Steam Deck: How to add extra storage
Despite its broad target audience, the Steam Deck is not the simplest device to use for common PC tasks. That covers it from a Linux perspective. Despite the fact that both microSD cards and the internal drive will format without any more intervention on your part, external drives have a habit of causing problems.
As far as I can tell, the SteamOS distribution of Linux does not automatically mount disks unless instructed to do so. For reasons of security, and maybe also because presenting anything in a different format may be a hassle, it’s best to stick with the standard.
Although Valve has done a great job with Proton to get games to operate outside of their original Windows and has made the gaming mode of SteamOS as user-friendly as possible, it is true that Linux may be intimidating to those who have never used it before.
Steam Deck: How to format your external drive
When you initially enter the game mode’s storage settings while using either the official Dock or a third-party alternative, you won’t see anything. This is necessary because the new disk you brought must be formatted to work with Linux.
SteamOS will permanently tie the disk to Linux until you reformat it, so you’ll have to give up access to other operating systems. File viewers like Ext2Read are available for Windows, and Mac users can utilize Mac Fuse, but if you’d rather not deal with the hassle, it’s best to just acquire a dedicated drive for your Steam Deck.
We can’t guarantee that it will function with the “internal drive” of the JSAUX M.2 Dock, but it ought to be compatible with any USB external drive.
Conceal your Steam Deck and switch to the desktop view by creating a password.
However, before we proceed, we should go into desktop mode if you haven’t already, and set a password if requested to do so.
Press the Steam button (or the virtual Steam button in the corner using the mouse, or the guide button on your controller if docked) and the Power button to enter desktop mode. You ought to be given the choice to switch to a desktop experience.
You can now locate Konsole in the taskbar menu. Doing so will launch a terminal window where we can initially configure the password.
If you’ve already done this, you can obviously move on.
We encourage using a physical keyboard, but if that’s not possible, you may use a virtual one by pressing the Steam key plus X.
You may modify the current password by entering passwd into the terminal.
KDE Partition Manager may be used to partition the external disk from Steam Deck.
When you’re finished, go return to the KDE Partition Manager search in the taskbar. Right here is where you’ll give your drive its proper format.
A huge disk may be partitioned out here so that it can be used with many operating systems. If you purchase a 1TB disk but only need half of it for Windows, you may resize or relocate the partition by right-clicking it and selecting the appropriate option from the context menu. Next, enter the width in pixels that you’d want Windows to take up. This may be equated to getting two or more drives out of one.
We need to make sure the drive is unmounted before making any modifications to it. After entering your password into the partition manager, choose the drive you wish to partition, and then click the “Partition” button. Select Unmount from the pull-down option. Adaptations are now possible.
Right-click the partition you want to remove and select “Delete” if the disk has been formatted for other operating systems. With this done, KDE will recognize the drive as new and use it accordingly.
Until you click “apply,” nothing will change; if you change your mind, you may cancel by clicking “undo” or closing KDE.
Know More: Steam revealed it is now testing out the beta of the new Mobile App
Set to ext4
You may create a new partition by right-clicking on the empty space there. To continue, select ext4 from the new menu that appears.
The necessary drive format is effectively Ext4. This is required in order for SteamOS to recognize the drive as a location to install games once we switch back to Game Mode, much as it is on Windows using FAT32 or macOS using the Extended Journal.
ExFAT will take care of everything if you have no plans to use the game mode to play the games you install here. It’s possible that this might be useful for Windows and SteamOS users who wish to mimic or play games from this disk.
Unfortunately, if you don’t format the drive with ext4, game mode won’t be able to detect it.
Identify the drive and hit the “OK” button. If everything seems good, click the Apply button in the upper left. The drive will now be formatted and prepared for use with SteamOS.
Install the disk and modify owner permissions
A little USB icon will appear on the desktop. When you do, a button will appear to help you mount the drive. Some progress has been made, so we can now proceed.
One potential problem when formatting a disk in Linux is that the permissions could be altered in the process. Users have access to it in desktop mode at the moment, but Steam does not. There is no way for the operating system to change it, even if we specify it as a location where games may be installed.
Looking at the drive’s ownership in the file manager reveals that root, and not deck, is the owner of the device. If you want to make a modification, you should get back into the terminal and read the instructions carefully, since making any mistakes might cause the system to become unstable.
sudo chown deck /run/media/deck/[drive name]
Bypassing security measures and making the necessary modifications is made possible through Sudo, Linux’s equivalent of a skeleton key for administrators. If prompted for a password again, enter the one you’ve already established.
You may change the permissions and ownership to ‘deck’ by pressing enter. We’ve made some progress, and can now near the end.
Learn the ins and outs of making a Steam Library on an external disk for your Steam Deck.
Now, launch Steam and navigate to the Settings menu by clicking the Steam menu item in the top-right corner. If you added a new drive successfully by clicking the plus symbol, it should appear when you select Steam Library Folders in the Downloads tab.
With this, a Steam Library folder will be made, and the final step is the simplest.
There is a major problem with using external drives with the Steam Deck, and that is that they do not immediately mount. When we tested the Steam Deck Dock, we discovered that simply putting the machine to sleep for too long might cause the drive to become unplugged, necessitating a switch back to desktop mode to reconnect it.
Steam Deck and Linux: How to auto-mount external drive
We can avoid needing to mount the drive every time by modifying the Steam Deck’s configuration file so that it automatically detects the presence of the disk whenever it is used.
When you return to the terminal, enter these commands:
sudo nano /etc/fstab
This will open the terminal’s text editor so we may make changes to the configuration file. Most of this may be copied and pasted using the right mouse button, however a keyboard is recommended.
The list of drives, together with installation guidelines, will be provided. To retrieve the drive’s UUID, we must first return to KDE Partition Manager, select the partition we just created, right-click, and select Properties. Your UUID is unique, so make sure you either copy and paste it or write it down so you can use it again when you return to the Terminal.
To add to the bottom of the list, use the down arrow and enter:
Put your UUID in the space provided. directory: /run/media/deck/[drive name] ext4 defaults,nofail 0 0
The last ‘nofail’ portion is mandatory. Without this modification, the Steam Deck cannot be started without the drive attached. Learning this additional information will allow you to use the Steam Deck normally when traveling.
Check for acceptable capitalization, punctuation, and spacing to avoid a failed boot. In contrast to the lowercase “eggs” we used, Linux capitalizes its. Verify in the Linux file manager how it has been formatted, and then enter it in precisely as it appears.
Start your gaming system back up and then head into the storage and configuration menus while in game mode. The drive’s icon should now be in the primary menu with the internal and SD card options. You can make it the primary drive, but you can’t pick a different location to install it to without exiting the game and returning to the desktop.
Do not disconnect the drive while the computer is active.
If you unplug a drive or remove the Steam Deck from its Dock, you’ll need to reconnect it before rebooting. Although automatically mounting the disk is a breeze, doing it while the computer is still powered on can be a pain. One can only hope that a patch will soon be released to address this issue.