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There’s a Steam Deck hack that can fix your microSD card’s speed


If you get a Steam Deck, slide in a microSD card, format it, and begin installing a game, you might notice something: incredibly slow download speeds. Like “Is my internet broken?” speeds. There seems to be something happening for some Deck owners, including myself, that prevents your removable microSD storage from being able to operate at full speed.

There is a fix for it that doesn’t take too long, but note that you’ll need to reformat your microSD card during this process, so you will lose your game installs and anything else you have stored on your card.

But first, a disclaimer that it’s possible that your microSD card is, in fact, what’s slowing things down. My colleague Alice Newcome-Beill tells me that you should buy one that has a U3 write speed and an A2 application class (those little symbols will be inscribed on the card), which means that it has higher random read and write speeds than bargain-bin microSD cards. Sadly, some people receive fake microSD cards that either do not have the advertised speed or capacity.

If your model meets that recommendation but you’re still encountering slow download speeds, here’s a smart and well-documented solution to this problem that worked for me (and apparently many others). It can be found within the Steam forums, thanks to a user that goes by RoyalMetalKnights. It involves many steps, but it doesn’t take a particularly long time to do.

(Note: Absolutely none of the valor of figuring this out belongs to me, but I’m going to post it here for easier viewing and to give this good advice another place to live. I’ve made slight adjustments to the wording for clarity purposes, and I’ve added screenshots to make it easier to follow for beginners.)

Once your Steam Deck is powered on, follow these steps. (Again, take note that you’ll be completely formatting your microSD card, so it’s probably a good idea to first make a backup first. You can do that by copying and pasting your microSD card’s contents to a folder on a computer or onto a cloud storage service.)

A screenshot from within the Steam Deck’s interface

On the Steam Deck, hit the “Steam” button, then navigate down to “Power,” and finally tap “Switch to Desktop.”

A screen showing the list of programs accessible through the Steam Deck’s desktop mode.

Tapping the Steam logo will bring up this Start menu-esque window.

A screenshot showing KDE Partition Manager within the Steam Deck’s desktop mode

Note that the first drive listed within KDE Partition Manager is my microSD card, though this may not reflect what your screen will look like.

A screenshot within the KDE Partition Manager

In this screenshot, I’ve selected the bar of info containing the drive’s details, which is necessary to do before you right-click it (or pull on the left trigger) to open a drop-down menu.

A screenshot within KDE Partition Manager

This screenshot shows the “Delete partition” note within the “Pending Operations” box. Proceed with caution here.

A screenshot from the KDE Partition Manager

Here’s the point of no return for reformatting your microSD card.

A screenshot within the Steam Deck

After reinserting your microSD card, you’ll want to make sure that you set it as default for future installs by highlighting it, then hitting the X button.



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