Valve recently announced that, as of January 1st, Steam officially dropped support for Windows 7, Windows 8, and Windows 8.1. This move comes as an initiative to boost security since Steam relies on an embedded version of Google Chrome, which no longer supports these outdated Windows versions.
"Steam Client installations on these operating systems will no longer receive updates of any kind including security updates," Steam stated in their announcement post. "Steam Support will be unable to offer users technical support for issues related to the old operating systems, and Steam will be unable to guarantee continued functionality of Steam on the unsupported operating system versions."
Valve go on to say that this decision also takes into account future development of the platform and that later updates will requite Windows security features only available in Windows 10 and above.
So, what do you do if you are on one of these now unsupported Windows versions? Technically, games should run on outdated versions of Windows for some time without official support. That being said, the real solution is clear: update your system.
"We strongly encourage all Windows 7/8/8.1 users to update sooner rather than later," continue Valve.
Not only will users get the most up to date, secure versions of Steam with its latest features, but running outdated OSes is a major security risk. Microsoft no longer offers security updates for Windows 7, 8, or 8.1, making computers running these operating systems vulnerable to attack.
"Computers running these operating systems, when connected to the internet, are susceptible to new malware and other exploits which will not be patched," state Valve. "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."
So, update your systems if you haven't already. And, if you are willing, consider making the switch to Linux. Most of your Steam games will run great, and you will reclaim some of your digital freedom along the way.