Steam Deck SSD installation: How to upgrade your storage drive

Running out of room on your Steam Deck SSD drive? Here’s how to upgrade every version, including the 64GB one to store even more games.

Getting your Steam Deck open is incredibly easy. You just have to lay everything out and make sure you don’t lose the screws. Also, anything you don’t recognize, maybe don’t unplug. It’s like a good stir fry.

You’ll need all ingredients ready before you begin, and make sure you keep a tidy desk during the process. It’ll just make things far smoother. The whole process, including installing SteamOS took us about an hour, so be sure to download everything beforehand too.

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The list below has links to our recommendations, in case you’re missing any of the needed items.

Everything you need to upgrade your Steam Deck SSD

The Steam Deck only takes 2230-sized NVMe drives. These are usually found in older MacBooks, Surface laptops, and other smaller devices. They work exactly the same, they’re just about the size of a couple of Iced Gems.

Sabrent, the maker of SSDs and other PC parts, has handily released an easy-to-get 2230 SSD that’s available on Amazon. You can get up to a terabyte for roughly a similar price of those on eBay seen below.

You can grab one from eBay, which is where we got ours

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DriveSizePrice (subject to change)
WD SN5301TB$139.64
WD SN5301TB$143.68
WD SN530512GB$79.89
Kioxia (Toshiba) BG4 256GB/512GB256GB$19.99

Make sure you power down the Steam Deck completely. We’re going to be disconnecting the battery and touching its insides. The last thing you need to do is fry your Steam Deck, or yourself, because of dangerous acts of stupidity.

Also, remove the SD card if you have one. We don’t want to short it in a freak accident.

Valve recommends you depower it to 25% or below, but unless you’re going to be stabbing the battery with the screwdriver, you should be fine.

Remove the back of the Steam Deck

On the back of the Steam Deck is eight screws. Using your Phillips head screwdriver, carefully unscrew and set them aside. The short screws align with the four in the center of the device, while the four longer ones side at the outer edges.

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If your screws are ‘stripped’, in that while being produced they lost their grip and the screwdriver isn’t sticking, stop screwing. You’ll make things worse. We wound up using a flathead bit to forcefully begin the process.

Unclip the back of the Steam Deck’s case

Using a spudger, or another tool (don’t use a screwdriver, you could damage the case), move along the right side of the case from the top to the bottom. The case will eventually come undone and you can take it off with a gentle tug from the gap you’ve made.

Set it aside and stare deep into the vortex of the various bits and bobs.

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Removing the Steam Deck storage drive

You’ll be immediately greeted with a metal plate. It’s recommended you use tweezers, but as long as you’re careful, you can peel back the metal sticker to reveal the hidden screw.

Again, using the PH0 or 00 bit, remove the hidden screw and two others to loosen the metal plate. You can then place it to the side for reassembly.

Disconnect the battery

Some guides recommend tugging on the cable’s loose material. We decided to disconnect the plastic connector from its sheath first. Once disconnected, you can push back the connector until we need to reinsert it.

Replacing the NVMe drive

In a wrapper, you’ll see the 2230 drive. Remove the screw and set it aside, carefully pulling out the drive by lifting gently and pulling it out from its socket.

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Remove the wrapper from around the 2230 SSD and place it onto your new drive. Slot the new drive in and screw it down to keep it in place. This is essential to keeping your drive cool while in use.

Reassemble the Steam Deck

Now reverse everything you’ve done. It’s been super stressful, but you’ve made it. Don’t forget to reconnect the battery. Place the metal plate and snap the back of the Steam Deck into place. We can now move on to the software side of things.

Flash a USB stick with SteamOS

This can be done on either Linux, macOS, or Windows. We recommend using Etcher for this, as it’s super simple. Once you’ve downloaded Etcher, download the correct SteamOS file.

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Follow the instructions on Etcher, choosing the file and the correct drive. If you’ve formatted the drive beforehand, and given it a name, Etcher bypasses this. Just know which brand of USB stick you have and you should be fine.

Once Etcher is finished, pull the USB stick and slot it into your Steam Deck’s USB-C hub. If you have the official Dock or the JSAUX one, these will be fine. If not, make sure to grab one with power passthrough, as you don’t want the Deck to run out of battery halfway through.

How to load the Steam Deck bootloader

With the device completely off, press and hold the volume down button and then press power. Once you hear the chime, let go of the volume down button and wait a few seconds. On your first attempt, it could take a little while longer than normal.

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Reinstalling SteamOS on the new Steam Deck SSD drive

With the USB-C hub connected, it should now show you the USB drive we’ve just flashed. Use the d-pad and face buttons to navigate the menu and you should then be booted into the LiveUSB version of SteamOS.

There are going to be a few options at the top. We need to choose Reinstall SteamOS. The others are what you’d choose if you wanted to sell the Deck, or recover data.

Once you click that, it’ll begin the reinstallation process. Follow any instructions that pop up and you’ll be ready to move on.

This can take up to about an hour, so set aside some time. Once the Deck has fully installed SteamOS and all the updates are done, you’ll be able to log back in and reap the rewards.

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If you want to install Windows on this device, or dual-boot, you can absolutely do so, and here’s how to partition your drive.

You can find the rest of our Steam Deck guides, which include adding extra external storage, and how to play GoG and Epic Games on SteamOS.

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