How to Use the Desktop Mode on Steam Deck

How to Use the Desktop Mode on Steam Deck

The Steam Deck, a highly anticipated handheld gaming device, has taken the gaming world by storm. One of its standout features is the ability to switch between a gaming console mode and a full-fledged desktop mode. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll delve into the details of how to use the Desktop Mode on Steam Deck.

Understanding Desktop Mode

Understanding Desktop Mode

Desktop Mode on the Steam Deck essentially transforms the device into a portable computer. It allows you to use various applications, including web browsers, office tools, and more, making it a versatile gadget for both gaming and productivity. Here’s how to make the most of this feature:

Accessing Desktop Mode

To access Desktop Mode on your Steam Deck, follow these simple steps:

  • Unlock Your Steam Deck: Start by unlocking your device using your preferred method, whether it’s a PIN, password, or biometric authentication like fingerprint or face recognition.
  • Return to the Home Screen: Once your Steam Deck is unlocked, you’ll be on the home screen. If not, press the Steam button on your device to get there.
  • Access Quick Settings: Swipe down from the top of the screen to reveal the Quick Settings menu. Here, you’ll find a toggle for “Desktop Mode.” Tap it to activate Desktop Mode.
  • Desktop Mode Interface: Your Steam Deck will now transition to a desktop-like interface, and you’re all set to explore its capabilities.

Navigating the Desktop Mode

Now that you’re in Desktop Mode, let’s take a closer look at how to navigate and utilize it effectively.


  • Start Button: Much like a traditional Windows computer, Desktop Mode features a Start button at the bottom-left corner. Click on it to access a menu of applications and settings.
  • System Tray: The system tray, located at the bottom-right corner, houses essential icons for volume, network, battery status, and more.

File Explorer

  • File Management: You can access the built-in File Explorer to manage your files and folders. Simply click the folder icon on the taskbar.

Browsing the Web

  • Web Browsing: To surf the internet, open the web browser application. You can use your Steam Deck’s touchscreen or trackpads for navigation.

Office Tools

  • Productivity: Desktop Mode allows you to use various office tools like word processors, spreadsheets, and more. Install your preferred software for increased productivity.

Gaming in Desktop Mode

Gaming in Desktop Mode

One of the unique advantages of using Desktop Mode on the Steam Deck is that you can continue gaming seamlessly. Here’s how to do it:

Steam Library

  • Access Your Library: Open the Steam application on your Steam Deck’s Desktop Mode to access your gaming library.
  • Play Any Game: Choose your desired game and play it using your preferred control method—controller, touchscreen, or trackpads.

Third-Party Games

  • Non-Steam Games: If you have non-Steam games you’d like to play, you can add them to your library. Click “Add a Non-Steam Game” in the Steam client.


  • Game Settings: Customize your game settings to suit your preferences. You can adjust graphics, controls, and more.

Steam Deck Accessories

To enhance your experience while using Desktop Mode on the Steam Deck, consider investing in some essential accessories:

Keyboard and Mouse

  • Input Devices: A Bluetooth keyboard and mouse can be handy for text input and precise navigation.


  • Expand Connectivity: A USB hub will allow you to connect more peripherals like external hard drives, printers, and additional accessories.


In this detailed guide, we’ve explored how to use the Desktop Mode on Steam Deck, transforming it into a versatile handheld computer. From accessing Desktop Mode to navigating its features and seamlessly transitioning between gaming and productivity, you now have the knowledge to make the most of this impressive gaming device. So, grab your Steam Deck, explore Desktop Mode, and enjoy the best of both worlds: gaming and productivity, all in the palm of your hand!

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