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Reminder: Steam Will Drop Support for Windows XP and Vista on January 1

Updated 12/31/18, 1:45 p.m. ET: We've updated the headline and date of this story to give any gamers still running Microsoft's older operating systems a heads-up that the Steam client will stop running on their machines when the clock ticks over to 2019. Luckily, you can get a copy of a newer Microsoft OS for free or cheap.

Despite Microsoft having already checked Windows XP and Windows Vista into the retirement home, many consumers still use one of the two operating systems even to this present day. However, you simply can’t stop evolution, and most software developers are already starting to phase out support for the moribund operating systems. Now it seems Valve is the latest company to abandon the time-worn Windows of old.

Valve announced that starting January 1, 2019 the Steam client will no longer work on PCs running the Windows XP or Windows Vista operating systems, giving Steam users have no other choice but to update to a more recent version of Windows. Most already have: According to Valve's latest Steam Hardware Survey, less than 1% of the user base is still on Windows XP, and Windows Vista didn’t even appear in the results.

That means the impact of Valve’s decision shouldn't be significant, but as a sign of good faith, the company is giving affected users what is left of the year to make the transition. In the meantime, Windows XP and Windows Vista users can continue to launch their games during this grace period. They won’t be able to access new Steam features, such as the Discord-like Steam Chat update that's currently in open beta, though.

Based on Valve’s explanation, the latest features in the Steam client depend on an embedded version of Google’s Chrome browser. Google pulled the plug on support for Windows Vista back in 2012 and did the same for Windows XP two years later. Valve also confirmed that future versions of its Steam client will rely on features and security updates that only Windows 7 or newer operating systems can offer.

Microsoft plans to end support for Windows 7 in 2020, which is a little over one year and seven months from now. So it makes sense for people to finally upgrade to the latest Windows 10 once and for all, since that's the version of Windows that Microsoft plans to support going forward.

  • shrapnel_indie
    The push from MS to shut down usage of all the old versions of Windows goes much deeper than support issues... after all, in addition to age, and flaws, There is the biggest snoop/snitch at Microsoft's disposal: Cortana. Microsoft wants you on "the latest and greatest," where, by default with a one finger salute to the users and their privacy, Cortana tells all to Redmond. This still in spite of all the "improvements" to privacy controls. Yeah, that isn't exactly on topic...

    I can understand the Steam move, as XP and Vista won't support the newest versions of the browser, and privacy and security laws are mandating certain security support features only found in the newest/newer browsers. THIS affects Steam as well since you can make purchases through the steam app.
    Reply
  • randomizer
    Microsoft plans to end support for Windows 7 in 2020, which is a little over one year and seven months from now. So it makes sense for people to finally upgrade to the latest Windows 10 once and for all, since that's the version of Windows that Microsoft plans to support going forward.

    If Valve has supported XP for this long after Microsoft dropped support you might get away with running Windows 7 until 2024. Or Windows 8.1 until 2027. No need to subject yourself to biannual breakage just yet.
    Reply
  • cryoburner
    A problem I have with this is that there are a number of older games that have issues running on current Windows versions, and these titles may no longer be functional after this.

    And while XP might not be practical for a primary system these days, systems running the OS can still be used for playing older games, or even many newer ones from small developers. I'm sure there are still plenty of XP systems hanging around in homes, even if most might not be getting used on a daily basis. It's unfortunate that it won't be possible to run games on these systems, at least without re-acquiring them somewhere else.

    It would be better for Valve to provide a low-maintenance version of the client, even if it just offered the basic "small mode" features, or simply behaved more like offline mode. The existing offline mode might work as a solution for games that are already installed, but even that won't be particularly useful if re-installation is ever needed.
    Reply
  • NewbieGeek
    Anyone else suddenly getting really slow download on steam, and steam only recently?
    Reply
  • Red_Frog
    Chalk up some more GoG converts. So long as you can access their website you can download your games.
    Reply
  • jktz122
    newbie steam has been slow for a while .. not sure why
    Reply
  • Dugimodo
    but as a sign of good faith, the company is giving affected users what is left of the year to make the transition


    So less than a day ? Given this article is dated December 31 :)
    I just found that amusing.
    Reply
  • captaincharisma
    any games that work best on windows XP are likely abondonware by now so for the sake of the internet update to windows 10 already and run then in a virtual machine
    Reply
  • mitch074
    There is one free upgrade path: steam on Linux, with beta steam play enabled - most if not all DX9 games should run fine. No privacy problem, no hardware upgrade needed, no license required, heck you can simply backup your current games and restore them once you are done reformatting.
    Reply
  • Unolocogringo
    Many of us have old systems running older software for nostalgia reasons. Old game support for the most part and favorite computers you just did not want to part with.
    I only have 2 computers running windows 10.
    An older I5 2400 with a GTX 1070 folding 24/7/365 except for windows updates. (had 10 pro on it when I received it.)
    And a new gaming laptop that does not have Win 7-8 drivers available for it.
    I will stick with patched 7&8 to stop 10s Microsoft gets a copy of everything you do on your computer. And we all get to beta test for free the next great update.
    And automatically uploading up to 500gig of windows updates to other internet computers each month as a default setting.
    The list goes on forever and ever.
    Reply