Since about a week or two now, Steam released the beta of their upcoming operating system “for the living room” SteamOS. Being in a beta state, Steam highlights the rough edges of this OS that clearly invites enthusiasts of the concept to an early pic into the system rather than a test drive.
Before sharing my thoughts and discussing the future of consoles further with you, I made this quick step by step installation guide for SteamOS beta.
So go ahead, give it a try!
To know before installing SteamOS
Before you start installing SteamOS, you need to know that you can’t install it “easily” aside of your existing operating system. I do recommend you to use an empty drive / SSD as the installation process will erase everything / partitions on it.
Also, you might want to check if your motherboard offers UEFI support. Without this feature, simply forget about SteamOS for the moment as you won’t be able to install it. If you do have this feature – quickly check that you have this enabled in your motherboard BIOS.
No worries though if you don’t know how to do that – most boards have it enabled by default.
My Steam Box hardware
For this installation guide, I used the following hardware.
- Motherboard: Gigabyte H87N-WiFi
- CPU: Intel core i7 4770k + Noctua low profile fan
- Memory: Corsair Vengeance Pro 8Gb kit
- Storage: Corsair Neutron GTX 120Gb SSD
- Case: LianLi PC-TU100 with a LianLi SFX power supply
I love this setup as it is extremely compact, powerful and silent. Next addition of course will be a proper graphics card once SteamOS will have matured.
Installing SteamOS beta step by step
Ok, so lets start with the step by step guide now 🙂
Step 1 – Download
First step is to download the installation files. Steam offers two choices:
- Default installation (easy – it restores the system – this takes only a few seconds)
- Custom installation (slightly harder – here you have access to the whole linux thingy before finalizing the install so that – if you know what you are doing – you can tweak around a few things).
I tried both and recommend to go with the easy restore one. In my case, the result was the same.
Step 2 – Prepare your USB Drive
You need a USB of at least 4Gb. Before copying the files onto the drive, format your USB the windows format tool (on Microsoft Windows) or using disk utility (on Mac OSX).
Make sure to call the drive SYSRESTORE.
Step 3 – Extract and Copy
Once your download is finished, extract the zip file on your computer and then, copy the whole content to your USB drive that you just prepared.
Step 4 – Boot into installation
Once the files are copied, eject your USB and stick it into your DIY “steam box”. Start the system and make sure to boot with the UEFI onto the USB drive. On my Gigabyte H87 motherboard, I press F12 at boot and select as following from the menu.
Step 5 – Restore
On the first screen, you should get something like this. Select “Restore Entire Disk”
Then you should get a few lines of linux goodness before the installer starts restoring the bits and pieces of steam OS from your USB to your computers drive.
On the last screen, select reboot and you are done.
Step 6 – Done
This is it, now your system is ready to go. It should reboot and directly start SteamOS (this takes only a few seconds on an SSD).
SteamOS beta troubleshooting
The only issue I encountered while installing is the black screen after the SteamOS boot splash screen. The guys at LinuxUser.co.uk found a way to solve that by removing a short piece of command line.
You need to play with the up and down keys and press E to enter the custom boot menu. And then delete the “nomodeset” of the command line that appears. Press F10 and it should work!
My impressions … coming soon
So this is how you can easily and quickly (less than 15minutes) install SteamOS beta on a DIY Steam box. I played quickly with the system and ended up hitting limitation fairly easily. But lets keep this for later.
Enjoy & Merry Xmas!