Installing and Using Protontricks on the Steam Deck

In this tutorial, we will be showing you how to install and use Protontricks on your Steam Deck.

Steam Deck Protontricks

Protontricks is a wrapper around a tool called Winetricks and is incredibly useful for playing games through Proton.

This tool helps you run games on your Steam Deck that are missing key pieces of software that aren’t available through Wine or Proton. These are typically closed-source libraries that the Proton and Wine teams can’t provide or haven’t yet produced a working replacement for.

Using Protontricks on your Steam Deck, you can easily install missing components to any of the games you are running through Proton.

If you have ever had an issue with a game running through Proton, there is a chance you can fix it using Protontricks. A good source for checking whether a game can be made to run is the ProtonDB. Users often post tips on getting games to function on your Steam Deck.

While you could use Winetricks already, as it is pre-installed on SteamOS, finding the Proton prefix on your Deck can sometimes be tedious. Protontricks turns this process into a two-click process.

Over the following sections, we will show you how to install Protontricks onto your Steam Deck. We will then show you how to use this tool to install a missing component for a broken game, which in our example will be Knuckle Sandwich.

How to Install Protontricks on the Steam Deck

The following tutorial will show you how to install Protontricks on your Steam Deck.

This process is relatively simple as this software is distributed as a Flatpak through the Discover app.

Changing to Desktop Mode

1. To install Protontricks on your Steam Deck, you must be in desktop mode.

You can get to desktop mode by first opening the Steam menu. Open this menu by pressing the STEAM button or clickingSTEAM MENU” in the bottom left corner.

Open Steam Menu

2. Navigate this menu to the “Power” options.

Open Power Options

3. With the power menu open, click the “Switch to desktop” option.

Switch to Desktop Mode

Installing Protontricks to the Steam Deck

4. Once on the desktop, you will want to open the Discover app. This app allows you to install software such as Protontricks to your Steam Deck in just a few short clicks.

You can open this app by clicking the shopping bag icon in the taskbar.

Open Discover Application

5. With the Discover app open, change to the “Search” page.

Change to Search Screen

6. After opening the search page, type “protontricks” in the search bar (1.).

You should see an entry labeled “Protontricks” (2.). Double-click this entry to open it on your Steam Deck.

Search for Protontricks on the Steam Deck

7. All we need to do to install Protontricks to our Steam Deck is click the “Install” button in the top-right corner.

This install shouldn’t take very long as this wrapper for Winetricks is relatively small.

Install Protontricks to the Steam Deck

8. You can now launch Protontricks from this interface by clicking the “Launch” button.

Launch Protontricks on the Steam Deck

9. After launching Protontricks, it will find all available games on your Steam Deck and present them to you.

All of the games in this list are ran through the Proton compatibility layer. This interface makes using Winetricks on these games a very simple process.

To learn more about how useful this tool can be, check out our next section where we show it in action.

List of Steam Apps running through Proton

Using Protontricks on the Steam Deck

In this section, we will show you how to use Protontricks to fix a game on the Steam Deck. For this example, we will be using a little indie game called Knuckle Sandwich.

This game has a demo, so you can test this out for yourself on your Steam Deck for free. In this particular game’s case, it requires the file “d3dcompiler_34.dll“; otherwise, it will crash at a specific point in the game.

An excellent place to find out whether a component like this library can fix a game is ProtonDB.

Attempting to Run an Unsupported Game

1. If you ran Knuckle Sandwich on your Steam Deck, you would eventually get the following error.

This error indicates that the game fails to render clouds due to an unimplemented function. Luckily, we can get around this by using the closed-source version of “d3dcompiler_34.dll” rather than the wrapped version provided by Wine/Proton.

Knuckle Sandwich Demo Error

Opening Protontricks on the Steam Deck

2. Now that we know the game we are trying to run has a fix, we can use Protontricks to install it.

Let us start by opening the start menu. You can open the start menu by clicking the bottom-left corner.

Open the Steam Desktop Menu

3. With the start menu open, clickUtilities” (1.) add additional options.

Within this menu, find and click the entry labeled “Protontricks” (2.).

Launch Protontricks on the Steam Deck

Installing the Missing Library

4. Now that you have Protontricks open on your Steam Deck, find and click the game you want to modify (1.).

After selecting a game, click the “OK” button (2.) to continue.

Select Game to Install Data To

5. After selecting a game through Protontricks, you will now be taken to Winetricks. This is the actual software that handles the installation of additional libraries and modifying Proton prefixes.

Protontricks is basically just a wrapper that lets you quickly access this tool for your Steam games.

6. On this screen, you will want to click the “Select the default wineprefix” option (1.).

Next, you must click the “OK” button (2.) to continue.

Choose default wineprefix option

7. You can now select what you want to use Winetricks to do with your Proton prefix.

In our case, we want to install a Windows DLL to this prefix, so we will select the “Install a Windows DLL or component” option (1.).

After selecting the task you want to perform, click the “OK” button (2.).

Install Windows DLL or Component

8. On this screen, you will find many packages you can use Protontricks to install to this game prefix on your Steam Deck.

In our case, we scrolled till we found the “d3dcompiler_43” file and ticked the checkbox next to it (1.).

After ticking this check box, click the “OK” button (2.).

Select Library to install to Game Proton Prefix

9. Eventually, you will be returned to the Winetricks interface. You can now safely quit by clicking the “X” button.

Close out of Protontricks

Testing the Protontricks Fix

10. Below, you can see that thanks to Protontricks, we easily installed the required DLL, and now Knuckle Sandwich can render and be played without issue.

Knuckle Sandwich Now running on Steam Deck


At this stage, you should now have Protontricks installed on your Steam Deck. You should also hopefully have an idea of how this could be used to fix issues with running some Windows games on the Deck through Proton.

Protontricks is just a wrapper allowing you to load Winetricks for a specific game easily. It saves you the hassle of navigating the somewhat messy Steam folders yourself.

Please feel free to leave a comment below if you have any questions about installing and using this tool on your Deck.

If you found this tutorial to be helpful, we highly recommend checking out our many other Steam Deck guides.

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