How to Set Up EmuDeck on Steam Deck | EmuDeck v2.1 Setup Guide

EmuDeck is an exceptional software solution that allows gamers to set up and configure emulators on their Steam Deck, enabling them to play a wide range of classic games on this handheld gaming device. The latest version, EmuDeck v2.1, offers numerous enhancements and new features that make the setup process even easier.

 In this comprehensive setup guide, we will walk you through the step-by-step process of setting up EmuDeck on your Steam Deck, ensuring that you can enjoy your favorite retro games seamlessly.


Before diving into the setup process, it is important to ensure that you have the necessary prerequisites. To get started, you will need the following:

  1. Steam Deck: Any version of the Steam Deck (64GB, 256GB, or 512GB) will work perfectly fine for this setup.
  2. U3 A2 micro SD card: While not mandatory, it is recommended to have a U3 A2 micro SD card for installing your games. The capacity of the card is up to your preference.
  3. USB Drive: If you already have a USB drive with games that you want to copy to your Steam Deck, it can be utilized during the setup process.

Connecting a Drive to the Steam Deck

To copy files to the micro SD card on your Steam Deck, you need to establish a connection between the device and the drive. There are several options available:

  1. USB Type A to USB Type-C Adapter: This is the least expensive option. You can use a USB Type A to USB Type-C adapter to connect a USB stick or an external drive to your Steam Deck.
  2. USB Stick and Adapter: Similar to the previous option, you can use a USB stick along with a USB Type A to USB Type-C adapter to directly connect it to the Steam Deck.
  3. Dock: Using a dock, such as the Parked Sun dock, provides additional functionalities like powering the Steam Deck, offering USB 3.0 ports, Ethernet connectivity, and HDMI output to connect to your TV or monitor. Simply connect the USB cable from the dock to the Steam Deck and connect the desired peripherals and external storage devices.

Formatting the Micro SD Card

If you already have a micro SD card installed and formatted on your Steam Deck, you can skip this step. Otherwise, follow these instructions to format the micro SD card:

  1. Press the Steam button on your Steam Deck.
  2. Navigate to “Settings” and select “System.”
  3. Click on the button to the right of “Format SD card.”
  4. Confirm the formatting process by pressing the “Confirm” button.

Installing EmuDeck

  1. Press the Steam button on your Steam Deck.
  2. Navigate to “Power Options” and select “Switch to Desktop.”
  3. In Desktop Mode, you will see the Firefox browser icon on the lower left of the taskbar. Click on it to open the browser.
  4. Type in “” in the address bar and press Enter.
  5. On the right side of the page, you will find a link to the download page. Click on it.
  6. Download the EmuDeck installer by clicking the corresponding button.
  7. Once the installer is downloaded, open the folder where it is saved, and move the installer file to your desktop.
  8. Double-click the EmuDeck installer icon to start the installation process.
  9. Select “Custom Mode” and click “Continue.”
  10. Choose the location where you want the emulation and ROM subdirectories to be created. It is recommended to select the micro SD card if installed. Otherwise, choose “Internal Storage” and move them later if desired.
  11. Click “Next” and select the appropriate device (Steam Deck).
  12. Choose the emulators you want to enable. Emulators with a gray background are not selected and won’t be installed.
  13. After selecting the emulators, click “Continue.”
  14. Leave the emulator configurations as they are and click “Continue.”
  15. Configure the automatic game saves for RetroArch-based emulators by turning on the feature. Click “Continue.”
  16. If interested, create a free account on RetroAchievements for additional game achievements. Otherwise, click “Skip.”
  17. Choose whether you want to enable bezels for 8-bit and 16-bit systems. Make your selection and click “Continue.”
  18. Select the aspect ratio for Sega consoles, Super NES, Dreamcast, and GameCube games. Set your preferences and click “Continue” for each.
  19. Decide if you want to enable LCD shaders for handheld games. Make your choice and click “Continue.”
  20. Enable CRT shaders for the listed systems if you prefer the original CRT look. Click “Continue.”
  21. Configure the aspect ratio for classic 3D games and click “Continue.”
  22. Emulation Station De will be installed by default. Select your preferred theme from the available options and click “Next.”
  23. Review the summary of the installations and configurations. If everything looks good, click “Finish” to begin the installation process.
  24. Once the installation is completed, you will see a summary screen indicating the successful installation of the emulators.

Copying BIOS and Game Files

To play games on your Steam Deck, you need to copy the BIOS and game files to the appropriate directories. EmuDeck provides a USB transfer wizard for this purpose. Here are the steps to copy your files:

  1. Insert a USB stick or external drive containing the BIOS and game files into the Steam Deck.
  2. If the USB transfer wizard does not automatically appear, you can access it under “Quick Actions.”
  3. Click on the “Add More Games” button and follow the instructions.
  4. EmuDeck will create the necessary folders (BIOS, ROMs, and game system subfolders) on the USB drive.
  5. Safely eject the USB stick or external drive from your Steam Deck.
  6. Connect the USB stick or external drive to your desktop PC to copy the files.
  7. On your PC, navigate to the appropriate folders (BIOS and ROMs) and copy the desired files to the respective folders on the micro SD card or internal storage of the Steam Deck.
  8. Safely eject the USB stick or external drive from your computer.
  9. Reinsert the USB stick or external drive into the Steam Deck.
  10. Click the “Copy ROMs and BIOS to your Steam Deck” button in the USB transfer wizard.
  11. All your files will be transferred to the Steam Deck.

Setting Up the Steam ROM Manager

EmuDeck v2.1 introduces the Steam ROM Manager, which allows you to make your games visible within the Steam Library. To set up the Steam ROM Manager:

  1. Launch the Steam ROM Manager by clicking the “Launch” button in the EmuDeck interface.
  2. You will be prompted that desktop controls will temporarily revert to the trackpad and L2/R2 buttons.
  3. In the Steam ROM Manager, uncheck all parsers and select only the emulators you want to appear in the Steam Library. Emulation Station De and emulators should be selected at a minimum.
  4. You can also enable parsers for individual systems, such as Wii, Wii U, PS2, etc.
  5. Once you have made the selections, click the “Preview” button.
  6. The Steam ROM Manager will provide instructions on how to use it. Follow the steps to parse your games, download artwork, and save the configuration.
  7. Make sure to click the “Save to Steam” button to apply the changes. Wait for the process to complete.
  8. Your games will now be visible within the Steam Library, and you can access them through the Collections tab.

Gaming with EmuDeck

With EmuDeck successfully set up on your Steam Deck, you can now enjoy playing your favorite retro games. Here are a few tips to enhance your gaming experience:

  1. Collections Tab: In the Steam Library, navigate to the Collections tab to access all the games you made available through the Steam ROM Manager.
  2. Emulation Tab: The Emulation tab displays the individual emulators installed by EmuDeck. From here, you can access Emulation Station De and enjoy your entire game library within its user-friendly interface.
  3. Select and Start Buttons: During gameplay, use the Select button to insert a credit for arcade games and the Start button to start the game. Press both the Select and Start buttons simultaneously to exit a game.
  4. RetroAchievements: If you created a free account on RetroAchievements, you can earn achievements while playing retro games from various systems.
  5. Customizing Themes: EmuDeck allows you to customize the themes for Emulation Station De. Use the Theme Downloader feature to explore and download new themes directly on your Steam Deck.
  6. Additional Tools: EmuDeck offers various tools and quick actions, such as Emulator Update, Emulator Manager, EmuDeck Store, Power Tools, Decki Controls, EmuDeck Compression, BIOS Checker, Cloud Backup, Cloud Services Manager, and Uninstall option. These tools provide additional functionalities and options to optimize your gaming experience.


In conclusion, EmuDeck v2.1 is an incredible software solution that simplifies the setup and configuration of emulators on the Steam Deck. By following this comprehensive setup guide, you can easily enjoy a vast library of classic games on your handheld gaming device. EmuDeck’s user-friendly interface and extensive customization options make it an excellent choice for retro gaming enthusiasts. Start your gaming journey with EmuDeck today and relive the nostalgia of your favorite retro games!

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