Installing Windows 10 on the Asus ROG Ally RC71L

The new Asus ROG Ally might devour batteries, but it is a portable powerhouse. Featuring a full Windows 10 operating system, you can install any PC game, and most will run quite nicely. I don't own one, but a friend does, and he was tinkering with backing its data up, so I asked him why not try installing Windows 10. He did, and the results are so good that he kindly sent me his notes and Powershell scripts so I could write this blog post and share a small tutorial on how to do it.

First of all, I'll address the question of why?. The answer is also quite direct (and simple): Because Windows 10 consumes way fewer resources than Windows 11. This might sound weird when, internally, Windows 10 is still Windows 10.0.xxx; it's not even 10.1, so you might think that it is a big service pack... and while there are some noticeable UI changes, it mostly feels like a bloated Win10. But one thing it does is contain a lot more official Microsoft bloatware and extra services: More apps and services to try to sell you Office 365, pure Ads, Bing search bars... Windows 10 is suitable for gaming, even more so now that Windows 7 has reached end-of-life (Win7 was perfect for a PC gaming system). You can tweak and turn off most annoyances and get it to run reasonably fast. My gaming rig feels blazing fast because it's fine-tuned only for games.

Before we go into the tutorial, in case you want to know what you're gaining and some numbers of the actual improvements, here they are:

  • Some games, like Dark Souls 1, went from needing 20W to deliver 60 FPS to now sustaining those 60 FPS just with 10W
  • Some Ryujinx titles went from not maintaining 60 FPS at 15W to stable 60 FPS at 10W
  • Other games, like Elden Ring, still require the performance mode, but you can notice a significant increase in FPS (or bump up the graphic settings)
  • Diablo IV can be played with medium settings at 15W (this one he didn't measured before, so more for informative purposes)

So we're talking about a 33% to 50% improvement, either in battery life or performance, depending on what you seek. It is a significant boost.

So, let's get on with the steps:

Pre-requisites

  • Backup the device's HDD contents you want to preserve. Everything will be wiped out. For example, perform a backup of the installed Windows 11 drivers (e.g., via Driver Magician)
  • You need a dock with USB and ethernet adapters. Mouse and keyboard are also highly recommended
  • Download the official Windows 11 drivers available at https://rog.asus.com/gaming-handhelds/rog-ally/rog-ally-2023/helpdesk_download/
  • A USB drive loaded with a Windows 10 21H1 ISO, setup with e.g. Rufus. Note the specific Windows 10 version, more details later
  • Disable Secure Boot in the device BIOS

Steps

With the device turned off and offline (don't yet connect the ethernet cable to the dock)

Setting up the BIOS

  • Connect the USB ready with the Windows 10 image
  • Access the BIOS by holding volume - and turning on the device. Once in the BIOS you'll notice a vibration and can let go of the button press
  • Navigate to boot -> secureboot and disable it
  • At the boot sequence section, choose the USB drive as the first boot device
  • Save changes & exit BIOS

Installing Windows

  • The device will reboot and begin the installation
  • At Windows setup, choose custom install and delete all device HDD partitions (100% free space, in a single empty partition)
  • Proceed then as usual with the setup

Installing the drivers

  • Drivers will be installed manually, by going to Windows Device Manager
  • For each unknown device, first choose to install the driver from a location, and point to the folder containing the exported drivers from the original install (via Driver Magician or a similar tool)
  • Some devices will still be unknown. Now install the downloaded drivers from the Asus website
  • Reboot the machine
  • Now, we must disable Windows automatic updates. Else, it might automatically upgrade you to Windows 11 and screw up this whole process. But we still need some drivers contained in Windows Update, so we need to do a single update sweep. [1]
  • Run these 3 scripts from an elevated (Administrator) prompt:
  • Win 10 Disable Automatic App Updates.bat
  • Win 10 Disable Automatic Windows Updates.bat
  • Win 10 Disable Forced Reboot After Update.bat
  • After running the Powershell script, you can check that updates are "company managed" instead of "automatic" in the Update settings
  • Now we can plug in the ethernet cable, and click on search for updates
  • Ensure in the list of updates that will appear that the "network adapter" additional update is selected, and check it/include it if was not selected
  • Proceed to install this updates list, but do not press again the update button

Installing Asus Crate

  • Download the software from https://www.asus.com/supportonly/armoury%20crate/helpdesk_download/
  • Choose the lite version, so it downloads and installs only the required components that it will auto-detect during the setup
  • After installing, in the personalization panel, task bar, configure the tactile keyboard to activate when there's no physical keyboard connected, or else the on-screen keyboard won't work properly
  • Once the setup and keyboard config are done, reboot Windows, and you're ready to install your games.

Congratulations, now you have a nice Windows 10 powered Asus ROG Ally!

Extra steps

At this point, you can remove the USB Dock if you want.

You should remove all unwanted applications and services. You can do it from the Apps section in Windows settings, or via Powershell scripts.


[1] We use the Windows 10 22H1 version image to be able to fetch updates without it installing any Windows 11 upgrade tool, at least on the first update run.

Installing Windows 10 on the Asus ROG Ally RC71L published @ . Author: