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Hundreds of Thousands of Windows XP and Vista Users Won't Be Able To Use Steam Soon (vice.com) 484

Windows XP and Vista users have six months to upgrade their operating systems or get the hell off of Steam. From a report: "Steam will officially stop supporting the Windows XP and Windows Vista operating systems," Valve, the company that operates Steam, said in a post to its XP and Vista support community. "This means that after that date the Steam Client will no longer run on those versions of Windows. In order to continue running Steam and any games or other products purchased through Steam, users will need to update to a more recent version of Windows."

Hundreds of Thousands of Windows XP and Vista Users Won't Be Able To Use Steam Soon

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  • Boo hoo (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Skuld-Chan ( 302449 ) on Wednesday June 13, 2018 @02:03PM (#56778308)

    No-one should have have to support an OS that came out 17 years ago.

    • I'm struggling to understand why people would stay on dead, insecure operating systems. I mean, modern games require win7 minimum, and those who need XP can and do work with compatibility mode. There's no excuse.
      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward

        literally MILLIONS of games will run on xp still. and if all it did was game... who cares about modern?

        On the other hand. Your car is too old. We're not going to allow you to buy gasoline here.
        Sorry.

        • Re:Boo hoo (Score:5, Insightful)

          by Zak3056 ( 69287 ) on Wednesday June 13, 2018 @03:02PM (#56778776) Journal

          On the other hand. Your car is too old. We're not going to allow you to buy gasoline here.
          Sorry.

          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tetraethyllead [wikipedia.org]

        • by Calydor ( 739835 )

          In several European countries you need to have your car checked and approved for continued use on the roads every couple of years. Sooner or later you ARE going to be told that your car is too old, that fixing it isn't worth the trouble if even possible, and no - you don't get to drive it anymore.

          • by Cederic ( 9623 )

            Actually, the inverse. Eventually your car gets so old the Government designate it 'classic' and admit it's not worth the effort to keep it roadworthy, so skip the checks and drive it anyway.

            https://www.gov.uk/historic-ve... [www.gov.uk]

          • Re:Boo hoo (Score:4, Insightful)

            by Angeret ( 1134311 ) on Thursday June 14, 2018 @08:55AM (#56782660)

            And in the UK you get it re-registered under "classic car" regulations, your insurance costs drop markedly and you get back on the road and drive on. Companies are very willing to supply parts at even reasonable costs and there's a whole industry surrounding having an old car. Car restoration nuts would say "Find another analogy."

            Shooting support for an OS in the head is going to be irksome for those who have no need or intention to upgrade, but cutting off the software that allows them to play their paid-for library of games is not going to be a great move. If it means forking Steam so that those Users who wish to can carry on but without any extras, updates or security fixes while everyone else moves on - that's a better option than "Upgrade your system which seems to be working fine or piss off."

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward

        I'm struggling to understand why people would stay on dead, insecure operating systems. I mean, modern games require win7 minimum, and those who need XP can and do work with compatibility mode.

        There's no excuse.

        There is. Both Windows 7 and Windows 10 spy on you.

      • Modern games aren't necessarily better games. And the XP computers might not even be on the internet and thus safer than the new junk.

      • Can you still get Windows 7 or are you stuck with W10 only ?

        My guess is the latter.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by sinij ( 911942 )

      No-one should have have to support an OS that came out 17 years ago.

      Yes, but no one should have a right to disable your working system because it is too old. They are not saying "we won't support your system with new features", they are saying "If you are gaming on an old system, we will make sure it doesn't work anymore".

      • Re:Boo hoo (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Computershack ( 1143409 ) on Wednesday June 13, 2018 @02:12PM (#56778374)
        No they're not. They're updating the client, the old OS no longer has the features that the new client needs so from thereon in it won't work. You can still fire up the old client, it'll just sit there doing nothing. You don't have an automatic right to have a software company support massively outdated OS feature sets that was end of life a decade ago.
        • Re:Boo hoo (Score:5, Insightful)

          by Aaden42 ( 198257 ) on Wednesday June 13, 2018 @02:19PM (#56778434) Homepage

          Steam is a special case. If you can't run the latest Steam client, the licensing on your existing Steam games will stop working, and you won't be able to play them any more. They're making a change which because of DRM will make your old, not-updated games actively break.

          It's reasonable they want to update Steam to modern technologies. It would also be reasonable if they left a legacy license server up that will continue to serve licenses to the last version of Steam that ran on those older systems.

          • If you can't run the latest Steam client....

            Except you can. You just an OS that's not 17 years old to run it on.

            I don't feel it's unresonable to ask people to update the OS on their home entertainment PC once a decade. Do you really feel that it is?

            • "I don't feel it's unresonable to ask people to update the OS on their home entertainment PC once a decade. Do you really feel that it is?"

              Of course it's unreasonable. If "They" sent a guy around every few years to install improvements in your home appliances that frequently rendered them unusable or replaced the UI with some incomprehensible digital shambles, you'd -- quite properly -- be outraged. Same with computers. They are appliances, not a playground for geeks. Treat them as such.

            • The "17 years" is nonsense, it's a meaningless measure measurement here. OSX is running a kernel that originated in the 1970s. Linux is 27 years old. XP did get patches, it is not the same OS as 17 years ago (actually released 16 years ago but I understand that math is hard). 10 years is far too short a time to declare that an expensive computer is dead when it's still working just fine. For security just pull it off of the internet but otherwise it should be ok to use.

          • Steam is a special case. If you can't run the latest Steam client, the licensing on your existing Steam games will stop working, and you won't be able to play them any more. They're making a change which because of DRM will make your old, not-updated games actively break.

            It's reasonable they want to update Steam to modern technologies. It would also be reasonable if they left a legacy license server up that will continue to serve licenses to the last version of Steam that ran on those older systems.

            Though part of the reason they're forcing the upgrade may be because Win XP/Vista lack DRM features they require. It may not be possible to support XP/Vista legacy systems without leaving those security holes, holes that could even be exploited by newer systems masquerading as legacy systems.

            Of course that's just speculation, and I suspect that DRM isn't that important to Steam's success anyway. They make a lot of sales because they offer a convenient platform, not because they're preventing pirates.

        • You don't have an automatic right to have a software company support massively outdated OS feature sets that was end of life a decade ago.

          So long as they first turn off any DRM that would prevent software you already own and purchased from continuing to function you would have a point.

          Otherwise if you purchased a perpetual license to something the store you bought it from doesn't have an "automatic right" to recall the item from your home because your house is too old.

          Perhaps they granted themselves that right and the right to your first born and the right for you to give them a million dollars on command because they wrote something to that

      • I disagree. Every new version of Windows introduces a new API level with a host of new functions. Those functions may be more efficient, more secure, or offer more functionality. Even if a program doesn't intend to add any new functionality itself, it may benefit from using those new functions. Having to write a path that either emulates that functionality or uses an older inferior version has a cost.

        • by Megane ( 129182 )

          This. Actually I think it's Visual Studio that causes this. Every new version of VS is likely to drop support for the API of a really old version of Windows. And since MS is in charge of VS, they can use this to snuff out whatever old versions of Windows they want nobody to be able to support. For those bitter clinger developers who try to keep support for old versions of the OS, the older versions of VS become unsupported. That's what must be happening now.

          I remember long ago when API deprecation in a gam

      • That doesn't make sense. You agree that Valve should not have to support an OS that came out 17 years ago, and then claim they should continue to support the OS that came out 17 years ago. That is literally what "support" means: "ensure it keeps working". Valve has been working on a complete rework of their client UI, the first piece of which just came out in beta. They will have to update every part of the client ultimately. And it is probably related to the announcement they're dropping support for XP/Vis
      • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

        by Darinbob ( 1142669 )

        It came out 16 years ago, but it was sold in NEW computers less than a decade ago. When Microsoft was anxiously trying to get people to move to the abysmal Vista the customers often discovered that the "Vista Ready" computers were not able to run Vista and so some vendors would downgrade to XP in order to sell them.

    • Who the heck is still running XP... for gaming? I'd love to see which of the latest video cards have drivers for XP!
      • Re:Boo hoo (Score:5, Informative)

        by F.Ultra ( 1673484 ) on Wednesday June 13, 2018 @02:32PM (#56778534)
        According to the latest Steam Survey, https://store.steampowered.com... [steampowered.com] , apparently 0.22% of the Steam user still does.
        • by jandrese ( 485 )
          Wow, less than 1% of Steam users have AMD cards? That seems hard to believe given how much OEMs love AMD.
      • Don't forget this covers Vista as well.

        • Oh right, this affects Vista users too, all two of them!
          • Seems fine then to take away people's game purchases, since only a few people are getting screwed.

            Windows 7 is about 33% on Steam right now. If it dips below 1% in 2-3 years will it be dropped too? Maybe you'll be using Windows 12 or whatever by then and not care about the principle that some people are unable to play games they purchased unless they keep their computers updated.

            Maybe it seems fine when you're a young gamer with disposable income, but it's a bit of a pain to stay on top of the latest techno

            • I have kids and I manage to keep my OS on a version that came out less than 15 years ago and also keep the oil in my car filtered and maintained. I must be a super human.

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by sexconker ( 1179573 )

        Who the heck is still running XP... for gaming?

        People with old games that don't work on a newer OS?

        • Probably. I know people who use and XP VM for this, since compatibility mode doesn't work very well in many cases.

      • They're not running XP on new computers, they're running XP because they don't want to pay to upgrade their working computer, or can't afford to.

        Solution is to not allow upgrade of the Steam client. If it was me, I'd pull it off the internet and then run everything in offline mode.

    • Re:Boo hoo (Score:5, Insightful)

      by KiloByte ( 825081 ) on Wednesday June 13, 2018 @02:12PM (#56778376)

      But why would a game you purchased stop working just because someone no longer considers your OS profitable?

      The DRM is sabotaging a perfectly working piece of hardware that can't run newer OS but is fully fit for the game you paid for and which worked well until now. Thus, it's reasonable to demand removal of the DRM or issuing a refund.

      Also, running XP and Vista with unfettered Internet access is unhealthy, thus converting these games into offline-only would be ok. It's also reasonable to no longer support the Steam UI, but only if the games can work stand-alone.

      • All my games in 8 inch floppy disks and 5.25 inch floppy disks are unplayable too.

        So why should this be different?

        • Why are they unplayable? Seems like they should be good to go once you've copied to a more convenient format, possibly you need to get Wine or some other emulator.

    • by DogDude ( 805747 )
      No-one should have have to support an OS that came out 17 years ago.

      Why not?
    • Re:Boo hoo (Score:5, Funny)

      by DickBreath ( 207180 ) on Wednesday June 13, 2018 @02:34PM (#56778564) Homepage
      The whole reason I was about to upgrade to Windows XP was for Steam. Now it seems like there is no point in upgrading.
    • by rsilvergun ( 571051 ) on Wednesday June 13, 2018 @02:44PM (#56778620)
      if I owned one I'd be demanding a refund right about now.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      No-one should have have to support an OS that came out 17 years ago.

      Yes.

      We should also be required to tear down and rebuild any structure older than 10 years. All houses, buildings, everything. If it's too old, it must be destroyed and you must replace it.

      All cars must be destroyed. All appliances. All clothing. All furniture. Everything that is "too old" must be destroyed. Just think how much money is being lost by the companies who manufacture these items, because people are allowed to keep using them for years and years.

    • They don't have to SUPPORT an old OS. They just have to not break what works now.

      I wish you and the Red Queen a fun race. But do keep in mind that for all the effort you and she expend, you aren't actually going anywhere unless you run twice as fast.

    • The slightly less pleasant aspect, in this case, is that(for anything that employs steam DRM, which is much of the catalog) "not support" isn't "we make no guarantee that anything will continue to work, advise you to upgrade; and definitely won't be providing updates" but rather "it will stop working by design, along with everything you purchased through it."

      I think you can get an extra couple of weeks by kicking steam into offline mode at the last moment; but as soon as Valve stops treating the last XP-
    • There's a difference between not supporting that OS versus actively prohibiting it. The new "features" in steam could have been made optional.

      Alternately, get all the games downloaded and go into offline mode permanently.

      Upgrading the OS is not easy, in most of these cases it will require a brand new computer.

  • by Sniper98G ( 1078397 ) on Wednesday June 13, 2018 @02:12PM (#56778378)

    "This means that after that date the Steam Client will no longer run on those versions of Windows."

    I can understand the desire to not have to support the older operating systems. But, why completely stop in from running?

    Why not just say, "if it breaks too bad" and let people risk it if they want to?

    • Because, due to stupid, it would still generate calls. Better not to run on unsupported systems.

    • I can understand the desire to not have to support the older operating systems. But, why completely stop in from running? Why not just say, "if it breaks too bad" and let people risk it if they want to?

      If the next release of the Steam Client requires a higher minimum API level in order to run, it may simply fail to work. It isn't that it may fail, but that it would fail. As to allowing older versions of the client to still connect to their network, that may fail the first time they change something on their end that causes communications to break.

    • by Hentes ( 2461350 ) on Wednesday June 13, 2018 @02:31PM (#56778526)

      Because Steam is partly a DRM solution. Being able to run unpatched versions would allow for crackers to exploit unpatched vulnerabilities which could be used for piracy. Yes it's silly and ineffective like all DRM, but the big publishers, Steam's main customers, want to keep the illusion. Now I don't know what will happen to older games that don't run on Win7, but hopefully Steam will force the developers to upgrade them before the 2019 deadline.

      • by dryriver ( 1010635 ) on Wednesday June 13, 2018 @02:35PM (#56778566)
        Valve does not not give a damn about its users, never has, and will definitely NOT force ANY developer to provide a Windows 7 version of any older game. Valve will just shrug their shoulders when people who love older games scream that they don't work anymore. These are the people who brought you boxed games in stores that contain only 1 DVD in the box, remember? Steam killed everybody's ability to buy a full, boxed game with complete install discs. Deliberately. For extra profit.
      • by Kjella ( 173770 )

        Because Steam is partly a DRM solution. Being able to run unpatched versions would allow for crackers to exploit unpatched vulnerabilities which could be used for piracy.

        Meh, I have the feeling they could solve this very easily by having a legacy client that can only authorize legacy games, like only games that support XP/Vista. I mean they're both out of extended support, there's probably nobody releasing games for them now. Drop all the optional features, you could even drop the store functionality, all you can do is log into your library, download and run old games you already have. Even if you could find a crack for 5+ year old games sales are probably microscopic.

        Remem

      • Oh please, if they actually gave a flying flipping fuck about that then damned near every GCW crack wouldn't be based on the Steam vrsion of the games!

        As someone who has actually worked support I can guaran-damn-tee ya its trying to keep support staff that actually knows how to deal with that ancient shit is just too much of a royal PITA. At the shop I worked at I was the only guy that still knew the old DOS/Win 3.x/Win9X OSes and software and you'd be amazed how much old industrial gear like CNCs are locked to some ancient version of DOS or Windows so if one of those companies came through the door? Suddenly everything I was doing had to be tossed to someone else who may or may not have a clue WTF I was working on because if we didn't do this? Yeah there simply wasn't anybody else that had a damned clue about dealing with that old shit.

        You have to remember when dealing with support it can be a fricking nightmare when you are just dealing with one or two OSes and until the cutoff date Valve has been dealing with SIX, not to mention the hardware...dude do you even remember what kind of hardware they were selling when XP was an OEM? We're talking Pentium 4s and Netburst celeron.../shiver/, hell just waiting for a damned diagnostic to run on those piles of shit can take three fricking forevers due to how bad Netburst sucked ass, and you expect them to support that mess? And Vista was NEVAR a good OS, I can't even imagine trying to figure out whether its a game bug or just one of the bazillion Vista bugs that was causing a problem, better them than me!

        So no its not the DRM, if it were they would have minimums that include CPUs with hardware DRM support. Nope I bet this is someone at management looked at the numbers and went "holy shit XP and Vista users are taking up HOW much time? Yeah...no, that crusty old shit has gots to go!" and as someone who still runs into the occasional XP or Vista user in the wild I say good riddance, that shit is just too damned old and creaky to be supporting in 2018.

    • They aren't going to stop it completely from running, Windows will because it won't understand the Windows 7 API calls it will be using.
  • XP 10 (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 13, 2018 @02:15PM (#56778408)

    Laughable because 10 is so much more secure than a 20 year old operating system, right?

    https://www.bleepingcomputer.com/news/security/cortana-hack-lets-you-change-passwords-on-locked-pcs/

    Yeah, about that....

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Pirated games don't care what OS you use. If it runs it runs.

    And nobody can alter the deal after the fact.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 13, 2018 @02:22PM (#56778462)

    Steam forced mandatory binding arbitration on their users because they wanted to be able to offer lifetime access to games, with the ability to revoke your access any time they feel like it's too much work to keep giving you access.

    If you accepted it, good luck.

  • IOS does something similar where you can download the last working version of the app for your IOS

    why can't steam keep the old legacy servers for the old client and repoint everyone to new servers that will be updated along with client? disable purchasing on the legacy servers and just keep them for the old games

  • Microsoft's CEO is currently driving a big push towards an absolutely terrifying "YOU OWN NOTHING" model of cloud computing. Everything - games, media, apps, office and productivity software is supposed to run in the Cloud only, and nothing will install or run locally anymore. Valve's role in all this was to create a completely unnecessary Cloud DRM service - Steam - that nobody asked for or needed, and essentially RAM IT DOWN YOUNG PEOPLE'S THROATS. Young gamers - maybe 500 to 700 million of them now - wer
    • Seriously dude, take your meds. Half what you rambled and shouted here is flat out wrong, and the other half applies to pretty much any modern game, no matter how you get it.

      I buy almost exclusively independently developed games through Steam that are DRM free. And while yes, Steam takes it's cut, I wouldn't have found many of those games without Steam, and it makes buying them so easy I'm more likely to impulse buy. And most of them run without Steam running.

      The games that require DRM to run do have some s

    • Dude... Do you REMEMBER what PC gaming was like before Steam?

      "if you love computing as it has always been"
      Clearly not. Let's think back, shall we?

      You had to have the CD in your computer to play. People started putting in multiple CD-ROM drives so that folks could easily play different games. That's not so bad...
      The DRM on those CDs was so invasive, some included rootkits (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sony_BMG_copy_protection_rootkit_scandal), back-doors, viruses, or would otherwise slow down / take over yo

  • But I couldn't possibly afford the ~$100 to upgrade my Windows OS! A bloo bloo bloo
  • Windows XP still has 5% market share over four years after end of support. It will be interesting to see how it keeps going after the end of Firefox and Steam support. Also when POSReady no longer gets updated. Most of it is in China and on businesses with expensive legacy hardware and software.

    This effects retro gamers the most.
    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Most of it is in China and on businesses with expensive legacy hardware and software.

      I'm typing this on XP. (With an 8-core AMD CPU in a box built only 2 1/2 years ago.) I use Firefox 52. I don't particularly want the WebExtensions version. I have Libre Office 5. Not the newest, but recent. Some things no longer run on XP, but most do. It does nearly everything later Windows can do, at 1/8 the size of Win7, without the Metro tiles of Win8, and without the spyware or forced updates of Win10.

      But while I do graphics work, business docs, web design and programming on this machine, I don't use c

    • by jythie ( 914043 )
      Unless you have a video card that doesn't support it, it is still a perfectly good OS. OS upgrades tend not to give users all that much outside 'some new hardware you buy needs it'.
  • So much for "buying" games on Steam if I can't access them due to an every changing policy at Valve.. The cloud fails us again.

    If Vista is obsolete then it won't be long before Windows 7 is taken off the support list. And the handful of us that don't like the amount of telemetry that Microsoft places in recent OS versions will have to stick to playing crappy free games like Tux Racer [wikipedia.org].

    • by higuita ( 129722 )

      1 - tux racer is awsome!
      2 - you have other good free games, like 0A.D. Warsow, Battle for Wesnoth, UFO, Pingus, OpenRA
      3- Best games ever: Nethack and Dwarf Fortress
      4- You can just install linux and play those free games or steam games just fine!

      • 20 years from now I'll still be playing Nethack, Moria, and Angband. Probably the highest replay value of any genre of games. But also not to everyone's taste.

  • As long as older games still work under current versions of Windows, I don't see a huge amount of anger over this change. But if Microsoft ever decides to clean up their API by removing depreciated functions or by dropping older compatibility sandboxes, I could see some real push-back since older games would eventually become unplayable unless Steam continues supporting older OS versions. As the AC above notes, this is what pushes people to pirate from abandonware sites.

  • by h8sg8s ( 559966 )

    I guess they'll just have to hack an ATM. Not to steal money, just to play games on XP..

  • It's not yours (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Uteck ( 127534 ) on Wednesday June 13, 2018 @03:15PM (#56778880)

    RMS has been warning of this for years, you don't own anything if it is on someone else's server.
    Steam is just game rental.

  • And this is why I just play retro Atari 2600 games on a cheap handheld with an AV out cable.
  • Offline mode still works. If not that, users should ask themselves if they are ethically and morally OK with pirating copies of games they legitimately own.

    But it's been 17 years. MS does not support those versions of Windows any more. The writing has been on the wall for years. It's time to upgrade.

    • Just pirate a new copy of Windows and you are all set. If it is only a gaming console (Windows is only acceptable as a toy) then MS can spy on it all they want. And if the games don't run, then yeah, pirate them also. Piracy is only fair since the other party of the agreement didn't stick to the agreement.
  • Windows XP? TOO OLD TO GAME ON!

    Original NES? Yeah, sure, that'll continue to work forever.

  • ...and it is powered by electric mains, no need to use steam to spin the hard disk, thank you!
  • So does this mean they will not be selling any games made for XP and Vista?? Im not sure how Steam can prevent people from playing the games they bought and paid for. So we cant use Steam then cut the cord so we can play without Steam.
  • by roc97007 ( 608802 ) on Wednesday June 13, 2018 @05:08PM (#56779788) Journal

    Steam runs on Mint. ....just sayin'.... I have Mint running on two xp-era laptops with solid state PATA drives and they're surprisingly snappy. Get an extended lease on life for aging laptops. Unless you just *have* to have one of those new 128 GB Lenovo monstrosities.

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