If you get a Steam Deck, slide in a microSD card, format it, and start installing a game, you might notice something: incredibly slow download speeds. Like “Is my internet broken?” speeds. Something seems to be happening for some Deck owners, myself included, that is preventing your removable microSD storage from running at full speed.
There’s a workaround for this that won’t take too long, but keep in mind that you’ll need to reformat your microSD card during this process so you’ll lose your game rigs and anything else you’ve stored on your card.
But first, a disclaimer that it’s possible that your microSD card is actually slowing things down. My colleague Alice Newcome-Beill tells me to buy one with a U3 write speed and an A2 application class (those little symbols will be written on the card), meaning it has faster random read and write speeds than bargain bin microSD cards. Unfortunately, some people receive fake microSD cards that either don’t have the advertised speed or capacity.
If your model fits that recommendation, but you’re still encountering slow download speeds, here’s a clever and well-documented solution to this problem that worked for me (and apparently many others). It can be found on the Steam forums, thanks to a user going through RoyalMetalKnights. It involves a lot of steps, but it doesn’t take particularly long to do.
(Note: Absolutely) no of the courage to figure this out belongs to me, but I’m going to post it here for easier viewing and to give this good advice another place to live. I’ve made minor changes to the wording for clarity, and I’ve added screenshots to make it easier for beginners to follow.)
Once your Steam Deck is powered on, follow these steps. (Again, keep in mind that you will be formatting your microSD card completely, so it’s probably a good idea to create a backup first. You can do that by copying and pasting the contents of your microSD card to a folder on a computer or on a cloud storage service.)