People Are Still Using Steam On Windows Vista

People Are Still Using Steam On Windows Vista
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The advantage of having millions of active users is that it tends to be a bit easier to collect useful information. And Steam’s regular hardware surveys do just that, with their publication giving everyone a better understanding of precisely what PC an “average” Steam user might have.

But I don’t want to focus on the average user today. Let’s focus on the people running Windows Vista instead.

There’s always some interesting figures in Steam’s surveys. For one, the amount of Steam users running the 64-bit version of Windows 10 has nearly overtaken those running Windows 7 64-bit. The latter was still the OS of choice for 34.21% of respondents, while Windows 10 64-bit is being used by 34.01% of users.

If you combine the figures for the 32-bit and 64-bit versions, Windows 10 still has a fair way to go. But what’s more intriguing to me is the 0.37% percent of users relying on what gamers usually consider hot garbage: Windows Vista.

What’s surprising is that the same amount of people using Windows Vista overall is identical to those running the 32-bit version of Windows 8.1. I’ve never quite understood users who took the plunge on Windows 8 — or 8.1 — but haven’t bitten on Windows 10. Windows 10 to me is just the speed and functionality of 8/8.1 without some of the compatibility issues and quirks, but maybe I’m venturing off the ranch with that view.

We can’t tell precisely how many users were surveyed, because Steam users can always refuse to participate in the monthly surveys. It’s interesting that the Windows 8 32-bit crowd hasn’t shrunk from last month, while those using the 32-bit version of Windows XP saw a very marginal increase of 0.03%. I’d bet that change was more to users choosing to respond than gamers flocking to XP. Alternatively, more people could just be installing Steam on their work computers.

On the resolution front, 1080p is still the standard resolution for most gamers although those using 1440p as default rose by 0.05% to 1.39%. The second most popular resolution appears to be those playing on laptops, with 26.26% of respondents using the slightly off-ratio resolution of 1366×768.

So the question I want to put to those still playing on Vista: does it have anything to do with gaming whatsoever? My experience is that a lot of users who hold onto legacy OS’s do so because they rely on older programs that simply don’t play nicely with Windows 10 or even Windows 7.


  • Worth adding a reason for older Windows versions that was left out; virtual machines. There are quite a few games on Steam that only work well on XP (ie Rollercoaster Tycoon) that are best run from a VM.

  • I upgraded to Windows 7 when I first even considered buying upgrades to my PC, in 2011. My old workhorse, an AMD Radeon 6570, necessitated it but that was from XP, and it was quite a tall order to have to basically leap-frog Vista at the time, let me tell you.

    Likewise, I didn’t go near 8 but when I did the ‘free’ upgrade to Windows 10, it was quite a stressful time. I was that traumatised I then proceeded to spend just over $1500 on modern parts and built a new PC almost from scratch.

    I miss Windows 7 very much.

    • To answer your question, I just can’t justify the price to replace something that still works & which I use as little as I do.

      • FYI Windows 8/10 perform the same/better than XP on old hardware, so in future if you’re looking to breathe new life into said craptop, might be worth the upgrade!

        • It’s a decade old, I can’t believe it still turns on.

          Soon I’ll just buy a desktop (been saying ‘soon’ for years, but the old girl hangs in there).

          But like I say, we just don’t use it enough atm. When the boy gets a bit older it’ll matter more.
          Although I’ll probably just have to get him his own tablet by that stage.

          Either way, it’s still doing what I need it to, even if it is slow. So until I *need* to replace it, I won’t. 🙂

        • Can agree I have an old HP laptop core 2 duo. Had Vista ditched it for 7. But when I went to 10 the difference was huge.

  • There are still a large percentage of people using Windows XP too – even gamers. This is despite the fact the OS is no longer supported.

    • A lot of people don’t understand what that actually means. They just go “Woohoo, no more update notifications!”

  • Windows 7, 64 bit for me….I’ve never trusted new versions of Windows and generally just stick with whatever I got at the time I bought/made my PC.

    Hitting the low end of meeting system reqs now (actually below minimum for The Division – still runs, yay!) so have been looking into getting a new PC. Buying a pre-built works out cheaper than building my own atm which is very strange. Will likely end up with Win 10 when that happens

    • Win 7 64 here as well
      Although my laptop (mainly used for uni purposes) runs 10 – it was a free upgrade from the abominable 8.1

  • Thing some gamers don’t think of using older versions of Windows is DirectX compatability. Older versions of Windows don’t support the latest version. And word is nVidia will drop driver support for xp soon.

    • DX12 is the only thing that has me pondering the win10 upgrade. Also native Minecraft/VR version I guess. Otherwise I’d totally stick with 7.

  • Wright Micah Final Draft Build 57, Kotaku community
    I’m stell using vista for up beet gaming and logical companuts here are my specks

    windows vista ultimate 32-bit
    Intel(R) Core(TM) i5-3210M CPU @ 2.50GHz
    8.00 GB RAM
    Intel(R) HD Graphics 4000 ( open GL 3.3 & open cl 1.2 )

    I trend windows 7 and above for games and i can below be in 20 fps unlick vista goes about 40 fps per avagege for the double fane (Ex ,brutal legend or telltale (EX, walking dead michanne and humongous games ( Ex. pajama sam). im not really sure why thoew. and i use vista for lagical games like reader rabbit that relise on 800 * 600 screen resenslen in fell screen that you really cant on windows 7 base on it forces mentine screen reseoslne and usly it forms 2 block sads tune pacshre but for some games it tarns untel a smell square that is hard to play under. unlick vista i play normal restsen. i also use vista to promilt games on it because it supports direct x 11, and under the hood is 90% the same as 7. hack i even got INTERNET explorer 10 to work under vista that Microsoft clams is not supported but got it to work. so even got the new adobe reader 2015 running on it even thew adobe blocks the instellen of it.
    i don’t upgrade because there is not in upgrade that windows 7 removes ficshers like windows ultimate extras even tones of removed windows media player stuff like Graphic Equalizer
    and other music enhancements . i also use windows vista to instill windows xp mode from Microsoft own web site ( and use windows viruel pc 2007 to ran it under windows vista sp2 so why use windows 7 if vista can do it.
    thack you form wright micah

    • I think that is the most impressive feat of alternative spelling I have ever read.

      In any case, it sounds like you use Vista because it does most of what Windows 7 does and also has a few features that were later removed. That’s more or less what I suspected. The FPS difference is likely a driver issue – my guess is on the later OSes it’s using a more advanced version of DirectX, therefore more complex rendering options and so is more demanding for the CPU.

      Windows Vista through Windows 10 use fundamentally the same OS(*) with incremental upgrades and a few feature changes; while everyone hated Vista, it later developed that this was primarily because the search engine used so many resources that the OS was slowed down for most tasks that people actually wanted to do.

      Windows Vista and 8 both suffered from the same core problem – an initial release which was fundamentally faulty in one way (Vista: search; 8: UI) but by the time that problem was fixed the damage (from a marketing/sales perspective) was done.

      (*) Lots of internal tuning and some extra features, of course, but the increment from Vista to 7, from 7 to 8 and from 8 to 10 was similar in each case, whereas moving from XP to Vista was a radical change from a largely Windows 95-derived kernel to a Windows-NT derived one. i.e. an actual operating system, not just a GUI for a program launcher.

  • My informal survey of “people I know, who keep roping me into free tech support” says that there’s a lot of people out there with their prebuilt Hewlett Packard, Acer and DELL desktops and various laptops where they’ll never upgrade any of it (short of buying a new one when it finally dies) that are lucky if they even install windows updates and other software updates, let alone put a new version of windows on it.

    They still expect that 9 – 10 year old system with a Core 2 CPU, onboard GPU with 512MB of RAM and Windows Vista 32 bit with no software updates to play the latest games of course.

    Not everyone can replace their desktop every 2 – 3 years, sure.. but 10 years? If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it I guess.

  • Back when I built my PC, Vista 64-bit was shaky enough that I didn’t trust it to be reliable. I went with 32-bit for purported stability. Linux wasn’t up to scratch with what I wanted to play, or I wasn’t up to scratch with Linux.
    By the time Windows 7 came out I was happily gaming away on Vista 32 and didn’t see any reason to upgrade. Windows 8 didn’t hit any notes for what I wanted and hit a whole bunch for things I dislike. Now that Windows 10 has been out for a bit I’m considering upgrading to 7.

    The largest downside has been the gradual move in gaming to emphasising 64-bit applications over 32-bit; there are now many games out of which I am locked.

    Might also have something to do with OSes being expensive and myself being poor.

    • Have a go at reddit. Get yourself a Windows 7 Pro key for USD$15-20. While you are considering the reinstall, (check if you have sata 3 for the most advantage) then splurge a few hundred on a SSD. That will really make an older machine sing.

        • Windows 7 is very good. I would have happily stayed with it on my gaming PC, which was what I built it with, but I wanted the same OS on both my desktop and laptop.

  • A lot of the Vista hate stems from its release performance which was largely fixed. I’m using 8.1 holding off the Windows 10 upgrade for as long as possible (I was part of the Insider preview before release and some things were just missing which are still being patched into Windows 10).

  • I’m still using Vista 64 bit and I game on my PC every day.. Planning on building a new Comp soon, so waiting until then before I upgrade to Windows 10.

    When I built my current PC I missed out on the “Free upgrade to Windows 7” by a week, so have just persisted with Vista ever since :/

  • Reason I ised it up until a month ago is because I was poor. Simple as that. Still am. The PC was a gift from a friend. The only reason I upgraded to 10 was because Uni gave me a free copy.

  • So does Windows make up 95% of Valve’s user base? What about Linux, Steam OS and OSX?

    • That’s the other 5%. Less than 1% for Linux (SteamOS isn’t listed) and 3.4% across all OSX versions.

  • I built my PC in 2009 and installed Vista 64-bit. I basically cbf upgrading because I’ve had so many things on my PC and working on various stuff. Didn’t want to start from scratch. When I eventually upgrade my PC I’ll look at 7 or 10. I guess 10 will have to be the way to go….

  • I can think of a reason for not switching to windows 10 from 8.1 – forced driver updates.
    I’m on 10 and the stock OEM drivers work great, then windows decides to update the intel gfx drivers and then the pc black screens every day. roll back and no problems. then 10 decides to force update them again and again and again….

  • I used windows 10 for 6 months and had some issues with it. I got BSOD couple times and sound got distorted sometimes on videos. I installed 8.1 back and haven’t got those yet.

  • I’m still on Vista having some csgo.
    The reason i don’t swap over OS is because all that informationgathering that was previously illegally done behind the covers (holes left open in OS’s for “national” security – and shit like that) now have been contract bound in the EULA. No fan of the 5 eye’s as it’s solely being used for the few (8) rich families in the world to upkeep plutocracy and dismantle democracy.

    Once organisation such as microsoft start to REALLY work for everyone and the rich suffer the same scutiny i might swap.

    When it comes to the software itself it forces those updates on you and takes the task to police you for the DRM industy which has ruined so much and tax alot of the people through payments on products such as storage, being one of three entities that basically can do that together with banks (passively passing along fees to their customers) and the national governments of the world.

    Having no sandbox for the older OS’s and having the ability to use the old OS’s also has alot to do with it – why not make a sandbox with ALL the old OS’s available for download as is…

    Microsoft is working hard to recruit customers for Lunx, osx and ubuntu.

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