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Valve recently released its Beta version of SteamOS, based on the Debian distro of Linux. Naturally, we were intrigued by its release and wanted to take the new OS for a test run. We’ve put together a guide on how to install the operating system, and also provide you with our hands-on impressions of Valve's software.
NOTE: Before beginning, we highly recommend that you back up everything on your system before attempting to install SteamOS, as the installer in this guide will erase your entire drive.
To get started, you’ll need to make sure that your rig meets the minimum hardware requirements: Intel or AMD processor, 4GB of RAM or more, a 500GB hard drive or larger, Nvidia video card (Valve states AMD and Intel graphics support are coming soon), UEFI boot support, a USB port for installation, and a 4GB flash drive or larger.
How to Install SteamOS instructions:
Step 1: Format your flash drive to FAT32
Plug in your flash drive and format it to FAT32. To do this, right click on the USB drive in My Computer and select format. Then change the file system from NTFS to FAT32 (if it isn’t already FAT32). Then click format to freshly wipe your flash drive.
Step 2: Download the zip installer
Download the SteamOSInstaller.zip from repo.steampowered.com/download.
Step 3: Extract the files from the zip file
Right click on the SteamOSInstaller.zip you just downloaded and extract it to your flash drive. We used the free 7-Zip software to do this. Do not click on or open the flash drive to view its contents after the unzipping is complete, as this will mess up your extraction, and you won’t be able to boot from the key after that.
Step 4: Reboot your system and boot from your flash drive
Reboot your system and press F8, F10, or F12 to get to your Boot Menu and select your flash drive as your Boot Device. Make sure the Boot Option says UEFI and then the name of your flash drive, for example, UEFI SanDisk Cruzer.
Step 5: Run the automated installer
You will then boot into a black screen with a purple Steam logo. This screen will have a list of three options, which include Automated Install WILL ERASE DISK!!!, Expert Install, and Rescue Mode. Select Automated Install WILL ERASE DISK!!! by pressing enter and the OS will start installing onto your hard disk. You will then see a white and purple installation screen for about 10-15 minutes, as it installs a fresh copy of SteamOS onto your machine.
Step 6: Remove your installation device
After the OS finishes installing you’ll be prompted to reboot your system and to remove your installation device.
Step 7: Select SteamOS Linux GNU/I
The OS will boot up and have you choose between two options: SteamOS GNU/Linux, with Linux 3.10-3-amd64 and SteamOS GNU Linux, with Linux 3.10-3-amd64 (recovery mode). Make sure the first option is selected and then hit enter to start the boot up process.
Step 8: Log into SteamOS
You’ll then see a login screen. To login use "steam" as both your password and username.
Step 9: Launch the terminal application to install Steam
Now that you’re at the desktop the last step is to launch the terminal application to install Steam. Go to the top left corner of the OS and click on Activities and then click on the Applications tab. Once the terminal is launched, type in steam and then hit enter to start the installation process. (You will need an internet connection for this installation setup to work)
Step 10: You can now start gaming
After the installer is finished running, you can login into your Steam account and start playing games.
Click the next page for our impressions of SteamOS.