You might not want to hold on to that vintage gaming PC for much longer. Valve has warned that Steam will no longer support Windows 7, Windows 8 or Windows 8.1 as of January 1st, 2024. The game client's latest features use an embedded version of Google's Chrome browser, which dropped support for those operating systems in February. Incoming versions of Steam for Windows will also require OS updates that are only available in Windows 10 and newer releases, Valve adds.
As PC Gamer points out, this won't affect most Steam users. Just under 1.9 percent of the software's audience is using one of the relevant Windows versions, according to Valve's latest survey. That still affects a significant number of people, though, and may leave them no choice but to either upgrade their OS or buy a PC with a supported platform. The end of support could be particularly troublesome if you need an older version of Windows for work or a retro gaming system.
There has been plenty of pressure elsewhere to move on. Microsoft stopped supporting Windows 7 in January 2020, and Windows 8.1 at the start of 2023. Epic Games no longer supports those platforms if you want to run Fortnite, for that matter. It's becoming harder and harder to use an ancient Windows machine in general — Steam's compatibility change may just be the tipping point that pushes you toward an upgrade.