It’s a horrible moment when you realize your expensive Steam Deck isn’t working properly. I recently tried to play a game I had purchased, but found that the Steam Deck screen would not turn on even after I force restarted my handheld. Fortunately, I was able to get it working again before I had to do anything drastic. Still, I was so surprised by the experience that I thought I’d write a guide on how to fix this problem for anyone else experiencing it.
There are a few things you can try if you can’t turn on your Steam Deck. Hopefully, one of these fixes will get you back in the game quickly and can put your wallet at ease.
Why is this happening?
There are several reasons why your Steam Deck won’t turn on. I will discuss how to handle these situations in the following sections:
- The battery is dead
- The charging cable is damaged
- The charging adapter is not supported.
- software glitch
- The power button is stuck
- damaged hardware
Let’s start with the simplest solution. If the Steam Deck’s battery is low or depleted, it may not be able to turn on.
The solution: load it: Plug your Steam Deck’s charging cable into an electrical outlet, then plug the other end into the Steam Deck. Let it charge for at least 3 hours and then see if it responds when you press the power button. If so, you can play the best Steam Deck games again.
Check the charging cable
A depleted Steam Deck battery could be caused by a faulty charging cable or power outlet, causing your handheld to not receive a charge (or a sufficient charge).
Solution #1: Inspect the charging cable and outlet: Inspect the charging cable and make sure it is not damaged. You should also check if the outlet is the problem by plugging the charging cable into another outlet to see if it gives your Steam Deck a charge that way. If the cable appears damaged, you will need to use or purchase a new one. If you don’t want to pay for the expensive official adapter, then JSAUX’s replacement power charger will do the trick for less.
Solution #2: Use a compatible adapter: Steam Deck requires a charging adapter that can provide at least 45W; Otherwise, the battery will charge much more slowly and drain during use, even if it’s plugged in. If the charging cable you are using is not the original one, you should change it to a 45W or higher one.
JSAUX Power Charger for Steam Deck
Using the proper charging cable for the Steam Deck allows you to game your handheld while it’s plugged in and charging, without draining the battery. This JSAUX is five feet long and comes with a right-angled USB-C adapter for convenient charging.
Initiate forced reboot or forced recovery
Sometimes the Steam Deck software can crash and cause the device to freeze. This happened to me the other day. The game I was playing suddenly started to stutter and work abnormally. I did force the Steam Deck to reboot but this only resulted in a black screen even though I could hear the startup sound and realized the device had tried to turn back on. Fortunately, doing a hard reset recovery fixed this. Here’s how to force restart and force restart the Steam Deck.
The solution no. Fix #1: Forced Reboot: Press and hold the power button for 12 seconds to force restart the Steam Deck. If everything works again and looks normal, then you are good to go.
The solution no. Solution #2: Hard Reset: If forcing a restart didn’t fix the problem, press and hold the Volume Up button and the Power button for a few seconds to start a forced recovery. You’ll have to wait a few seconds while it reboots, but hopefully the Steam Deck will turn back on after that.
check that power button
Some debris or damage to the case may be preventing the power button from clicking as usual.
The solution: carefully clean the steam deck: You’ll want to carefully clean the area around the power button with a toothpick or special cleaning tools. Do not act aggressively with cleaning implements and do not use water or other liquids, as both methods can cause permanent damage to the steam hood if you are not careful.
get it fixed
If nothing we’ve discussed has helped you get your Steam Deck back on, it may be damaged and in need of repair.
The solution no. Tip #1: Buy Replacement Parts: If you’re the type of person who likes to fix things yourself, it’s nice to know that Steam partners with iFixit for repair kits, guides, and replacement parts. You can also find replacement parts on Amazon if you can identify the problem.
Solution #2: Let the professionals fix it: If you’re more inclined to let the professionals handle the repairs, you’ll want to contact Steam Deck support. (opens in a new tab). They can give you additional troubleshooting tips and otherwise help you out.
Play again in no time
After spending a decent amount of money on a Steam Deck and playing your favorite games on it, you’re in a panic when you realize your handheld isn’t working properly. But just because the system won’t turn on doesn’t mean it’s absolutely broken. Taking the time to let your handheld recharge or inspect the charging cable can go a long way in getting you back to gaming.
Of course, sometimes an update or game crash can cause the software to crash. If that’s the case, restarting your console or putting it into recovery mode can get it back to behaving normally. If not, it could be a tactile issue like a stuck power button or damaged internal hardware. You can always try to fix these more serious issues yourself or contact Steam for additional help.