The fated day has come: If you are still using Windows 7, 8, or 8.1 you might need to upgrade to Windows 10 or 11 soon, as Valve’s massively popular digital storefront, Steam, no longer officially supports those older operating systems.
Valve first revealed that it would drop support for older Windows versions in a support page posting last March. The message explained that as of January 1, 2024, Steam users on Windows 7, 8, and 8.1 will no longer receive new client updates of “any kind,” including security fixes. As a result, Valve is warning users of these operating system to upgrade “sooner than later” to avoid malware and other malicious attacks.
In the post, Valve also explained that Steam Support will no longer offer technical support for issues related to these older versions of Windows. Valve also can’t guarantee that Steam will remain useable on these older OSs moving forward.
However, to be clear, Valve isn’t flipping a switch and killing Steam on Windows 7. It’s just saying that things might start to break soon, and if they do, they won’t get fixed.
“We expect the Steam client and games on these older operating systems to continue running for some time without updates after January 1st, 2024,” Valve wrote. “But we are unable to guarantee continued functionality after that date.”
Why Steam is ending support for Windows 7
Valve says one main reason for it cutting off support for Windows 7, 8, and 8.1 is due to Google Chrome no longer supporting these older operating systems. That’s a problem for Valve, as Steam relies on an embedded version of the browser. The company behind Half-Life and Portal also mentioned that future versions of the Steam client will “require” Windows features and security updates only found in Windows 10 and 11.
Valve ended its post encouraging players to upgrade to Windows 10 or 11 soon.
“Computers running these [older] operating systems, when connected to the internet, are susceptible to new malware and other exploits which will not be patched,” Valve warned. “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.”
While some folks might now be forced to upgrade or even buy a new PC to keep playing on Steam, it seems reasonable for Valve to move forward and leave behind Windows 7, which was released all the way back in 2009. That’s a hell of a long time when it comes to technology, and Valve supporting that OS for nearly 15 years is impressive.
However, if you do upgrade to Windows 10, get ready to upgrade again soon as Microsoft is winding down security support for that OS in October 2025. As someone holding on desperately to Windows 10, I’m counting the days.