Steam Deck SteamOS 3.4 Update

SteamOS 3.4 update adds support for external drives and changes up Desktop Mode.

SteamOS 3.4 for Steam Deck adds a host of new options, including changes to KDE Plasma, the option to eject SD cards, and auto-mounting support for external drives.

One thing to note, when the update launched it made changes to SD card paths. This added an extra part to the path which prevented non-Steam games and emulators from working correctly. Thankfully, this change has been reverted, but that’s only temporary, and Valve will relaunch this change in the new year.

On the topic of auto-mounting, I’ve tried it out with my JSAUX M.2 SSD and so far I’ve had no luck. There are several factors at work here, though, so hopefully I’ll have some luck over the Christmas break. If it is working for you, feel free to let me know how you got on over on Twitter.

Full patch notes follow…

Rebased SteamOS on a newer snapshot of Arch Linux
  • This update pulls in the latest performance, security and stability fixes for the underlying packages that are the foundation for SteamOS
  • Most notably, this includes recent changes to KDE Plasma, Steam Deck’s Desktop Mode. Full notes on these updates can be found on KDE’s website herehere, and here. Here are a few of the highlights:
    • New Overview view to see all open windows and virtual desktops
    • Updates to KRunner, the built-in assistant for searching and running tasks
    • New touchscreen gestures
    • New themes and wallpapers
    • Updates to widgets
General
  • Fixed issues with sleep affecting a small number of titles, where specific games would be frozen or exhibit glitchy behavior after waking up
  • Fixed a performance issue that could cause 100ms hitches during gameplay if adaptive backlight was enabled
  • Fixed a graphics driver crash when interacting with the map in DEATH STRANDING DIRECTOR’S CUT
  • Fixed issue with opening file managers if the gamescope session has been restarted
  • Fixed GPU clock settings sometimes not sticking if set manually (thanks to user xperia64 for the amdgpu kernel patch backport)
  • Fixed an issue with fan controller excessive sensor polling causing sporadic fan behavior and higher SSD temps on some NVME drives
  • New firmware for Docking Station
    • Fixes an issue where HDMI 2.0 displays are not detected during wake or boot up
Performance profiles
  • New option to allow Screen Tearing: at the cost of sometimes displaying partial frames, allows for lower average latency when VSync is disabled and the frame limiter is off,
  • Changed performance HUD level 2 to use a horizontal layout. It fits in the letterbox space for games running in a 16:9 aspect ratio.
Storage
  • Re-enabled TRIM for the internal drive as well as supported external storage devices, improving write performance
    • This includes a workaround ensuring that TRIM operations are safe for SD cards that advertise discard support but do not support it
    • Steam will periodically TRIM storage devices as needed
    • New button in Settings → System → Advanced to run trim immediately
  • Added an eject option for removable drives in Settings → Storage
    • This unmounts the removable drive, it does not physically eject it
  • External drives formatted as ext4 are now automatically mounted and available for use in Steam
Input
  • Disabled kernel DualShock 4 and DualSense trackpad → mouse emulation when Steam is running
  • Changed timing of virtual keypresses to improve game compatibility with on-screen keyboard
    • Fixes input issues with apps such as Street Fighter V, EA app
  • Fixed Steam Input’s action set switching based on cursor visibility in Game mode
  • Re-enabled the built-in hid-steam kernel gamepad driver when Steam is not running in desktop mode, and added rumble support to it
  • Added support for the 8BitDo Ultimate Wireless controller dongle
  • Fixed a USB crash when using certain controllers such as the Hori Fighting Stick α
Audio
  • Fixed a case where the default audio device would display “echo-cancel-sink” and audio controls would cease to work correctly
  • Fixed a case where some applications would output audio to the wrong device
  • Fixed an audio driver bug that could lead to on-board audio crackling in some situations
Note: This update was re-released as 3.4.1 to address a regression in how SD cards were handled, and again as 3.4.2 to fix an issue with HDMI/DisplayPort audio going to sleep after being idle on external displays.
Default image
Wesley Copeland

Wesley Copeland is a gaming and tech journalist with over 10 years of experience writing online. Originally starting in video games before specializing in tech and toys, you can find his bylines at IGN, VG24/7, Kotaku, Tech Radar, Games Radar, PC Gamer, and many more. He's also highly passionate about how tech can be used to better our day-to-day lives.