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Aug 14, 2022 3 min read

How to install PowerTools and other plugins on your Steam Deck

How to install PowerTools and other plugins on your Steam Deck

Thanks to the open nature of the Steam Deck (it's a PC, dummy!), the community is able to develop a whole set of hacks to enable powerful functions on the Deck.

One of such tools is the Decky loader (formally known as plugin loader). With it, you can install various so-called plugins into the gaming mode to enable previously unavailable features.

Today we'll focus on two plugins, PowerTools and QuickLaunch. But before we get to the meat of these two, we need to install the Decky loader.

How to install Decky loader

Installing Decky loader is a multi-step process, but you should only have to do it once. With it comes the plugin store, where you can install everything you need.

Here's what you need to do:

  1. Press the Steam button and scroll down to the Settings window.
  2. Under System, then System Settings activate Enable Developer Mode.
  3. Scroll down to Developer.
  4. Under Miscellaneous enable CEF Remote Debugging.
  5. We now need to boot into desktop mode. Click the Steam button, go down to Power, and then Switch to Desktop. Wait for the Deck to reboot.
  6. Back in the desktop mode, click on the menu button, and open up Konsole.
  7. If you haven't set a password for the terminal yet, do so now. Type in passwd, hit enter, and type in your new password twice. Don't forget it!!
  8. When you've set your terminal password, paste the following code and hit enter: curl -L https://github.com/SteamDeckHomebrew/decky-loader/raw/main/dist/install_prerelease.sh | sh
  9. You're done. Reboot back into gaming mode.

Back in gaming mode, you can open up the Plugin loader by pressing the menu button (that's the one on the right side with the three dots (•••)). At the bottom, you will find the loader. You'll access the plugin store by clicking on the shopping bag icon, where you can install whatever you want.

Starting with QuickLaunch:

What is QuickLaunch and how to install it

From the official Github description:

Steam Deck Plugin Loader Plugin to Quickly Launch Apps from the Steam Deck Quick Access Menu without adding them as Shortcuts

So, whatever software you install through the desktop mode (if it's a Flatpak) can be opened up through this menu without having to boot into desktop mode first. For example, if you installed Spotify and your favourite browser, you'll find them here.

Installing QuickLaunch is super easy, barely an inconvenience. Just click on the shopping bag icon in the plugin loader (you have installed following the guide above, I hope), and click on Install. And you're done.

What are PowerTools, and how to install them

PowerTools are "Steam Deck power tweaks for power users." With it, you can (from the official Github description):

Enable & disable CPU threads & SMT
Set CPU max frequency and toggle boost
Set some GPU power parameters (fastPPT & slowPPT)
Display supplementary battery info
Keep settings between restarts

Similar to QuickLaunch, all you have to do is open up the plugin loader, click on the shopping bag icon and hit Install. Boom, you're done!

Side-note: Some community members, me included, seem to run into an issue where opening up the PowerTools freezes the whole Steam Deck. Sometimes tapping on the screen outside of the PowerTools-sidebar fixes it, but often you have to hard reboot the Deck.

I don't know if the latest version fixes this.

Kevin Wammer
Gamer since the age of 3. Fell in love with tech while hacking PSPs for fun. I have a tri-force on my forearm.
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