Steam customers who use devices with the operating systems Windows XP or Windows Vista cannot run the Steam client anymore on these devices starting today.
Valve Software revealed in mid 2018 that it would end support for the two Microsoft operating systems on January 1, 2019.
Microsoft ended support for Windows XP in 2014 and support for Windows Vista in 2017. While there are still options to install some security patches on Windows XP or Windows Vista devices, many major Internet and software companies stopped supporting these operating systems already.
Valve notes that Steam won't run anymore on those versions of Windows and that users who want to "continue running Steam and any games or other products purchases through Steam", need to "update to a more recent version of Windows".
The explanation that Valve gives is the following: Steam uses an embedded version of Google Chrome and that browser does not support XP or Vista anymore. Also, the latest version of Steam requires "Windows feature and security" updates available only for Windows 7 and newer versions.
Valve's hardware and software survey, last updated in September 2018, highlights that 0.11% of all devices running Steam ran a 32-bit copy of Windows XP. Windows Vista is not listed which means that its share is lower than the share of the lowest listed Windows operating system; that's Windows 8.1 with a share of 0.06%.
Valve's decision to end support for the operating system has far reaching consequences for some customers. Steam won't run anymore on unsupported devices; the main issue arises for users who don't have access to devices running newer versions of Windows. Why? Because they won't be able to access their Steam game purchases anymore on XP or Vista devices.
Steam customers have two main options:
Linux offers some advantages but also disadvantages: Linux distributions are free to use and install, and Valve improved support for running Windows games under Linux in recent time. The downside is that there are games that won't run under Linux; certain games, e.g. those that require some form or DRM, may not run under Linux.
Steam users can browse the Linux category on the Store website to find out if games are supported under Linux officially.
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