Left controller and buttons on the Steam Deck
Marcus Mears III / How-To Geek
To upgrade your Steam Deck's SSD unscrew the back cover and open it, then remove the board shield.

Next, fully disconnect the battery and remove the old SSD.

Strip the ESD shield from the old SSD and sleeve it on the new one.

Reconnect the battery, install the new SSD, then put back and secure the board shield and the back plate.

Plan on replacing your Steam Deck’s solid-state drive (SSD) but don’t know how to do it? You can upgrade your Steam Deck’s SSD without much hassle in less than half an hour. We’ll walk you through the Steam Deck SSD replacement procedure in an easy-to-follow step-by-step guide.

What You Need

Before we begin, let’s list the tools you need for the Steam Deck SSD upgrade procedure.

First, you need a #0 and a #1 Phillips screwdriver. If you’re outside the US, those two sizes are known as PH0 and PH1. You also need a pair of tweezers.

We recommend using a flathead screwdriver with a 1.2mm head instead of a #1 Phillips screwdriver for removing the backplate screws. The two bottom screws holding the backplate —shown in the photo below— are much easier to remove with a 1mm flat head. A #1 Phillips screwdriver is too wide to remove those screws without damaging the plastic around the screw holes.

The two bottom screws on the bottom cover have pretty deep screw holes

Next, you’ll need a prying tool. We used an old plastic loyalty card, but you can use a plastic opening pick or a spudger. And, of course, you’ll need an SSD. The SABRENT Rocket 2230 1TB PCIe 4.0 SSD is an excellent choice, albeit a bit pricey, if you don’t know which SSD to get.

SABRENT Rocket 2230 NVMe 4.0 1TB

The SABRENT Rocket 2230 NVMe SSD is an excellent choice for upgrading your Steam Deck SSD.

If you own a 64GB Steam Deck, don’t worry; a Steam Deck 64GB SSD upgrade is possible. The procedure’s the same as with other versions since the eMMC storage unit looks the same as a 2230 M.2 SSD found in other models, and is connected to the same M.2 slot.

Finally, we recommend backing up your Deck with Clonezilla and then copying the clone SSD image to the new SSD. That way, you won’t have to reinstall SteamOS, re-download your games and apps, and reapply all the settings and tweaks you’ve made before.

Warning: Remove your SD Card, if you have one installed, before starting the SSD replacement procedure if you don’t want to break it in half!

Step 1: Place Your Steam Deck in Its Carrying Case

Once you remove the SD card, if you have any, open the Steam Deck carrying case and place your Deck inside it so it’s snuggled in there, preventing any wobble or damage to the analog sticks.

The best way to replace the SSD is by placing your Deck inside its carrying case

Step 2: Unscrew the 8 Screws Holding the Back Plate

Next, remove the eight screws holding the plate. You can use a #1 Phillips screwdriver, but, as we said, removing them with a 1.2mm flat head is much easier.

Remove the eight screws holding the plate and remember that there are four short and four long screws

The screws marked in red are shorter, while the blue ones are more prolonged. Don’t mix the two groups when putting the back cover back. Also, be sure to keep track of the screws and not misplace them.

We've market short screws with red and long screws with blue

Step 3: Pry Open the Back Plate and Remove It

Now it’s time to pry open the cover. Start with either the right grip or left grip side since the locking clips under those two spots are the easiest to loosen up. Once you unhook a couple of locking clips, disconnect the rest with your fingernails or a prying tool.

Pry open the back cover with a prying tool starting from the left of right grip

Once you disconnect every locking clip, remove the back plate entirely and move to the next step.

Step 4: Unscrew the Board Shielding

The insides of the Deck hide the PCB along with the board shielding made of metal. We want to remove the shield. Three screws secure the shielding, one of which hides away under a metal foil rectangle glued to the shield.

Three screws are holding the board shield, one of which is hidden behind an aluminum foil cover

You should only partly remove the foil. Use tweezers to do that and do it slowly, like when trying to remove a paper sticker without tearing it.

Carefully remove the aluminum cover with tweezers

Patiently pull the foil until it uncovers the hidden screw. Pull it away until you have enough headroom to remove the screw with a screwdriver. Use a Phillips #1 screwdriver for this particular screw.

Remove the cover just enough to be able to remove the screw

Remove the other two screwdrivers with a Phillips #0.

Once you remove all three screws, pull the shield up with your fingers and remove it.

You can remove the board shield by pulling it up with your fingers

Step 5: Disconnect the Battery

Now you’ve uncovered the PCB and the SSD. But before you disconnect the SSD, disconnect the battery.

The battery pull tab is tucked between the battery and the housing. Free it up with your finger or tweezers.

Use tweezers or your fingers to untuck the battery pull tab

Next, firmly hold the battery pull tab with your fingers and pull the battery connector directly towards the battery until you fully unhook it.

Disconnect the battery by pulling the batttery pull tab

Wiggle it a bit left and right while pulling it away to disconnect it easier.

Make sure the battery connector is fully disconnected before removing the old SSD

Once you fully disconnect it, move on to the next step.

Step 6: Remove the Old SSD and Its ESD Cover

Now you should remove the old SSD. Remove the screw with a #1 Phillips, then gently grip the SSD with your thumb and index finger and remove it.

Remove the SSD by unscrewing the screw holding it and then pulling it up with your fingers

Once you remove the SSD, pull its electrostatic discharge (ESD) cover —the metal shield encircling the SSD and protecting it from electrostatic interference from other components— by holding the shield and gently pulling the SSD in the opposite direction.

Remove the SSD's ESD shield by holding the shield and pulling the SSD away from it

Step 7: Place the ESD Shielding on the New SSD and Install It

After you remove the shielding from the old SSD, sleeve it on the new one. We held the SSD by its sides and slowly pushed the shielding until it fully covered the storage drive.

Hold the new SSD and sleve the ESD shield on it untill it comletely covers the SSD sans the PCIe port at the bottom

If your SSD is too wide to sleeve the ESD shield on it, separate the shield with tweezers or fingers —the ESD shield is a tape covered with a thin metal layer that encircles the SSD and is glued together at its ends— wrap it around the new SSD and give the two ends covered with adhesive a squeeze to stick them back together.

Once you wrap the electrostatic discharge (ESD) shield around the new SSD, place the SSD inside the M.2 slot and secure it with a screw. Don’t overdo it; stop once you feel the hard wall resistance from the screw.

Install the new SSD and secure it with a screw

Step 8: Reconnect the Steam Deck Battery

After you’ve secured the SSD, you can reconnect the battery. The reconnect procedure is way easier than disconnecting the battery. Just place the plastic connector inside the metal housing and push it by the edge until it’s fully inserted, like in the photo below.

Reconect the battery before putting back the board shield; be sure that the battery connector is fully inserted into the slot

Step 9: Put the Board Shield Back on and Secure It With Screws

Now that you connected the battery connector, put the shield cover back on and secure it with screws. Don’t forget to put back the aluminum foil covering the hidden screw and ensure that the board shield doesn’t squash the fan cable!

After you put the board shield back put back the aluminum screw cover and make sure the shield isn't squezzing the fan cable

Step 10: Clip the Cover Back and Secure It With Screws

Next, clip the back cover back by placing it over the backside, then hold the Deck while gently pressing it until the locking clips click into place. Once you tightly secure the cover, without any gaps between it and the front shell, screw back the eight screws that keep it in place. Be sure not to mix up the short and long screws!

Before you secure the back cover with screws, make sure there aren't any gaps between it and the front shell

The entire Steam Deck SSD replacement procedure shouldn’t take more than half an hour of your time. Once you finish upgrading your Steam Deck’s SSD, either copy the clone image onto the new SSD or reinstall SteamOS. If you opt for the latter, be sure to read our guide on how to reinstall SteamOS on your Steam Deck.

RELATED: How to Emulate the GameCube on Your Steam Deck

Profile Photo for Goran Damnjanovic Goran Damnjanovic
Goran Damnjanovic is a freelance writer specializing in PC hardware, gaming hardware in general, and video games. He has over seven years of experience writing for various online publications, including TechSpot and EsportsHeadlines.
Read Full Bio »