Steam dropping Windows 7 and Windows 8 support

Valve’s digital PC gaming distribution service, Steam, will stop supporting Windows 7, Windows 8, and Windows 8.1 at the start of next year.

In a statement on the Steam support page on Tuesday, Valve said that these operating systems would no longer be able to run the Steam client from 1 January 2024.

“To continue running Steam and any games or other products purchased through Steam, users will need to update to a more recent version of Windows.”

Valve explained the change was necessary as core features in Steam relied on an embedded version of Google Chrome, which no longer functioned on older versions of Windows.

Furthermore, future versions of Steam will require Windows features and security updates only present in Windows 10 and above.

Microsoft officially dropped feature and security update support for Windows 7 more than two years ago.

It also recently shut down its paid-for extended security update (ESU) programme for the operating system, which was still prevalent in many enterprises.

Windows 8 support was dropped back in 2016, while Windows 8.1 support ended in January 2023.

For these reasons, Steam said it strongly encouraged Windows 7/8/8.1 users to update to a new operating system (OS) sooner rather than later.

“Computers running these operating systems, when connected to the internet, are susceptible to new malware and other exploits which will not be patched,” Steam said.

“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,” it added.

2.5 million players using old Windows operating systems

According to the Steam Hardware and Software Survey for February 2023, less than 2% of users were using the operating systems slated for end-of-support.

The 32-bit and 64-bit versions of Windows 7 accounted for 1.52% of users, while 0.34% used Windows 8.1.

Presuming those numbers stay roughly the same by the end of the year, the change would cut about 2.5 million monthly active players off from Steam until they upgrade.

That would be based on the last available figure of 132 million total players.

But usage of these operating systems has continued to drop since Windows 10 launched. The latest monthly decline was 0.24%.

If such a reduction continued in the coming months, there would be no more Windows 7/8/8.1 Steam users by September or October 2023.

The most popular OS among Steam users during February 2023 was Windows 10, claiming 62.33% of all users.

However, it lost about 1.13% of its share, while the second most common OS — Windows 11 — gained 1.73% to reach 32.06% of Steam users.

For the first time, Microsoft’s latest OS now has more than half the Steam share of Windows 10.

That milestone comes about one and a half years after Windows 11 was launched.

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Steam dropping Windows 7 and Windows 8 support