The leaked presentation shows a “handheld mode” for Windows 11 on handheld consoles.


Steam Deck console running Windows 11

The success of the Nintendo Switch and Steam Deck led to the arrival of similar devices with Windows, but Microsoft’s operating system lacks optimization for these types of devices, often resulting in an inferior experience. A leaked presentation from the Microsoft Hackathon in September 2022 suggests that Microsoft is aware of the problem and is exploring possible solutions.

The proposed “Windows Handheld Mod” is intended to address fundamental issues and problems in modern handhelds running Windows. For example, non-Steam games have poor controls, lack of display and UI optimization, many additional launchers, and more. Developers want to solve these problems by implementing a keyboard that you can control with a gamepad, creating one place for all your games, improving UI scaling, and providing a better onboarding experience. By doing, and fixing minor things that break the experience.

According to the presentation, all the proposed changes are achievable with “the right experts and expertise”. However, there’s no guarantee that Microsoft will revive the “Windows handheld mode” concept, so don’t get your hopes up. Perhaps, the company will pay more attention to this aspect of its operating system as more manufacturers offer their handheld consoles with Windows 11 onboard, such as the recent ASUS ROG Ally.


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