • all Proton patches
  • In some cases the Game runs with ProtonGE but not with Proton

Steam Deck – ProtonUp-Qt – Install

The installation can done in the package manager „Discover“. Just search for „Proton“ and click on „ProtonUp-Qt“ and select „install“:

Steam Deck – ProtonUp-Qt – Install Proton-GE

You can find ProtonUp-Qt in the Application menu:

Than you can click on „Add version“, select „Proton-GE“ and select the lastest version. In my case it was GE-Proton7-16. Now you can click on „Install“ and ProtonUp-Qt install the new Proton runner automatically in Steam.

You can find the new Proton version at this directory:

  • Home/.steam/steam/compatibilitytools.d

Steam Deck – ProtonUp-Qt – Select Proton-GE in you Steam game

Now you have to shutdown Steam and start it again. Now you can set the new Proton-GE version:

Steam Deck – Enable SSH

With SSH you can connect with Putty directly from your computer to the console of the Steam Deck. This way you can execute commands more easily because you don’t have to use the on-screen keyboard.

If you don´t set a password for the Steam Deck account, please do it first:

All commands have to enter in the „Konsole“. You can find the „Konsole“ in the „Applications“ menu.

Steam Deck – Enable SSH – One time

If you want to start SSH only once (does not start automatically after a reboot), then you can run the following command;

sudo systemctl start sshd

Steam Deck – Enable SSH – Autostart

If you want to start the SSH service automatically when restarting the Steam Deck, then you can enable this as follows:

sudo systemctl enable sshd