Steam Deck is possibly one of the most anticipated handheld consoles but as it is pretty new, the console gets a lot of errors/issues and one of the very common errors is Steam Deck crashing/freezing completely after 10 to 15 minutes of gameplay or even less.
If you are going through something similar where you load a game and the Steam deck goes to a Black screen then load back into the game completely frozen.
Let’s First try to understand why Does the Steam Deck Crashes?
Why does my Steam Deck keep crashing?
Your Steam Deck keeps on crashing due to the following reasons:
- Faulty or fake micro SD card
- Corrupted data file
- Random software bug
- Game Error
- Network Error
- Faulty Hardware
Upcoming are solutions to each cause that are verified by the users themselves who faced steam deck freezing completely.
Solution 1: Force Reboot Steam Deck
The first thing you need to do is force reboot your console to overcome Steam Deck crashing/freezing
Just follow these steps:
- Connect your AC adapter to your Steam Deck and wait for 15 to 20 minutes until the battery charges.
- Press and hold the Power button for at least 12 seconds
- Press the power button once to turn the console back on and check if Steam Deck all freezing is fixed.
Now moving on to the next solution to fix the Steam Deck crashing.
Solution 2: Disconnect and reinsert Micro SD Card
If you are facing Steam Deck crashing due to a specific game and if that game is on your SD card then you should try to disconnect the micro SD card from your Deck and try to run another game.
If you don’t face Steam Deck freezing/crashing while playing the games stored in internal storage then the issue is in your SD card.
So, it’s best you replace the micro SD card with a new one.
Let’s try installing the game on the internal memory.
Solution 3: Install Game on Internal Memory
Some games are having glitches on SD cards and making the steam deck crash randomly. Try moving your game to your internal memory and play without any SD card.
It has been a success for many users as u/Keeneye7172 had too:
Solution 4: Re-Initialize DNS
I know this might sound extra but I had to include it as this user has fixed their error and it’s quite possible for network errors to freeze a console in some cases.
How to Re-Initialize DNS on Steam Deck?
Re-initializing DNS is simple:
- Go to Networks, by clicking the WiFi icon in taskbar
- Go to “Configure Network Connections”
- Click on the Connection you are currently connected to
- In the tabs in the right-most sidebar, click on IPv4
- Change the current method to Manual
- And add the DNS:
- If needed you can do the same for IPv6 as well.
Solution 5: Update the Game
If the game was running fine, and now it causes issues for you?
Then, it can be possible due to the latest update patch being released making the last version unstable.
Go to your games on steamOS and look if there’s an update available.
Verify if your game is a compatible game. Let’s see how to check if a game is compatible with the next solution.
Solution 6: Run a compatible game
The steam deck has the ability to run almost all desktop games available but some games are designed for desktops which can’t run as nicely on steam deck.
Check if your game is a VERIFIED GAME and if it’s PLAYABLE, ask your friends or check online for the manual tweaks you have to do:
Solution 7: Update the Steam deck
Your SteamOS version may not be up to date and cause compatibility issues.
To check if you are using the latest OS of steam on Steam Deck, you need to:
- Tap on the Steam Button to open sidebar
- Go to Settings
- Find System (second option)
- A yellow icon will appear that will tell you if an update is available and what’s new
- Click on Apply and Restart the Steam deck for the console to complete the update.
- Repeat the process to see if there’s any other update pending until it says it is upto date
If you are unable to update your steam deck, consider checking Steam Deck Not Updating guide of ours to help you.
And, if steam deck still freezes, you might need to see a different proton version.
Solution 8: Change Proton Version
Steam Deck uses Proton as a compatibility layer that enables the console to run Windows games.
There are multiple collections of high-performance graphic APIs and Wine working together to make it work.
There’s a different proton version available for each game and sometimes one proton version works for one game and the other works for the other game.
This user from Reddit fixed their Steam Deck freezing issue by changing it to an experimental proton version.
How to Change Proton Version in Steam Deck?
To change the proton version, you need to select your game
- Then go to Settings of the game
- Now go to Properties
- In the left sidebar, choose the second option: Compatibility
- In the new menu opened check the box presented
- You’ll find Proton Experimental
- Tap on it to find all the versions you can select from.
Solution 9: Reinstall the Game
- Press the Steam Button to open Settings
- Scroll down in the sidebar to find Storage
- Find the game you want to delete
- Tap on the game
- Press X to Uninstall the game
Now you need to reinstall this game by going to the steam store.
Solution 10: Reset Steam Deck
To reset Steam Deck from the console itself is one of the easiest ways to get reset done:
- Press the Steam Button to open Settings
- Under System Menu
- Scroll to the bottom of the page to Factory Reset button
- This will take the Steam Deck back to its original state without anything in its memory.
This will help you clear any cache/storage/software related issues that maybe causing your games to freeze on Steam Deck.
Solution 11: Re-image Steam Deck
This solution has worked for many users in fixing Steam Deck crashing as re-imaging will wipe all user info, installed games, applications, or operating systems, and replaced them with stock SteamOS.
This system image is not officially launed for the SteamOS 3 version so, there are chances it might not work properly but according to Steam it will be launched soon officially.
You need to have a USB with 8GB minimum space and download the recovery image from the Steam store in the USB before starting the solution.
- If you have a Windows PC you need to use Rufus utility and select the recovery file and write it to your USB drive.
- When it’s done, select Close and eject the drive.
- On Linux OS you can use Balena Etcher to write the recovery file to your USB drive.
- Or else you can do with a simple command line
- Find the file in the downloads with the help of cd /home/USERNAME/Downloads
- Now paste sudo lsblk to find the name of your USB drive and you can recognize by the size of your USB.
- Paste this line of code to write the recovery file:
bzcat steamdeck-recovery-1.img.bz2 | dd if=/dev/stdin of=/dev/sdX oflag=sync status=progress bs=128M
- Set /dev/sdX to the USB device you inserted which is the name you found.
- Use a USB-C adapter or hub to plug the boot disk in.
- Now hold the Volume Down and the Power Button until you hear the chime, and you’ll be booted into the Boot Manager.
- And boot from the EFI USB Device.
- Your screen will go black during the booting process but you need to wait.
- Once booted you will be in a desktop environment, you can navigate using the trackpad and trigger.
And you will be able to fix Steam Deck freezing/crashing.
If this is also not helping then it’s sadly a hardware issue you are facing, and there are a lot of faulty steam decks and repairs/returns are not a big hassle. Upcoming solutions are your last resort proabably.
Solution 12: Contact Steam Deck Support
If you cannot get rid of the Steam Deck crashing or freezing after re-imaging, force rebooting, you should contact Steam Deck support and ask them to perform the necessary repairs on the console.
Solution 13: RMA the device
If the steam deck support couldn’t help you sort out the issue, the last way you can save your steam deck is to send it for repair and it’s a simple process if you live in a supported region.
Let me know what fixed the issue for you, and which games were causing the steam deck to freeze?