Valve’s Steam Deck can run thousands of PC games pretty much anywhere. The console uses a variation of the Linux operating system instead of Windows and runs games through a compatibility layer called the Proton. Most of the time, Valve verified games play fine, but sometimes there are sneaky bugs that can be fixed by switching the Proton version.
Of course, the latest version is meant to bring all the fixes from the previous builds and more, but sometimes games get a bit unconventional with subtle changes. You can test different versions of Proton per game in your library instead of customizing your entire collection. We’ll show you how to change the Proton version on your Steam Deck and where to look for the latest compatibility notices.
How to change Proton version on Steam Deck
If you’re finding annoying bugs or performance issues with your favorite game, it’s worth checking out ProtonDB, a community-run database of leaderboards for almost every game available on Steam Deck. Users can report significant bugs and tips on how to fix them, usually by tinkering with the Proton version.
Look up your current game in ProtonDB’s search bar to see which version the community recommends in the Crafting Steps section. More often than not, switching to the state-of-the-art Proton Experimental is a panacea. Still, some older games benefit from a specific build, so follow our steps to choose the most suitable version.
- Select your chosen game from the Steam Deck library carousel.
- Navigate to Settings gear on the right side of the game page and select it.
- From the pop-up game settings menu, navigate to and select it Characteristics.
- Select in this game properties screen compatibility from the menu on the left.
- Check the box titled “Force use of a specific Steam Play compatibility tool.’
- Select your desired Proton version from the new drop down box below.
- Return to your game and check for updates if it doesn’t happen automatically.
Congratulations, you’re done! It’s that simple. If your game has more issues, or your selected Proton version doesn’t fix current issues, use the same steps to try a different one. In general, it’s best to stick with the latest version, but if you want to install non-Steam games on Steam Deck, you may need to tinker with older or experimental Proton builds.
For a more detailed explanation of what Proton is and how it interacts with SteamOS, see our Steam Deck Software Guide. Once you’re comfortable customizing your new portable console, you can load it up with additional software and games. Consider getting one of the best SD cards for Steam Deck to ensure you never run out of storage space.
Samsung Evo Plus microSDXC
Steam Deck is a perfect match for Samsung’s microSDXC cards, with read and write speeds tuned to maximize the console’s capabilities. Available in 64GB, 128GB, 256GB and 512GB.