STEAM GROUP
Big Picture bigpic
STEAM GROUP
Big Picture bigpic
324
IN-GAME
3,257
ONLINE
Founded
September 10, 2012
Yoona_939 Feb 2, 2013 @ 4:48pm
Boot Windows directly into Steam Big Picture EXCLUSIVELY
Hi,

Having looked around on the web I came across various convoluted instructions to BOOT EXCLUSIVELY INTO STEAM BIG PICTURE INSTEAD OF STANDARD WINDOWS DESKTOP, which I've edited together and simplified below. Bear in mind this is really only suitable for someone who has a PC used exclusively for gaming with Steam, though it is fairly easily reversible.

It worked for me on Windows 7 and Windows 8, and it should work for Vista and maybe even XP. So far I've not noticed any issues - even with controller-enabled non-Steam games that I've created a shortcut to in Steam. It also has the benefit of freeing up memory and CPU cycles from the Windows interface, but it does mean if you need to do other Windows stuff you have to mess about a bit with Task Manager to start Windows Explorer again (or see the Helpful Suggestions below for a simpler method!)

DISCLAIMER: THE FOLLOWING IS INTENDED TO BE USED WITH CARE AND I ACCEPT NO RESPONSIBILITY FOR WHAT YOU DO TO YOUR PC!

Having said that, it's really quite straightforward, requires no additional software and only takes a few minutes to sort out, though you should be comfortable doing things like editing registry and changing advanced Windows settings.

========================
Part 1: Set Steam startup options
========================

This is the easy bit.

1. Open up Steam in normal windowed mode and select Settings from the top menu

2. Click the Interface tab

3. Select both checkboxes for 'Run Steam when my computer starts' and 'Start Steam in Big Picture Mode' - maybe one day Valve will get these to work properly together so you don't have to follow the rest of this nonsense!

4. Click OK and exit Steam

==============================================
Part 2. Making Registry Edits so that Steam runs as your shell
==============================================

This is the trickier bit and involves some commitment to Steam on your part, though is easily reversible - it will make Steam run instead of your normal Windows Desktop after Windows has booted and you've logged in.

1. Bring up the Windows 'Run' dialogue box, either from the Start Menu or by pressing your Windows key and R at the same time.

2. Type 'regedit' and click OK.

3. Navigate to [HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\WindowsNT\CurrentVersion\Winlogon]

4. Right click in the folder pane to the right and select 'New > String Value'

5. Name it 'Shell.'

5. Right click on 'Shell' and select 'Modify.'

6. Type in the path to Steam.exe and click OK. By default on a 64 bit system the full path will be "C:\Program Files (x86)\Steam\Steam.exe” - personally I just have Steam installed at root - "C:\Steam" :)

==========================================================
Part 3 (optional): Setup your PC to automatically login to your Windows account
==========================================================

If you are not a complete security nut and only have one account on your PC, you can set it up to automatically login, so you don't have to select a user and/or type a password. Instructions for this varies according to your Windows version. See here for full information:

http://pcsupport.about.com/od/tipstricks/f/auto-login-windows.htm

NOW REBOOT YOUR PC AND CROSS YOUR FINGERS YOU DID IT ALL OKAY!

Whilst waiting for your PC to boot up, grab your Xbox 360 Controller and turn it on ready to navigate that lovely Steam Big Picture Mode.

==============
Troubleshooting etc
==============

If you get only a black screen with a cursor instead, or your gamepad doesn't work, or whatever, press control+alt+delete and select 'Task Manager.' Go to File>New Task (Run) and type "explorer.exe" - this should bring back your regular desktop until you log in again. You can also use this method to access Windows if you want to do anything else.

Go back and check that you made all the registry edits exactly right. To remove the Steam bootingness, just delete the 'Shell' entry you added.

===============
Helpful Suggestions
===============

Sanguinjay made the following excellent suggestion to make it easier to start Explorer and access all the usual Windows stuff...

Originally posted by Sanguinjay:
when running steam in desktop mode add a non-steam shortcut that points to explorer.exe in C:\Windows and before you exit out of steam big picture remember to click that shortcut. for extra credit add a custom image to it so it looks better in big picture more.

================

HOPE THIS WORKS FOR YOU!


PS: My main source for the registry hacking instructions was this handy blog post:

http://oakengearbox.blogspot.co.uk/2013/01/how-to-boot-your-pc-directly-to-steam.html
Last edited by Yoona_939; Oct 3, 2014 @ 4:33pm
< >
Showing 1-15 of 182 comments
smokes lets go Feb 20, 2013 @ 9:04pm 
Originally posted by YOONA~939:
UPDATE: because of various issues with some games in Windows 8 and other glitchy stuff, I've decided to go back to Windows 7.

I have now found out that by pressing and holding the centre 'Home' button on my Xbox 360 controller after Windows has booted up, Steam Big Picture Mode starts up nice and quick, and readily logged in to my Steam account. (This doesn't work under Windows 8 because the stupid noddy Metro interface hogs focus.)

This means that all the shenanigans I recommended in my original post is not really required unless you like the 'elegance' of booting straight into Steam BPM. All thats needed to be done is select the setting in Steam to start when Windows boots, though the option to auto-login to your main Windows account is handy.

I've set my desktop image to be a nice big Steam logo, disabled desktop icons and gadgets, and set the Taskbar to be auto-hidden. My next step towards aesthetic SteamBox dominance is changing the Windows boot up animation and the background of the login
Welcome screen.

I had been looking for a solution because my BPM wouldn't automatically start with a windows boot but the home button trick works for me. Thanks!!
Olde Man Jon Feb 21, 2013 @ 9:41am 
Why not just put a shortcut to the Steam.exe into the Startup folder? No need to go in to the registry to make any changes.
Lulech23 Feb 22, 2013 @ 5:30pm 
Er...that's...definitely the hard way to do it. There is a WAY easier way to do accomplish the same thing. Make a new shortcut in your 'Startup' folder (in Windows Vista through 8 this is located at: C:\Users\YOUR_USERNAME\AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\Windows\Start Menu\Programs\Startup) and make the shortcut target be:

"C:\Program Files (x86)\Steam\Steam.exe" steam://open/bigpicture

Include quotes where quotes are. Also note that I'm on a 64-bit system and so I'm using a "Program Files (x86)" folder. If you're on a 32-bit system or just installed Steam elsewhere, adjust your shortcut accordingly. Then give the shortcut a proper name and you're done. From now on, as long as that shortcut remains in the 'Startup' folder, Steam will launch in Big Picture Mode when your PC boots. You might need to disable 'start with Windows' from Steam settings as automatic Steam updates might interfere with launching into BPM, but I'm just guessing there. Haven't had such an issue myself.
Lulech23 Feb 23, 2013 @ 7:54am 
Ah, sorry, I didn't see that you had that issue until after I'd already commented. My bad for not reading the whole thread. Actually the shortcut thing could still work, but you'd need to delay Steam from trying to launch right away--even a couple seconds' delay could do the trick. http://launchlater.codeplex.com/ is one such program, but I'm pretty sure others are out there.

For a truly dedicated Steam box though, your method is definitely superior. The shortcut is just better for those of us that want to still use our PC's for other things too :P
Liquid Smooth Feb 24, 2013 @ 4:02am 
I'm planning to make an custom gaming rig using an HTPC case to really get the console feel. I want to use your original method but I also want to know how well does it work on an SSD. Thanks
Lulech23 Feb 27, 2013 @ 7:10pm 
http://steamcommunity.com/groups/bigpicture/discussions/1/846941710487298691/

Just thought I'd mention this new tool that popped up. It accomplishes exactly what the OP was talking about without requiring any manual editing. Just run the application, wait a few seconds, and it will set up everything for you. Tested and it works perfectly, even in Windows 8!
ϕonix Apr 30, 2013 @ 8:35am 
Originally posted by LukeLC:
Er...that's...definitely the hard way to do it. There is a WAY easier way to do accomplish the same thing. Make a new shortcut in your 'Startup' folder (in Windows Vista through 8 this is located at: C:\Users\YOUR_USERNAME\AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\Windows\Start Menu\Programs\Startup) and make the shortcut target be:

"C:\Program Files (x86)\Steam\Steam.exe" steam://open/bigpicture

Include quotes where quotes are. Also note that I'm on a 64-bit system and so I'm using a "Program Files (x86)" folder. If you're on a 32-bit system or just installed Steam elsewhere, adjust your shortcut accordingly. Then give the shortcut a proper name and you're done. From now on, as long as that shortcut remains in the 'Startup' folder, Steam will launch in Big Picture Mode when your PC boots. You might need to disable 'start with Windows' from Steam settings as automatic Steam updates might interfere with launching into BPM, but I'm just guessing there. Haven't had such an issue myself.

This method is better for different reasons, this allows steam and steam games to launch without starting explorer.exe which would just waste resources. It is a great method for turning your old gaming rig into a dedicated steam box.
Dnilo Jun 6, 2013 @ 11:07am 
Ok, so booting from shell is very nice, but I ran into a steam account connection issues, when you have wifi as your connection to internet (and not ethernet) it needs a couple of seconds to connect to the wifi network at startup, so, Steam starting before will cause the connection issues, for that I found another way to start the Steam client with a delay without any problem and getting it to connect the account, a script must be created with the following commands:


WScript.Sleep 3000
Set SteamCmd = CreateObject("WScript.Shell")
SteamCmd.Run """C:\Program Files (x86)\Steam\Steam.exe"" -silent"
Set SteamCmd = Nothing

This script waits for 3 seconds before loading Steam (Line 1-> WScript.Sleep 3000), so it just needs to be saved in a text file as [name].vbs

Then, this script can be loaded as shell almost the same way as the first post:

1. Open the registry and go to:
[HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\WindowsNT\CurrentVersion\Winlogon]

4. Right click in the folder pane to the right and select 'New > String Value'

5. Name it 'Shell.'

5. Right click on 'Shell' and select 'Modify.'

6. Type in the path to the script as this:

wscript "C:\[name].vbs"

Now, with the delay and wifi connection being solved by the process above, I still ran into the problem of loading some programs that I need, such as the Logitech software for may G930 Headphones, the Profiler for my mouse, the Bootcamp manager to get the volume keys working on my Apple keyboard since this is a Mac Mini... and a couple more programs, so at the end I decided to load windows normally and just add the script to the startup items..

Not as fancy as running it from shell, but it does the same job.

Any suggestions are welcome.
Radont Jul 8, 2013 @ 6:41pm 
I used the method detailed in the original post (replacing the Windows shell) and so far it runs like a champ and I am extremely happy with the way it turned out. I did hit a snag when trying to play Batman: Arkham City, for some reason the game just won't load and I don't know if it is because of Securom or Games for Windows Live. I will have to do some more testing to get to the root cause of it.

I would recommend taking a look at http://moderndefrag.blogspot.com/2013/10/turn-windows-7-pc-into-dedicated-steam.html because it shows how to replace all of the windows branding and start-up screens with Steam specific screens so you get more of a "Steambox" feel. It isn't necessary at all but it is nerdy and fun.
Last edited by Radont; Jan 7, 2014 @ 10:49pm
How does all my drivers & stuff get updated. I attempted this yesterday & had to reinstall windows just to get it all back to normal.
My bad. Thanks mate :)
Maxim Sep 12, 2013 @ 2:35pm 
Just to let you know, holding down the power button to start steam in big picture mode does work on windows 8. At least for me at this time. May not have been the case for the op :). (Steam still has to be open tho :P )
ϕonix Sep 12, 2013 @ 4:41pm 
Originally posted by IIGRUNZ:
How does all my drivers & stuff get updated. I attempted this yesterday & had to reinstall windows just to get it all back to normal.
you can easily update drivers by pressing Ctrl+Alt+Del and go to file>run and type in explorer.exe to get into the normal windows shell.
Mikolaj Oct 10, 2013 @ 3:24am 
Hi, I'd like to run steam in big picture mode without windows shell running, but I also need dropbox to run in the background (I use it sync my save games). any ideas as to how I can accomplish this?
Dnilo Oct 10, 2013 @ 4:46am 
Originally posted by Mikolaj:
Hi, I'd like to run steam in big picture mode without windows shell running, but I also need dropbox to run in the background (I use it sync my save games). any ideas as to how I can accomplish this?

I posted my solution for that in the first page :)
< >
Showing 1-15 of 182 comments
Per page: 15 30 50