What you need to know
- Valve officially ended Steam support for Windows 7, 8, and 8.1 this week.
- The Steam clients on those versions of Windows will no longer receive updates, including security updates.
- Windows 7, 8, and 8.1 have all been out of support for at least one year, and in the case of Windows 7 several years.
If you use a PC that's woefully out of date to play your favorite PC games, there's bad news for you. Valve officially dropped Steam support for Windows 7, 8, and 8.1 this week. Steam clients running on those operating systems will no longer receive updates of any kind. Most notably, those clients won't receive security updates, giving any gamers on Windows 7, 8, or 8.1 a major reason to upgrade.
"As of January 1 2024, Steam will officially stop supporting the Windows 7, Windows 8 and Windows 8.1 operating systems. After that date, existing Steam Client installations on these operating systems will no longer receive updates of any kind including security updates. Steam Support will be unable to offer users technical support for issues related to the old operating systems, and Steam will be unable to guarantee continued functionality of Steam on the unsupported operating system versions."
Windows 7 stopped receiving technical support in January 2020, while support for Windows 8.1 ended in January 2023. In the future, Steam will require security updates that will only ship to Windows 10 and newer versions of the OS.
While Windows 7, 8, and 8.1 have been out of support for a while, Valve had to cut off support this week because of an update to Google Chrome.
"This change is required as core features in Steam rely on an embedded version of Google Chrome, which no longer functions on older versions of Windows," said Valve. "In addition, future versions of Steam will require Windows feature and security updates only present in Windows 10 and above."
No one should use Windows 7, 8, or 8.1
Steam dropping support for Windows 7, 8, and 8.1 is hardly surprising. We knew the cutoff date was on the way, but Valve officially dropped support for older version of Windows yesterday. None of those operating systems are supported anymore, making them insecure in addition to being out of date.
PCs with those older operating systems have received warnings about end of support and prompts to update for years. Microsoft went as far as to show full-screen warnings about the end of Windows 8.1 support in July 2022. Windows 8.1 officially reached the end of support on January 10, 2023.
Without security updates, PCs running older versions of Windows are not safe to use, especially for those who use the internet. Performance can also worsen if your PC is the victim of an attack. Valve emphasized these facts in its post about the end of support.
"Computers running these operating systems, when connected to the internet, are susceptible to new malware and other exploits which will not be patched," said Valve. "That malware can cause your PC, Steam and games to perform poorly or crash. That malware can also be used to steal the credentials for your Steam account or other services."
If you for some reason can't move on from those old versions of Windows, you certainly shouldn't use them for connecting to the web, which could result in your PC being attacked using methods it's not patched to prevent. An online service dropping support for Windows 7, 8, and 8.1 makes sense given the security risks those operating systems present.
Almost no one uses Windows 7, 8, or 8.1
Systems with Windows 7, 8, and 8.1 combined make up less than 1% of Steam users as of December 2023. The popular service has a large user base, so there are still some people that will be affected by this change, but that group is relatively small.
Users still running Windows 7, 8, or 8.1 need to get with the times and update their systems. Even if they can't update to Windows 11 due to the operating system's requirements, Windows 10 will continue to receive support until next year. Those who wish to stay on Windows 10 will also have the option to pay to receive extended support.
Do you still play your Steam games on a PC running Windows 7, 8, or 8.1? Let us know in the comments below.
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Sean Endicott brings nearly a decade of experience covering Microsoft and Windows news to Windows Central. He joined our team in 2017 as an app reviewer and now heads up our day-to-day news coverage. If you have a news tip or an app to review, hit him up at firstname.lastname@example.org.