Customize your boot screen with this easy Steam Deck hack

Are you tired of that stock boot animation on your Steam Deck? Here we’ll show you a few cool alternatives and tell you how to put them to use. It’s not hard and can be a fun (or funny) way to spice up your handheld.

Steam Deck owners on Reddit worked out how to change the handheld’s boot animation about six months ago. Since then, scores of users have created custom splash screens for the Deck. There is even an entire repository full of creative replacements.

The original method for editing the boot screen involved messing around with system files. Valve has since made it so that users don’t have to compromise SteamOS system files, but it does still involve getting into the guts of the OS. However, it is still relatively straightforward.

The first thing you want to do is get your Steam Deck into Desktop Mode. Do this by pressing the Steam button, navigating to “Power,” and selecting “Switch to Desktop.”

Next, you’ll have to reveal hidden folders. The easy way to do this is to open Dolphin (SteamOS’s file explorer), then hit Ctrl+H. The longer route is to tap the Options icon in Dolphin (the “sandwich” in the upper right corner), and select “Show Hidden Files from the menu.

Now you need a folder to hold your custom splash screen. Actually you need a couple of nested folders. So go to ~/.steam/root/config and add one called “uioverrides.” Go into the uioverrides folder and create another called “movies.” Your custom splash screen will live here. This is the first place that SteamOS will look for a boot video. If one is not here, it pulls the default from ~/home/deck/.local/share/Steam/steamui/movies.

If you are creating a video from scratch, there are a few things to remember. The resolution should be as close to 1280×800 as possible for the best results. It also has to be in .webm format. If it’s not, simply replacing the extension with .webm should work. For example, if the video is boot.mov, rename it to deck_startup.webm. Custom boot videos can only be 10 seconds or less, so plan your animation time.

There are various ways to get your custom splash screen onto your Steam Deck. The easiest is to simply email it to yourself, open Firefox on the Deck and retrieve the clip from your email. You can also submit it to the Boot Videos website for everyone to use and download it from there. There’s also a Reddit thread that serves the same purpose.

Of course, if you aren’t talented (or are as lazy as me), you can just use any of the pages and pages of videos other users have submitted. I’ve embedded a few of my favorite ones throughout this article. I love the Stranger Things theme (above) the best. It is very well done.