PC gamers will finally lose support for Windows 7, 8, and 8.1 thanks to Valve dropping them

PC gamers, it’s time to bring in the new year by finally retiring that old Windows OS. Valve announced in an official blog post that Steam would no longer support Windows 7, 8, and 8.1 after January 1, 2024.

According to the official Steam blog post, after that date current Steam Client installations on those named operating systems will no longer be receiving any updates, including security updates. Steam will also no longer offer technical support or be able to guarantee Steam functionality after that date.

According to the latest Steam hardware survey, only about 0.89% of Steam users still have Windows 7, 8, and 8.1 installed, which is around the same amount as those with Nvidia RTX 4090 graphics cards. Not an insignificant amount considering that there are 31 million online Steam users, but it’s still a rather small population so the dropped support makes sense on that front.

Valve recommended users update their OS as “core features in Steam rely on an embedded version of Google Chrome” and that “future versions of Steam will require Windows feature and security updates only present in Windows 10 and above.” The post also cites general security risks involved in keeping these operating systems installed without proper security updates to address them. This is sound advice considering that Microsoft ended support for Windows 7 in 2020 and Windows 8.1 in 2023.

Microsoft ending OS support could spell disaster

Windows 7, 8, and 8.1 aren’t the only ones that have gotten the boot from Microsoft, as the tech giant is planning on ending support for Windows 10 in 2025.

Not only is this putting a significant amount of users out of an unsupported OS but, as analyst firm Canalys puts it, could cause an environmental disaster. This is due to the current laptops running Windows 10 that don’t fit the hardware requirements for Windows 11, which means that those laptops would most likely not be recycled. That’s an estimated 240 million PCs becoming e-waste.

Users will have the option to pay for prolonged support, like with Windows 7 before it, but that only extended the lifespan by three years and each year saw rising costs for paying users.

It remains to be seen how Microsoft will handle this potential catastrophe, especially since in recent years the corporation has seemed to become more proactive in terms of sustainable and easily repaired hardware, as well as other environmental issues.

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Windows 10’s new Photos app brings cool new features while dropping old favorites

Despite Microsoft’s efforts, many users are stubbornly clinging on to Windows 10, rather than upgrading to Windows 11, and the upshot of that is that the company is still adding new features to the older operating system – with Windows 10 getting a new version of the Photos app. 

This was was an anticipated change after being spotted in a Windows preview by an X (formerly Twitter) user.

The new version of the Photos app for Windows 10 is basically the same as the one found in Windows 11, and offers new editing capabilities and a filmstrip view that lets you view all your photos and videos in a single window. 

You can also view your photos and videos in a mode called ‘multi-view’, a favorite feature of existing users of the app. Multi-view is another novel way to go through your photos and videos, allowing you to open them all within one window and easily compare them side-by-side, as detailed by Windows Latest

The new Photos app in Windows 11

(Image credit: Microsoft)

What have users been saying?

However, despite all of these flashy new features, some users have complained that they prefer the old version of the Photos app for Windows 10. According to posts from both Microsoft’s Feedback Hub and the Microsoft Answers Forum, some users voiced that they’d like to see the “Clarity” and “Spot Fix” features returned to the newer Photos app. 

If you’d like to add your opinion on this issue, you can go to the Feedback Hub which is designed for users to submit their feedback directly to Microsoft. You can also speak to other users about the issue on the Microsoft Answers Forum, which is Microsoft’s dedicated community support forum.

A major complaint is that this new Photos app no longer has the “clarity” options that the older version had. The “clarity” capability in the older app was similar to that of Photoshop, and one user wrote that they aren’t interested in other effects, they just want their photos to appear more clearly. 

This particular feature was greatly praised because it could be used for more than just visual edits – it could also be used to clarify blurry photos to make features sharper, and if it included alphanumeric characters, easier to read. 

Young woman using a laptop inside at night

(Image credit: Getty Images)

The lasting popularity of older Windows features

Microsoft has been very keen to make Windows (and its features) more modern, but to be fair, there’s plenty it’s already gotten right. After all, there are reasons why Windows is still the most popular desktop OS around, so it shouldn’t be overly keen to jettison its older apps, especially if they remain popular. 

Microsoft often makes a point of saying it’s open to feedback and encourages users to submit it, and hopefully it pays attention, because there is clear demand for some of the older Photo app’s features. 

I understand why Microsoft keeps trying to push users to Windows 11 and its apps – I imagine it would like to focus its efforts on one primary OS, especially when it comes to security. That said, a lot of users really prefer Windows 10, and Microsoft needs to acknowledge why the older version remains so popular. Turning Windows 10 into Windows 11-lite won’t go down well for fans of the older OS.

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