Valve Ends Support for Older Windows Versions

Valve, the gaming platform behind Steam, has officially ended support for Windows 7, 8, and 8.1. This move comes as no surprise, considering the age of these operating systems and the challenges they present in terms of compatibility and security. While Valve anticipates that the Steam client and games will still run for some time without updates, starting January 1st, 2024, there is no guarantee of continued functionality.

It’s incredible to think that Steam continued to support Windows 7 for so long. Despite the launch of Windows 8 and subsequent versions, Windows 7 remained immensely popular among users. However, it is important to note that Windows 7 made its debut way back in 2009, which is an eternity in the fast-paced world of software development. To put things into perspective, if Steam had debuted in 2003, it would have had to support the ancient Windows 2.1. While Windows has undoubtedly matured since then, it is still an impressive run for Windows 7.

Even more remarkable is that Steam outlasted Microsoft’s extended support for enterprise Windows 7, which ended in January 2023 (support for regular editions ended in 2020). This extended support gap emphasizes the commitment Valve had towards its users and the lengths it went to cater to a wide range of systems. However, the gaming platform’s decision to end support now stems from the core features of Steam relying on an embedded version of Google Chrome, which no longer functions on older Windows versions. Thus, future Steam updates will necessitate security updates from Windows 10/11.

Valve strongly advises users still clinging onto these older operating systems to update to newer versions sooner rather than later. Windows 7/8/8.1 machines, when connected to the internet, become vulnerable to new malware and other exploits that will never be patched. This leaves not only the PC at risk but also jeopardizes the stability and performance of Steam and games. Additionally, the malware could be leveraged to steal sensitive login credentials for Steam accounts and other services.

While Valve’s announcement affects a small fraction of Steam’s total userbase, it is still significant given the platform’s enormous popularity. According to the December 2023 hardware survey, only 0.06% of Steam users remain on Windows 7, while 0.15% still use Windows 8.1. With a reported 132 million monthly active users as of 2021, there are potentially hundreds of thousands of gamers who have yet to transition to newer Windows versions, sticking with their trusty old machines.

Valve’s decision to end support for Windows 7, 8, and 8.1 is a logical step considering the outdated nature of these operating systems. It is a testament to the enduring popularity of Windows 7 that it remained in use for such a long time. However, with the advancement of technology and the need for enhanced security measures, it is crucial for users to upgrade to newer versions of Windows to ensure the safety and optimal performance of their systems. As the gaming landscape continues to evolve, it is essential for gamers to stay up to date with the latest software requirements to fully enjoy their gaming experiences.

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