How to Force Restart a Steam Deck

In this quick guide, we will show you how to force restart the Steam Deck.

Steam Deck Force Restart

Knowing how to force a restart on your Steam Deck is useful, as it can help get your device working again after it has locked up. It is also a method that is worth trying if it appears like your Steam Deck won’t turn on.

While it is a straightforward procedure to follow, you should only ever do it when your device has completely locked up.

It would be best to be cautious when doing this because a forced restart doesn’t allow the operating system to shut down cleanly. By performing a forced reset, your Steam Deck will be powered off at a hardware level with no interaction from the operating system.

Over the following two sections, we are going to show you two different ways to restart your Steam Deck. The first will show a graceful and safer method for restarting your device. The second method covers performing a forced restart.

Attempting a Graceful Restart

Before you try and force restart your Steam Deck, you should try performing a normal restart. While your Deck looks like it’s locked up, there is a chance the underlying operating system is still functioning.

This section will attempt to bring up the power menu and perform a graceful restart of the operating system. While if your Deck has locked up, this likely won’t work, it’s a safer option if it does work.

1. Let us start by checking whether the operating system is still responding by attempting to bring up the power menu.

Since your Steam Deck is locked up, the easiest way to do this is to hold the power button down for three seconds and release it. Please don’t hold the power button down too long, as it will cause a forced restart.

Force open restart menu

2. If the operating system is still functioning, the following menu should appear on your screen. However, if the power menu doesn’t appear, you should swap over to our next section, which covers performing a forced restart.

If you are fortunate enough that your Steam Deck hasn’t completely locked up, use this menu and click the “Restart” option.

Restart the Steam Deck

3. Before your Deck will restart will now be asked to confirm your action.

To restart your Steam Deck, click the “Confirm” button.

Confirm Restart

Performing a Forced Restart of the Steam Deck

In the unfortunate case that the Steam Deck has locked up completely, you can perform a forced restart.

The forced restart works at a hardware level, meaning it will continue to work no matter what your Steam Deck is doing. Resetting your Steam Deck using this method should be considered a last resort, but it is a helpful functionality to have available.

1. The process of performing a forced restart on your Steam Deck is incredibly straightforward. There are no secret buttons you have to press down using a pin.

All you have to do to force a restart on your Steam Deck is hold down the power button for ten seconds. Your screen should shut off completely.

Force Restart the Steam Deck

2. Your Steam Deck should power itself back on after a few minutes.

However, if nothing is happening, try turning it back on yourself by pressing the power button again.

Power Back on

3. At this point, you should hopefully have a fully functioning Steam Deck again.

However, if your device is still refusing to respond, and you have ensured the device is charged, you may have to put the Steam Deck into recovery mode.

Recovery mode allows you to completely reset and re-image your Deck so it will be how it was when it was shipped from the factory.


Hopefully at this point you will now have successfully force reset your Steam Deck and now have it back up and running.

As mentioned throughout this tutorial you should try and leave a force restart as a last resort. The reason for this is that it doesn’t give the operating system any chances to safely shutdown. It’s a bit like pulling the power out of your computer while it is still running.

However, sometimes it is the only real option to get your Steam Deck working again after it has managed to become locked up.

Please feel free to comment below if you have any questions about force resetting your device.

If you found this quick guide to be helpful. we recommend checking out our many other Steam Deck tutorials.

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