SteamOS Installation Walkthrough Guide

By William Usher 2013-12-15 13:41:00 discussion comments
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So you want to join the new kids club? You want to be part of the new wave of hipsters leaving behind the big bloatware that is Windows and try something smaller, sleeker and steamier? Well, the SteamOS is the right kind of option and you've come to the right place if you're looking for a little help getting it installed.

Valve has up their own “Build Your Own Steam Machine” walkthrough for installing the SteamOS, but if you're not quite sure about the steps or it seems too vague, don't worry, Ars Technica is here to help.

The tech website decided to help get a little more in-depth with building a custom Steam Machine from scratch, which also includes installing the SteamOS cold.

So in case you missed in our previous article, you'll need a spare hard drive, whether it's included with a new PC or part of an older PC, a clean hard drive is necessary with at about 500GB of space.

Now before you can even begin installing the new OS, you'll need to first use an able-bodied PC to grab the OS. You can get the SteamOS from a couple of different ways, including a direct HTTP download from Valve's servers, right here (a 960MB file), or by using a torrent made available courtesy of the Steam Database. And yes, the OS is completely free.

If you have a 1TB hard drive you can use the automated image restore process. While this method still isn't necessarily newb-friendly, it simply requires that you use a formatted 4GB USB stick with a FAT32 file system to download and attach the image restore to the hard drive. You'll need a UEFI compatible system, which means older units may not be viable for this method of installation. Alternatively, you can check your system BIOS setup to see if you can enable UEFI.

If you don't have UEFI but you need a workaround for installing the image of SteamOS, there's a thorough walkthrough for the UEFI alternative provided by Reddit user FrostyCoolSlug. It's a very lengthy process assuming you want to use the image restore option for installing the SteamOS.

The other alternative is the custom installation.

Make sure your BIOS allows for booting from a USB stick. Use the 4GB USB stick, and put the 960MB Debian installer onto the stick. Boot up the system. When you're greeted with the installation screen you can choose either automatic or expert install. Given that you didn't want to go through the whole UEFI thing, an automatic installation is probably the better route.

After the automatic install reboots the system you're going to go through a user log-in procedure so the system can get the latest files and update accordingly.

Now the Ars crew ran into a bit of a snag with the session chooser. The default in the installation is not set to the appropriate session, so before going any further make sure you choose the “Gnome” session to avoid getting trapped in a spiraling circle of nerdom.

That step above is probably the trickiest so you'll need to keep an eye out for it. After that it's just a matter of logging into the desktop account, running the ~/post_logon.sh. script from the command window and doing a system recovery partition in case something goes haywire.

After rebooting you should be able to make use of your new SteamOS. As mentioned, though, this isn't really for newbies, for now, but Valve will get there.
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