As most Steam users know, Steam is coming out with their very own console. However, those of us who want a Steam console experience still have to wait. Also, Steam Box will be Linux-based, which is a problem for those of us who own several Windows or Mac only games, and are not ready to part with them. Below are instructions to convert a Windows 7 PC into a Windows-based Steam Box. These instructions will tell you how to make windows boot straight into Steam Big Picture, disable windows interface from loading and set Steam as shell, disable user interaction at windows logon screen, customize windows logon screen, and customize boot screen. Note: this is only if your computer is only going to be a dedicated Steam Box. I’m not responsible if you don’t like what you did or if you messed up your machine. Okay, so let’s start.
Part One: Set Big Picture on Steam Start.
This part will set Steam Big Picture Mode to startup whenever Steam starts.
1. Open Steam in windowed mode (not Big Picture)
2. Click on the ‘Steam’ dropdown menu in the top left corner. Then press ‘Settings.’
3. Click on the ‘Interface’ tab and check the box that says ‘Start Steam in Big Picture Mode.’
Part Two: Set Steam as Shell (Main Graphical User Interface)
In this part we will set Steam as your computers shell instead of what most people consider to be Windows. This will mean that as soon as your computer logs in, Steam Big Picture Mode will start. You will not see and Windows background, start menu, or anything of that nature.
1. Open the start menu. In the start menu search box type ‘regedit’ and press ENTER. This will open regedit.
2. Navigate through the folders to [HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\WindowsNT\CurrentVersion\Winlogon].
3. Right click on the ‘Winlogon’ folder and select ‘New > String Value’
4. Name it ‘Shell’.
5. Right click on the newly created ‘Shell’ and press ‘Modify’
6. Type in the path to Steam.exe on your machine. By default on a 64-bit Windows 7 machine, the path is ‘C:\Program Files (x86)\Steam\Steam.exe’ Press OK after you have entered the path.
You can stop here if you want and you will have a dedicated Windows-based Steam Box. The next parts just make the power up of the ‘console’ more elegant and beautiful.
Note: Now that your computer boots straight into Big Picture, you won’t have immediate access to you Windows Graphical User Interface. If you ever decide that you don’t want your computer to boot into Steam, just delete the ‘Shell’ entry that you made in regedit. Below are instructions in case you ever need access to windows.
1. Press CTRL+ALT+DELETE and Select ‘Start Task Manager’
2. Press the File dropdown menu at the top and select ‘New Task (Run…)’
3. Type in ‘explorer.exe’ and press OK
Part Three: Set Windows To Automatically Login
Since you’re making a dedicated Steam Box it makes sense to not type in your Windows password or click your user icon every time you turn on your machine. In this section we will set windows to automatically login so you don’t have to mess with unnecessary typing or clicking.
1. Open the start menu. In the start menu search box type ‘netplwiz’ and press ENTER. This will open regedit.
2. Uncheck the box that says ‘Users must enter a user name and password to use this computer’
3. Press ‘Apply’ and then press ‘OK’
Part Four: Customize Windows Logon Screen
Yes, you have already set Windows to automatically login, but your machine will still show the Windows logon screen while it’s booting. You can edit the background with registry edits, but’Tweaks.com Logon Changer for Windows 7’ makes it simple, and does not require an install either.
1. Download ’Tweaks.com Logon Changer for Windows 7’
2. Download or create a background. I suggest a good quality Steam background.
3. Run ’Tweaks.com Logon Changer for Windows 7’
4. Press the ‘Change Logon Screen’ Button
5. Select your new background and press ‘Open’
6. Press the ‘Test’ button to make sure it looks right
Part Five: Remove Windows Branding on Logon Screen
Two things you may have notice while customizing your logon screen are the Windows branding and ‘Ease of Access’ Button of the screen. For this step, I suggest just following the instructions from.
Part Six: Customize Boot Screen
When your machine boots up, you may have notice the Windows icon and text saying ‘Starting Windows’ below it. This can be changed to anything you want with a program called ‘Windows 7 Boot Updater.’ You can make animated images during the boot screen, but for this example, we’ll just use a static image.
1. Download ‘Windows 7 Boot Updater’
2. Download or create a Steam Logo
3. Run ‘Windows 7 Boot Updater’
4. Under ‘Animation’ select ‘Static Image’
5. Select your image and press ‘Open’
6. Select the ‘Message 2’ tab and replace ‘Starting Windows’ with ‘Starting Steambox’
7. Change the text in the ‘Message 1’ tab to something clever.
8. Press ‘Apply’
Part Seven: Time To Play!
You created your very own Windows-based Steam Box. Now it’s time to connect your new Steam Box to your TV, plug in a controller, and have fun!