Steam OS UEFI Workaround Method 2

Download Non-UEFI bootable ISO with manual partitioning!

Huge thanks /u/GamePad64 for this method. This is hand-made iso, that has no UEFI dependency with manual partitioning enabled.


SteamOS is an early alpha and you install it on your own risk!

Installation (2 methods in this scenario)

  1. Warning: You must use Win32 Disc Imager from Windows to burn this iso to a USB drive per the original posters instructions ( you can reference the manual steps here).  GamePas64 (author of method) states, “Do not use UNetBootin, it starts to think, that this is Debian installation, but it isn’t.”
  2. (Preferred option) Burning the image to a DVD works very well (I have tested this option)

What is it?

*So, basically this ISO was built from original from Valve. *grub-efi was replaced by grub-pc to drop UEFI dependency and apt-cdrom reposory had been rebuilt (Packages.gz and Release files). *default.preseed file was edited to enable manual partitioning *The ISO image was created using grub-mkrescue (it uses xorriso inside) with original grub.cfg.

This image had been tested in VirtualBox with EFI disabled and on real hardware.

Post installation

  • These steps are VERY important, as this installation method is of the type Valve considers a “Custom Installation.”

Screenshot from 2013-12-18 21:28:51

  • After installation is complete, log onto the resulting system (using the Gnome session) with the predefined “steam” account.  The username is “desktop” and the password is “desktop”
  • Open the “Home” folder and run the file “”  Choose to “Run in Terminal.”  This is paramount for big picture mode.
  • Enter your sudo password of “desktop”
  • Installation will commence and reboot the PC.
  • Note: if for some reason the reboot fails to find the kernel, hit “return” and choose the 1st default GRUB boot entry.  The OS will then load.
  • After picking “Gnome” and logging on with the Steam account (password “steam),  hit the “Return to Steam” shortcut on the desktop.


  • If you receive a black screen after booting up, likely this is some odd Nvidia issue
  • Switch to virtual console 2, a.k.a. tty2, with CTRL+ALT+F2
  • Login as “desktop” (password for sudo commands is “desktop)
  • Some have suggested the following:

sudo apt-get purge ".*nvidia.*"
rm /usr/share/X11/xorg.conf.d/55-nvidia.conf
dpkg-reconfigure xserver-xorg
sudo reboot

  • I myself still received a black screen, so what I did was remove my HDMI cable to my low-profile Nvidia card, and reboot using the DVI cable with no other cables hooked into the monitor I was using.  This seemed to do the trick and presented me with the EULA page.
  • Accept the EULA
  • Boot (hopefully) into SteamOS.

SteamOS Community Forum Page


About professorkaos64

Posted on 20131215, in Games, Games for Linux, How-To and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink. 32 Comments.

  1. Could you put image friendly ? cause with manual i get stuck in partition making failed

    • professorkaos64

      These are just a few methods I have found so far. You might fare better with the Debian Conversion method detailed in the feature store. See the main page and the story : I put up what I had so far, and over the course of the week I hope to make some corrections. You’re not the only one, don’t worry. Be sure to read any links in the articles linked in the article or at the bottom. The steam community forums has several helpful posts as well, and people that can help.

  2. I have the same partitioner failed issue 😦

    • professorkaos64

      Which step did you have issue with? I have also read that it has been reported that some UEFI compatible bios systems may not work, i.e. some Gigabyte systems are reported to have issues).

      like above, this is just what I have attempted/tried so far. Give me a little bit, and I will dig and see what I can do for you. The easiest way to do this whole thing is the Debian conversion method. Take a gander at the main lnk posted above, or on the main page at the top, featured articles.

    • professorkaos64

      Also keep in mind this a BETA release, so many of these quirks could hopefully change for the better.

    • professorkaos64

      Did you try burning the .iso to a DVD with software such as CD Burner XP? ( In Linux, you can burn this easily with Brasero or your preferred software. I have tested this and it works fine. The first time I tried I got a partition error on installing Busy Box during the Base Install process. I rebooted and tried again and it was sucessful. Seems this comes up . So keep at it, and you’ll get a functional OS.

      • I was using a USB drive, in the end i followed the syslinux method, you may need to update the syslinux.cfg text, it wouldn’t boot for me, i created the syslinux.cfg as per here and then followed your sources method and it worked great, the fact its all on one line didn’t work i had to do it as bellow, but the system is all running now 🙂

        DEFAULT linux
        TIMEOUT 50
        LABEL linux
        kernel install.amd/vmlinuz
        append initrd=install.amd/gtk/initrd.gz preseed/file=/cdrom/default.preseed DEBCONF_DEBUG=developer desktop=steamos auto=true priority=critical video=vesa:ywrap,mtrr vga=788 — quiet

      • My last post didn’t quite go as planned, check my screenshot here

    • professorkaos64

      Ben, not sure with the screenshot, but syslinux should work ok, I’d give the DVD a shot. This must really* be a beta release 🙂 Hang in there though, that is why I have the landing page for SteamOS workarounds on the main page, I’m doing everything I can to try and help folks. The amount of hardware differences is stagaring, and anything non-UEFI is a crapshot. Keep at it, as will I.

      • Everything seems to be working great now, after a headache or two as i said changed my syslinux.cfg to appear as the sources did it booted fine, installing AMD drivers was a pain but its all fine now, just need to get my ethernet controller working if you’d be any good with that, i’m not 100% familiar with debian terminal commands yet i have a bigfoot killer network e2100 integrated chip, wifi situation for me is terrible

    • professorkaos64

      Great to hear Ben. I had trouble on my test machine after accepting the EULA, I would have a cursor box on the screen, but no SteamOS. I think I may have the issue nailed down, but still looking into things.

      • yeah i did have a issue after installing official drivers and then running the post install script i got the black screen with white cursor, did a reinstall with beta drivers and now i can actually see everything, just waiting for it to download the steam update to try it as i have to Ctrl + ALT + F1 to get into console to startx and login to gnome its a bit of a malarky but its getting there 🙂

      • professorkaos64

        How did you choose the beta drivers? Was this during the Debian installer phase? I have exactly that issue with my own test rig. Thanks for all the comments, I’m sure this will be an ongoing process.

      • I used the package off the AMD website, i followed the workaround posted here by Mikey D

      • professorkaos64

        MikeyD is me* haha. I have a little nvidia card in the test rig, so I can try the website for that after I get the initial install done and see where I get.

      • Lol okay 😛 and hmmm i wonder if the process would be the same, i do have a 8600GT sitting around i can try at some point, need to build myself another test rig i installed the install were discussing on my main rig on a additional HDD and works perfectly fine, if you needed any help or a testing rig for anything give me a shout via my facebook and i’ll lend you a hand

      • professorkaos64

        Sure thing. I am going to keep trying a few things here, and tomorrow if I hit a roadblock. Let me know how that 8800 GT goes. I generally don’t do facebook for outside contacts, so check my contact page and add me any channel there.

      • professorkaos64

        Turns out I did have an AMD card in that rig, totally forget. Hopefully the beta drivers work.

  3. Lars Nørgaard Larsen

    I’m totally gonna seed on this!! (the top one)

  4. I must be doing something wrong, because the USB drive simply gets ignored and BIOS carries on with the boot as usual.
    I did everything according to the guide, any ideas?

    • professorkaos64

      I’ll hook up a spare machine and see what I can come up with.

    • professorkaos64

      I had trouble with the jigdo options making another iso, since the one above doesn’t seem consistant on how it works. Give me a bit and ill pump out a new .iso manually in my Win 7 test VM. I am burning a DVD .iso image to try that as well right now.

    • professorkaos64

      I just tested the DVD burn of the iso in this post and it worked beautifully on a non-UEFI GX780 Optiplex from Dell, Intel Core 2 Duo , Nvidia graphics card (low profile). Give the DVD iso a shot using a preferred image burning software. Ill take a look at the USB method as soon as my Win 7 VM updates.

  5. mobilemeneer

    I tried all the workarounds but unfortunately can’t get it to work with my amd 6570 graphics card. Somehow i end up in a screen with the steamos logo and nothing more. ctrl alt f1 etc doesn;t work but when i push my poweroff button i see it says something like shutting down etc under the logo. Very strange.

    • professorkaos64

      How far did you get? Did you run the post install and then* get stuck? When I get home later I could always try my best to help you out.

  6. i see the steamos logo. But i think the amd beta driver is causing the issue. I read that it’s created for a newer kernel then the kernel in steamos.

    Maybe i will try this workaround:

    1. Have a running SteamOS install with an open console
    2. Purge both fglrx and nvidia drivers and packages from your system
    sudo apt-get remove -purge *fglrx* *nvidia*
    sudo apt-get autoremove
    3. reinstall the drivers, mesa-dri, mesa-glx, and the firmware for good measure
    sudo apt-get install -reinstall xserver-xorg-ati libgl1-mesa-dri libgl1-mesa-glx firmware-linux-nonfree
    4. check to see if an xorg.conf.d entry was created
    sudo ls /etc/X11/xorg.conf.d/
    if not, make one:
    sudo nano -w /etc/X11/xorg.conf.d/20-radeon.conf
    containing this:
    Section “Device”
    Identifier “Radeon”
    Driver “radeon”
    5. Save, exit, reboot, profit

    • professorkaos64

      I may be mistaken, but it sounds like you may have gotten stuck after the “” script part. When you reboot, SteamOS will try to make a recovery partition, but I don’t think that will work, since the Non-UEFI bootable DVD, uses the same recovery/standard image Valve gives out that is setup for 1 TB. To be honest, per the latest addition to the main workarounds article, you really should give Ye Olde SteamOSe a try. It removes a lot of kinks and issues for people. It can be found at:

      The other issue I would get consitantly on test hardware was a blank screen after booting up SteamOS for the first time post-installation. Blinding, but carefully, hitting TAB+SPACE+ENTER to accept the EULA you can’t see worked everytime for me. I’m not sure how that EULA is rendered between the two desktops with the graphics stack, since the steam user has a unique compositor, and the desktop one uses plain Gnome 3 I believe. A script launches between the two seemlessly when you exit and enter Steam itself.

  7. Sick! Just got a brand-new Pearl and I can now read your blog on my phone’s browser, it didn’t get the job done on my aged 1.

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