How to Quickly Enable SSH on Steam Deck [6 Steps]

Enabling the SSH on a Steam deck can easily be done through the console. The hard part is setting up an SSH client on your PC to connect it to a Steam deck!

Updated on Dec 22, 2023
Fact checked by Dean Nastevski |
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How to Quickly Enable SSH on Steam Deck [6 Steps]

Trying to turn on the Steam deck SSH service will enable you to transfer files wirelessly through remote access to your PC, so you won't need a cable anymore. However, you will need to have a strong WiFi network connection. I was once trying to transfer files from a PC to a Steam deck with a bad connection, and it's just bad and slow! Knowing that below you can see step-by-step how to enable SSH on your Steam deck.


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Get into Desktop Mode on Your Steam Deck  

First thing first, you'll have to get into desktop mode on your Steam deck. This will enable us more functionalities to open up some apps like the "Konsole" terminal where we'll enable the SSH service. To do this, simply hold the power asson, scroll a bit, and select the "Switch to Desktop" option.


Steam Deck How to Enter Desktop Mode

The desktop mode should change up the view a bit on your Steam deck. I've found it hard at times to exit the Steam desktop mode, but you can go back to it after you're done setting up the SSH! 


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Open up the "Konsole" Terminal App and Set Up Password 

To open the terminal app on the Steam deck, click on the bottom left home asson, and under the "System" section select "Konsole". If you can't find it somehow, you can also look for it in the upper search tab.

In the terminal app, you'll need to set up a password for your Steam deck. To do this, type in the following command "passwd", and hit Enter. This will prompt you to enter and re-enter a new password of your choosing. I personally have forgotten my password and had a hard time connecting my SSH, so make sure you remember it!


Steam Deck Enter Konsole and Set Password

If you've set up a Steam deck password previously, then you don't have to do this step. But if you haven't, make sure to enter a secure password of your liking. 


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Enable the SSHD Using a Command

With the password all set and done, enabling the SSH service on your Steam deck can be done by typing in the following command "sudo systemctl enable sshd" in the "Konsole" app, and hitting Enter. I once messed up the command and the whole process didn't work for me, so make sure you type in the command word-for-word and then restart your Steam deck!


Steam Deck How to Enable SSH

SSHD stands for SSH Daemon, which basically means there aren't a lot of security measurements when it comes to transferring files from your PC to your Steam deck. So make sure you only enable SSH on a Steam deck on a secure and trusted WiFi network!


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Download an SSH Client App on Your PC

After you enable SSH on the Steam deck, you can put it down for now and get to your PC. On your PC, you'll need to download an SSH client app. There are many different client apps for different operating systems, but what I'll recommend is WinSCP for Windows PCs!


Steam Deck SSH Get WinSCP

We'll be using the client app to connect and transfer files from the PC to the Steam deck for which you must enable SSH. When you install WinSCP or a client app of your choosing, no matter which Steam deck you've got, we're ready to connect it to a PC! 


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Open and Set Up the SSH Client App 

When you open up the WinSCP app, a login screen will appear on your screen. I've messed up entering some information here and it didn't allow me to set up the SSH, so be careful to enter this correctly. Now here's what must be entered to log in on a PC with the Steam deck after you enable SSH:

  • File protocol: SFTP
  • Host name: steamdeck (use the Steam deck IP address if this doesn't work)
  • Port number: 22 
  • User name: deck
  • Password: enter the password you set up at the beginning

Steam Deck WinSCP SSH Setup

After you enter all these details, click on "Save", enter any site name you want, and then click on "Login". If the host name above doesn't work for you, the Steam deck IP address can be seen by typing the following command "ip a" in the "Konsole" terminal app on the device. 


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Optional: Disable the SSHD on Your Steam Deck

We saw previously that when enable SSH Daemon on your Steam deck, it can be a security risk depending on what WiFi network you're using. That's why there's an option to disable the SSH Daemon by typing the following command "sudo systemctl disable sshd" in the Steam deck console app. To enable SSH again, just use the command we saw above!

And that's everything there is on how to enable SSH on a Steam deck. Even if you connect the Steam deck to a TV, the SSH service will continue on working so you can easily have remote access and transfer files wirelessly with the device!

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