Windows 11’s new audio drivers have made it possible to use the speakers again.
Microsoft’s operating system on Valve’s small gaming PC has been plagued by a problem with sound drivers, which means that with Windows 11, you won’t be able to hear anything unless you use Bluetooth speakers (or a USB-C headset).
Valve’s Windows audio drivers (two of them) have finally been released, and you can now utilise the built-in speakers on the Deck to hear your music (or you can use headphones with the audio jack, rather than relying on a Bluetooth pair).
On Valve’s Windows resources page, you can find detailed instructions for installing the drivers, as well as the APU driver, which is required to enable audio.
Analysis: A step in the right direction – but it is just one step
It’s great to see that Valve isn’t simply working on the Steam Deck as-is, but also considering individuals who might wish to take an alternative route like installing Windows 11 on the portable (or even Windows 10 for that matter).
It’s still a risky move to instal Microsoft’s operating system on the Steam Deck, even with one of its harsher edges being smoothed away in the form of audio drivers, though.
Why? Even though the Steam Deck has only been officially supported on Windows for a few weeks, there are still numerous driver and other technical difficulties to be worked out (indeed, these newly released audio drivers could still be glitchy for some).
For one thing, SteamOS is designed for a smooth and simple experience with the Deck, but when you switch to Windows, things get a lot more complicated. Installing Windows 10 or 11 on a Steam Deck isn’t for the faint of heart, but if you’re up for the challenge, we’ve got you covered with our step-by-by-step guide.