back to article Windows 8.1 becomes world's fourth-most-popular desktop OS

Windows 8.1 adoption is speeding up, with the operating system now the planet's fourth-most-popular, according to Netmarketshare statistics. With January 2014 now behind us, the firm has totted up the results of its ongoing observations of just what browsers and operating systems hit the world's web servers. Those explorations …

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Anonymous Coward

the idiots in our uk infastructure and our new IT operations manager didn't know XP was going complete end of support -.-;; there's still 1000 desktops across the estate that are running it...

Le sigh.

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What's even scarier is the number of cash registers I see running Windows XP. And last month I went to a movie theater and about midway through ending credits, the glorious 4K digital projection stopped suddenly, and was replaced with a Windows XP desktop showing a plain white background and the message "Active Desktop Recovery. Microsoft Windows has experienced an unexpected error. As a precaution, your Active Desktop has been turned off" with a "restore" button and a bunch of troubleshooting info.

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Might be a good idea to go cash-only for a few months after the first unpatched vuln is released :)

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This is a little story about four people named Everybody, Somebody, Anybody, and Nobody. There was an important job to be done and Everybody was sure that Somebody would do it. Anybody could have done it, but Nobody did it. Somebody got angry about that because it was Everybody's job. Everybody thought that Anybody could do it, but Nobody realized that Everybody wouldn't do it. It ended up that Everybody blamed Somebody when Nobody did what Anybody could have done

Perhaps somebody should have briefed the operations manager (preferably without calling him an idiot).

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"Might be a good idea to go cash-only". I agree, been a good idea for more than ten years. Some problems finding the right icon here.

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@Gray Ham

Completely agree, especially when it is THEIR JOB to follow this stuff up and plan, not yours. I get to do this quite often, wasting my own time making sure others get their act together before they reach a customer/the manager.

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Cash registers etc.

They will be using XP Embedded and are NOT affected by the desktop EoL:

"Extended support for Windows XP Embedded ends on January 12, 2016." (Wiki)

Officially it's:

Windows XP Embedded Service Pack 3 11/14/2008

Support ends 24 months after the next service pack releases or at the end of the product's support lifecycle, whichever comes first. For more information, please see the service pack policy here .

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Cash machines are most likely going to be less of an issue as they run XP Embedded, which has an end of life a couple of years away from now: http://support.microsoft.com/lifecycle/search/default.aspx?sort=PN&alpha=Windows+XP+Embedded&Filter=FilterNO

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Re: Cash registers etc.

"They will be using XP Embedded and are NOT affected by the desktop EoL"

Not all, I'm afraid. There's plenty of EPOS systems running on desktop XP, particularly away from the big chains. And even if you're a big chain running XPE, how safe are you when the s0ddin' EPOS system is written in Java?

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Anonymous Coward

brief the ops manager

Not our line of report, not our division, not our responsibility, didn't know about the problem until someone jokingly mentioned they knew nothing about, we kind of assumed the infrastructure support team would know that XP was going end of life. We'd been talking about it for a couple of years on and off.

And would, Fucking Idiot do?

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Anonymous Coward

Actually if you do your homework correctly you will find XP will still get updates for years after general support ends, for a fee that is.

You dont even have to do the hard work as here is the proof

http://www.pcworld.com/article/2047768/microsoft-will-still-patch-windows-xp-for-a-select-group.html

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I was in my local Currys PC World a few weeks ago looking at freezers and noticed all their terminals were still running ordinary desktop Windows XP.

Since the only Windows they'll sell is 8, is it a case of 'do as I say, not as I do?'

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Anonymous Coward

@Franklin

What's even scarier is the number of cash registers I see running Windows XP.

I'm not scared at all.

The junk food conglomerate I work for still has numerous Win9x/XP cash registers in hundreds of locations spread through several countries (and continents) - and they're as safe as ever.

The core Windows OS hasn't been updated after the master image has been deemed fully working. Some models may have XP RTM, some came with SP1-3. All connections are thru VPN to HQ. Sales software works in user space and users access only the sales software. Naturally new tills are loaded with Win7 but that's not very important since the unified sales software targets the lowest common denominator - Win95.

Sure, the developers would like to NOT code with Win95 backwards compatibility in mind but one cash register (including installation, some at very remote locations) cost easily several thousands of $currency.

I'm much more scared with all the HQ computers and smartphones and internet facing systems no matter what the OS and how updated they are.

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Coat

XP night at the movies

"...last month I went to a movie theater and about midway through ending credits, the glorious 4K digital projection stopped suddenly, and was replaced with a Windows XP desktop showing a plain white background and the message "Active Desktop Recovery. Microsoft Windows has experienced an unexpected error. As a precaution, your Active Desktop has been turned off" with a "restore" button and a bunch of troubleshooting info..."

Uh, I hate to tell you, but that was actually part of the movie.

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8.1 and 8 should be grouped together

8.1 is a service pack of Windows 8 - why report it separately? Windows 8 market share is 10.58%

If you are going to break out service packs for Windows 8 then you should do it for all other versions.

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Linux

Re: 8.1 and 8 should be grouped together

Enter the "Linux desktop" problem, and shut up.

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Re: 8.1 and 8 should be grouped together

8 and 8.1 share more than a kernel.

But to be fair, it might be a good idea to just group all Linux desktops together in stats and see what the total is.

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Re: 8.1 and 8 should be grouped together

... except that the very slow uptake of service pack 1 seems worth noting.

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Re: 8.1 and 8 should be grouped together

8.1 is not a service pack for 8, it's a totally separate OS, evident by the fact that you install it like a new OS, you get upgrade screens like a new OS, etc.

If it was a "service pack" for 8, then Windows 98SE would also be classed as one - it isn't so it's not.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: 8.1 and 8 should be grouped together

More interesting ChromeOS isn't even listed, despite making up a very significant OS marketshare...

I wonder why......

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Re: 8.1 and 8 should be grouped together@ Test Man

"8.1 is not a service pack for 8, it's a totally separate OS, evident by the fact that you install it like a new OS, you get upgrade screens like a new OS, etc."

So in your world the definition of a unique operating system is the user experience of installing it?

Microsoft certainly dressed up 8.1 as more than a service pack, but comparing before and after I see virtually no difference, other than a function and use-free start button. If that defines a discrete OS, then you are very easily pleased.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: 8.1 and 8 should be grouped together

"If it was a "service pack" for 8, then Windows 98SE would also be classed as one "

Semantics. And I would say - in retrospect - that all 32-bit versions of 9x following the original 32-bit 95 were service packs.

I'm really reluctant to call 7 a service pack for Vista, but hate Vista so much while to date 7 remains my operating system of choice so maybe I'm unable to be objective about it. But I have no doubt whatsoever that 8.1 is a service pack for 8.0 regardless of what the habitual bullshitters, Microsoft, call it or the minor alterations they made to the update procedure to back it up.

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Re: 8.1 and 8 should be grouped together

"More interesting ChromeOS isn't even listed, despite making up a very significant OS marketshare...

I wonder why......"

Err, because its not true? I've never met or heard of a single person using Chrome OS. And aside from that its not even a true user OS anyway - its a tarted up web terminal. Even google seem to have given up on it and refocused on Android.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: 8.1 and 8 should be grouped together

You know it's outselling Windows 8 laptops consistently right?

ChromeOS has already got 20 odd percent of the market...

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Anonymous Coward

Re: ChromeOS has already got 20 odd percent of the market...

[citation needed]

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Re: ChromeOS has already got 20 odd percent of the market...

There are five computers in his house and Chrome is on one of them.

This also proves that AT&T System V, VAX/VMS, Yellow Dog Linux, and AmigaDOS have 20% of the market.

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Re: 8.1 and 8 should be grouped together

"ChromeOS has already got 20 odd percent of the market..."

Wrong. Chrome OS accounted for 20% of LAPTOP sales in the US ONLY, in 2013. The stats in the article are worldwide OS stats (just to be clear; there are other countries in the world), and also include tablets and enterprise. And they include other years.

The laptop market is a very rapidly declining one, and although the desktop market is too, desktops are still used widely in industry. The increased Chrome sales in the US were to home users looking for a cheap Facebook status updater, who were unwilling to shell out for a tablet. In the grand scheme of things, 20% of shipped laptops running Chrome OS, in a single year, doesn't make a dent, and certainly doesn't equate to "20% market share." Chrome OS made up 0.2% of US laptop sales the year before.

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Re: 8.1 and 8 should be grouped together

Although there were reports of Chrome books taking up to 20% of sales (I believe from Amazon) in the Xmas run up, this hasn't been reflected in any internet usage stats - infact none of them are even breaking ChromeOS out as it's own category - seemingly dumping it in to 'Linux' or 'Other' at less than 1% along with lots of other systems.

I saw a definitive 0.07% from May 2013.

So if the Xmas sales are true and 20% of notebooks sold were Chrome books, what are people doing with them?

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Trollface

Re: 8.1 and 8 should be grouped together

"So if the Xmas sales are true and 20% of notebooks sold were Chrome books, what are people doing with them?"

You really want me to answer that?

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Re: 8.1 and 8 should be grouped together

Neither was OSX.

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Re: 8.1 and 8 should be grouped together

"8.1 is not a service pack for 8, it's a totally separate OS, evident by the fact that you install it like a new OS, you get upgrade screens like a new OS, etc."

If you look at the published support lifecycle, Microsoft are saying that because 8.1 is freely avaiable to 8.0 users, they will be withdrawing their support for 8.0 in two years time because that's how they treat service packs. (Their words, not mine.)

http://support.microsoft.com/lifecycle/search/default.aspx?alpha=Windows+8

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Facepalm

Re: ChromeOS has already got 20 odd percent of the market

You do realise that 20 percent of recent laptop sales is a lot fewer than 20 percent of PCs currently in use? No?

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Re: 8.1 and 8 should be grouped together

" 8.1 and 8 should be grouped together

8.1 is a service pack of Windows 8 - why report it separately? Windows 8 market share is 10.58%

If you are going to break out service packs for Windows 8 then you should do it for all other versions."

Well maybe then Windows 7 should be counted as a Windows Vista service pack.

MS apparently admitted as much.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: 8.1 and 8 should be grouped together

"it might be a good idea to just group all Linux desktops together in stats and see what the total is."

Still not even 2%.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: 8.1 and 8 should be grouped together

Many of the Chrome book purchasers were buying them just to get a cheap laptop and then wiping the Google spyware and installing a proper OS...

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Re: 8.1 and 8 should be grouped together

"If it was a "service pack" for 8, then Windows 98SE would also be classed as one - it isn't so it's not."

Actually, 98SE had a lot of changes under the bonnet, so it was often classified as a separate OS, hence the use of the phrase "Second Edition", so yes, I'd agree with that.

However Windows 8.1 is not really a new system as a lot of what is included are service and security patches along with a few bits and pieces to make it look different, mostly because Windows 8 was being shafted in the general marketplace. Regardless of how it installs, it all comes down to what is inside.

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Re: 8.1 and 8 should be grouped together

Yes, it is arguable that Windows 7 could possibly be accounted as a Windows Vista service pack, though there are some functional differences. But then if you really need to go down that route, you could say that Windows XP was a "service pack" for Windows 2000 Professional (If you have ever seen or played with a copy of Windows Neptune, you'd know why!)

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Holmes

Which is more secure? REALLY?

Am I the only person wondering if Windows post-XP any-version is actually more secure? I admit that's not the only criterion to look at, but it has clearly become the blackjack Microsoft is using to effectively blackmail people into 'upgrading' from XP. My perverse theory is that if Microsoft wasn't waving the death-and-destruction flag, Windows XP would still be dominating the market. Because it works.

What are the other criteria that might justify the upgrade? Faster booting? Slightly nice, but I bet XP would boot nearly as quickly on the faster machines, and even more to the point, Microsoft could fix that if they wanted to. Faster execution of software? Sorry, but the machines already run quite a bit faster than I need them to. Pretty rare that I'm waiting for any computation to complete in contrast to network or disk delays. More functionality? I actually know of one or two new features in Windows 7 that require non-Microsoft add-on software in Windows XP, but it turns out that I'm not actually using any of those features. Even worse, the fact that those features are now part of the OS means that they are bigger and more attractive targets for hackers, which to my way of thinking actually makes the OS less secure in exchange for no practical benefit. I may not use the new features, but the black hat hackers are quite eager to do so.

Risky prediction time? I predict Microsoft is going to back down and offer a paid continuation option for people who would rather pay for XP than switch. Shades of the ancient cigarette commercial? However, it's an economic model that will work for profit, and Microsoft has always put profit ahead of superior software, even if I were willing to concede that post-XP Windows was superior (for my real world user-level needs--and I am not making that concession).

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Re: Which is more secure? REALLY?

"I predict Microsoft is going to back down and offer a paid continuation option for people who would rather pay for XP than switch."

Already do mate - it called 'custom support' and will run you into the millions if you are talking a substantial fleet of devices.

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@Sannon

An OS is as secure as its admin. 'Nough said.

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Re: @Sannon

ComputerSecurityLevel = Min(OSSecurityLevel, AppSecurityLevel, AdminSecurityLevel, UserSecurityLevel);

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Re: Which is more secure? REALLY?

You obviously know nothing about the security differences between XP and 7.

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Re: Which is more secure? REALLY?

And why shouldn't MS want people to uprade? They are in he business of selling new software. More to the point why should they continue providing free support for an OS that nobody has paid for in over five years? I'm no fan of MS, but I fail to see why they should have to continue spending money on XP just to satisfy a bunch of cheapskates who can't be arsed to upgrade.

And as for putting profit first, that's what businesses do. Allegedly Honda will sell you any part for any vehicle they have ever made, however you have to be willing to wait for them to make it and pay whatever it costs. Tooling up to make some obscure one off part might cost quite a bit. If I were MS I'd do likewise. "You want a fix for XP? If you pay the salaries of every employee involved in developing and testing the fix you can have it. Still want it?" These cheapskates continue with XP because upgrading to Windows 7 costs money, support for XP doesn't. Make support cost and they'll probably upgrade.

I'm really at a loss to see why so many people still have XP. Yup there are pre-2009 PC's out there that came with XP, but how can PC's over five years old account for such a large fraction of installed desktops? Partly I suspect that a lot of post-2009 PCs have XP on them because it's much easier to get an unlicensed copy of XP past WGA than is is with Windows 7.

Of and to look at it from another point of view can you still get support for any other desktop OS that's thirteen years old? Course not.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Which is more secure? REALLY?

Last time I had anything to do with Honda, if you wanted to buy half a dozen washers you had to buy multiple packs containing just one or two at a premium price, which is just taking the piss. So just because they do something doesn't make it defensible, and unrestricted capitalism certainly isn't.

Meanwhile my experience (I've tested most of the cracks) is that it is much easier to get past WGA in Windows 7 than it is with XP. I'd tell you how except I'm not in the business of facilitating such. So far my impression is they've fixed it in 8. Figures, you're lucky if your printer works, but you'll definitely pay either way, for an OS few actually want.

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DMT

Re: Which is more secure? REALLY?

"I'm really at a loss to see why so many people still have XP. Yup there are pre-2009 PC's out there that came with XP, but how can PC's over five years old account for such a large fraction of installed desktops?"

You're overlooking the fact that many enterprises continued to install XP on PCs purchased long after Vista and Windows were released. For my company, our Win 7 deployment only completed last year, and until mid-2012 we were still buying PCs and imaging them with XP.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Which is more secure? REALLY?

"Am I the only person wondering if Windows post-XP any-version is actually more secure"

Vulnerabilty counts versus time have declined with new releases of Microsoft OSs - Windows has also consistently outperformed competing OSs for the last decade in terms of number of known vulnerabilites versus time and days at risk (time to fix). So my suggestion would be yes.

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Re: Which is more secure? REALLY?

"why should they continue providing free support"

Because 'support' is fixing the bugs they sold you in the first place.

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Gah :(

I really wish XP would die already - although I really don't blame sys admins for keeping it around! it is fairly lightweight and when all of your users are basically just writing word documents and using outlook why would they spend a bucket load to upgrade the infrastructure to support windows 7 / 8?

I guess IE7 will never die and us people involved in making T'interweb are forever going to be busting our ass with older technologies because our userbase requires it :(

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Re: Gah :(

Sadly, IE7 won't die until Vista dies in 2017, and IE8 won't die until 7 dies in 2020...

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