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God’s own operating system continues the hurtle to oblivion as even Rockstar abandons Windows 7

Looking back, I can’t decide if the Windows I have the warmest memories of is XP or 7. XP was a stalwart, something about it feels eternal, like it’s the ur-version of the OS from which all others emerge. But it was on 7 that I first got my hands on games like Planescape, Baldur’s Gate, and Vampire: The Masquerade – Bloodlines, and its silly aero themes still somehow feel like the future to me in 2024. I think it might just beat out its forefather in the annals of my memory.

But Windows 7 (and its less-liked successor Windows 8) looks more set than ever to go the way of the Dodo. Official Microsoft support for the pair was terminated last year, Steam has stopped running on them, and now the Rockstar Launcher is winding up support for the OSes, too. You’ll need to be running Windows 10 or 11 to keep going with your GTA Online career.

Rockstar announced that it’d be ending support for Windows 7 and 8 in October last year, but now the day has come to pass. In a patch to the launcher released January 30, Rockstar announced that “Support for Windows 7, 8, and 8.1 has been removed from the Rockstar Games Launcher.” It also announced “minor bug fixes” and “improvements,” because even plunging a dagger into Caesar’s back shouldn’t distract you from the time-worn tradition of writing the most information-free patch notes known to mankind.

I kid. Mostly. After all, without ongoing Microsoft support, it’s a pretty risky thing to be running Windows 7 and 8 in 2024, but I confess it’s a weirdly nostalgic feeling to watch the Windows of my adolescence sail off into the Uttermost West. My first Windows was 98, which ran my dad’s bulky Fujitsu with great fanfare back in 1999, but I wasn’t really old enough to notice when everyone stopped using that. This, on the other hand, feels like watching your teenage self’s favourite band get older and stop touring: A bittersweet reminder of the impermanence of all things.

To hell with Windows 8, though. What even was that Metro UI Microsoft was trying to do? You can’t just slap a tablet UI on practically every desktop on Earth and expect to get away with it. Good riddance, you beastly thing. May you never darken my doorway again.

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