Microsoft ended extended support for Windows 7 and Windows 8 in 2023, and many applications that still worked on those releases have made the same move over the past year. Now, the game store and launcher Steam has officially ended support for Windows 7 and 8.
Valve announced last year that it would end support for Steam on Windows 7, Windows 8, and Windows 8.1 starting on January 1, 2024. The company’s stated reason was that many Steam components rely on an embedded version of Google Chrome (or more specificially, Chromium), and since Chrome is now only updated on Windows 10 and newer, security flaws in older versions aren’t being addressed. Steam and anything else on Windows 7, Windows 8, and Windows 8.1 that relies on rendering web content is becoming more unsafe by the day.
Valve said in its original announcement that the Steam client and games on the now-unsupported Windows versions might keep working for a while, but the company won’t garuantee continued functionality after that date. Many other applications have dropped Windows 7 and Windows 8/8.1 over the past year, including most Chromium-based browsers (like Microsoft Edge), Google Drive, Plex Media Server, Microsoft OneDrive, qBittorrent, and Mozilla Firefox.
Valve said last year, “We strongly encourage all Windows 7/8/8.1 users to update sooner rather than later. Microsoft ended security updates and technical support for Windows 7 in January 2020 and for Windows 8.1 in January 2023. Computers running these operating systems, when connected to the internet, are susceptible to new malware and other exploits which will not be patched. 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.”
Many PCs running Windows 7 or Windows 8 can be updated to Windows 10 without upgrading any hardware (and might actually run better on the more efficient operating system), but support for Windows 10 will end in October 2025. Microsoft recently promised that security fixes would continue after that point for paying customers, but we don’t know what the pricing will look like yet. Some Windows PC games are also playable on Linux through Steam’s Proton compatibility layer.