Valve Corporation has officially dropped support for outdated Windows operating systems, urging gamers to upgrade to a newer version of Windows if they still want to use its Steam service securely and without bugs.
“As of January 1 2024, Steam will officially stop supporting the Windows 7, Windows 8 and Windows 8.1 operating systems,” reads a notice on Steam Support. “After that date, existing Steam Client installations on these operating systems will no longer receive updates of any kind including security updates.”
Technical support for issues related to the old operating systems is no longer available, meaning the support team can’t guarantee continued functionality on the unsupported operating system versions, the notice adds.
Valve cites multiple reasons for the move. For one, Microsoft itself long ago dropped support for Windows 7, and more recently for Windows 8. This means Steam’s support team will have a hard time maintaining the proper functionality and security around the popular game platform without Microsoft’s assistance.
Another reason is Steam will rely on an embedded version of Google Chrome, which no longer works on these older versions of Windows.
“In order to ensure continued operation of Steam and any games or other products purchased through Steam, users should update to a more recent version of Windows,” Valve clarifies.
The company says it “expects” the Steam client and games to continue running for some time on these older operating systems without updates but cautions that it can’t guarantee a smooth, stable experience from this point onward.
Valve also warns users that Windows 7 and 8 are “susceptible to new malware and other exploits which will not be patched,” having been left out in the cold by Microsoft.
Gamers who aren’t too concerned about crashes or underperformance should at least worry that threat actors may leverage the lack of support from the mothership to deploy malware designed to steal Steam accounts.
Valve recently announced an SMS-based security feature after multiple reports of game updates were poisoned with malware. Gamers should also be wary that Steam is a hot target for scammers, as detailed in this article.
Bitdefender strongly recommends staying up to date with the OS updates and patches, both on desktop and on mobile. For peace of mind, consider using a dedicated security solution as well.