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Install SteamOS the easy wayCNET's Dan Graziano shows you the easiest method for installing Valve's new gaming operating system on your computer.
At CES this year, we saw all sorts of things. One of the most interesting was Steam Machines. These compact gaming computers operate on Valve's new Steam OS which the company hopes to compete with the Xbox One and PlayStation 4. Steam Machine prices range from $500 all the way to $6,000. But there's no need to spend that much money. I'm Dan Graziano and I'm going to show you how to transform your computer into a Steam Machine. Before we get started, Steam OS is still a beta. There are tons of bugs that have to be ironed out and performance isn't very stable. Installing the operating system will also erase everything on your hard drive including Windows. So, it's imperative that you back up or disconnect the primary drive and use a spare drive. There are two methods to install Steam OS, an easy method and a custom-install method. Today, we'll focus on the easy one. Your computer must be equipped with an Intel or AMD 64-bit processor, have at least 4 gigabytes of RAM and Ethernet connection, and one terabyte of hard drive space. Your motherboard must also include UEFI boot support which most motherboards from the past few years do. An NVIDIA graphics card is recommended, but Steam OS supports both AMD and Intel GPUs, although, Valve has said that's optimized the platform for NVIDIA graphics. The last thing you'll need is this, a USB flash drive with at least 4 gigabytes of space. You'll start by downloading the official Steam OS image zip from Valve's website. As that's downloading, connect your USB flash drive to your computer and format to FAT 32. This can be done on Windows with a right click and selecting Format or an OS X by going to the Utility's folder and selecting Disc Utility. The drive must be renamed to SYSRESTORE in all caps. Once it's finished downloading, extract all the files to the root of your flash drive. Powered down the system and boot it from the USB drive. This can be done in your computer's BIOS settings, which can be accessed with the delete key or one of the F keys depending on your system. Click on the UEFI drive and select 'Restore entire disc from the boot menu.' Let the system do its thing, when you're prompted to do so, hit the Enter button. The computer will then shut down, at this point, remove the USB drive and power it on. You should boot into Steam OS. From here, simply log in or create a new Steam account and begin exploring the operating system. If you're system doesn't boot directly into Steam OS, check to see what the default booth disc is in your BIOS menu. For more information and a link to the official Steam OS download, check out my article in howto.cnet.com. Like always, feel free to reach out to me on Twitter with any questions. I'm Dan Graziano for CNET. Thanks for watching.