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Steam update overhauls desktop client, brings notes and pinned windows

Much of the improvement is behind the scenes, but some new features stand out

Owen S. Good is a longtime veteran of video games writing, well known for his coverage of sports and racing games.

Steam users booting up today will likely notice the big client update Valve has been working on has officially launched. The update gives Steam a “fresh coat of paint” visually, promises to deliver more useful notifications, and adds a note-taking feature that we’ve found particularly useful.

But for the most part, Valve says the Steam client update’s biggest improvements come behind the scenes. “Much of the work went into changing how we share code across the Steam Desktop Client, Big Picture mode, and Steam Deck,” developers said in a blog post introducing the update. They noted that because of the newly shared codebase, many of the Steam Desktop Client’s features rolling out now are simultaneously shared with Steam Deck.

For useful features, the biggest one would be Steam’s Notes app, which Polygon previewed at the end of April. Steam will now also allow players to pin windows from its overlay to appear atop the game screen, while you’re playing. “This feature is perfect for keeping track of progress or guides while in-game,” developers said, “or for multi-tasking maniacs who love to have a movie on in the background while they game.”

Those who play on gamepads will be happy to know that the controller configurator used by Steam Deck is now part of the Steam Desktop Client overlay (when a gamepad is connected), and virtual menus may be used when gaming on the desktop, too.

The full list of changes, upgrades, and quality-of-life features is spelled out in this blog post. The update is free and available right now to all platforms (Windows PC, Linux, and Mac).

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