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back to article Windows 7, XP and even Vista GAIN market share again

Whatever Microsoft is doing to get punters adopting Windows 8.x isn't working, at least if the latest figures from Netmarketshare showing its older operating systems growing faster than its latest progeny are any guide. We've now tracked Netmarketshare's data for nine months and as the table below shows, Windows 7 has enjoyed …

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I haven't been keeping up with the numbers for a little while now, but looking at them now, it's quite telling, even if I've ignored the amount of time an OS has been around to gain traction.

Most notable that 8 and 8.1 *combined* has less than half market share of the remaining XP users, and XP is about half of Win7.

I've called 8.x "Vista v2.0", and going on market share, it seems I'm not too far off.

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Windows

History repeating

@John Tserkezis -

I've called 8.x "Vista v2.0", and going on market share, it seems I'm not too far off.

I agree. The problem with Vista was that people were, on the whole, content with XP, there was no real need to upgrade, anyone who really didn't like it moved to Linux or Mac - Vista wasn't going to help that. The problem with Win 8 is that, again, no one who uses Win 7 is crying out for a new OS.

It seems evidently clear that Microsoft just don't understand their customers. Home users are happy to simply buy the machine with the OS loaded and don't care what the OS is - no real gain for Microsoft there, they would get the money for Win 7 or 8. Business users move slowly, OS upgrades across hundreds and thousands of machines can take years of preparation and, more importantly, if there is no compelling reason to upgrade, then they wont do it.

Once again Microsoft are trying to push an OS no one wants, just like they did with Vista. By the time Win 9 comes and matures, large businesses may start to move from Win 7 to Win 9, if they need to. Until then the big marketshare change will be XP being gradually replaced by Win 7 through large migrations. (I don't think any later migration will be as painful as moving from Win XP has been as there shouldn't be as many browser lock-in related issues that IE6 has caused)

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Re: History repeating

Actually YOU don't get it.

The only reason why people were content with XP was simply inertia brought on by the totally once-in-a-lifetime gestation period of Vista (through the period when it was Longhorn and after that was scrapped).

Even so, Vista was necessary in order to move people onto new designs and features that Microsoft intended. Having Vista effectively "skipped" by releasing the next version of Windows after XP around the time of Windows 7 instead of when Vista shipped wouldn't have changed the supposed backlash.

Of course Windows "9" will be more readily accepted, they would have one OS' worth of experience with the new technologies introduced with Windows 8, in the same way Windows 7 was more accepted compared to Vista.

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Re: History repeating

Windows 7 was accepted because it was less ass than Vista.

Windows 8 has "one OS' worth of experience" over Windows 7 and it is significantly more ass than either 7 or Vista.

There is no reason to expect Microsoft will "get it right" with Windows 9. They either will, or they won't. But their corporate hubris is powerful, and it may crowd out the sort of thinking required to make an OS that will be widely accepted. Only time will tell.

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Re: History repeating

There is no reason to expect Microsoft will "get it right" with Windows 9.

On the contrary, they "got it right" with Windows 7 after messing up Windows Vista (believe it or not, people do actually like Windows 7) so there is every reason to think that Windows 9 will clean up the mess of Windows 8. I predict that this will be the future pattern of Windows releases; even numbers are a complete hash when they try to do something new and innovative and the odd numbers are where they actually make it usable.

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Re: History repeating @Joseph Haig

You're missing that MS got it very wrong after XP, firstly failing to deliver to market - the long pre-announced Longhorn, secondly rushing out Vista in a mistaken attempt to try and salvage something from the annus horribilis they had created for themselves. Windows 7 was effectively a more considered update/rework of Vista in the same vein the rumoured 8.2 release seems to be a more considered update/rework of 8.0/8.1 annus horribilis, so still not wonderful (particularly from an enterprise XP migration viewpoint) - hence why many delayed looking at it until SP1.

So MS's recent history (ie. since XP-SP2) is one of repeatedly getting it wrong, so with respect to Windows 9, I'll wait until it has been launched and I can actually touch it before I pass any judgement on whether it might be fit for purpose. But given the rumours are that Windows 9 will be a ground-up rewrite taking account of cloud et al. the odds of it being another Longhorn are looking good...

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Re: History repeating

" I predict that this will be the future pattern of Windows releases; even numbers are a complete hash when they try to do something new and innovative and the odd numbers are where they actually make it usable."

Hmm a bit like the early Star Trek films except it was even numbers = good (e.g. 2 - Wrath of Khan) and odd numbers = bad (e.g. 5 - The Final Frontier).

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Re: History repeating @Joseph Haig

XP->Vista was a UAC nightmare for us plus they screwed up the NTLM security initially before first patch which rendered our (at the time) filtering ineffective. Back to XP we went and stayed there till 7 came along. 7 was a joy to work with (over vista) and since we already deployed GPP packs to XP all our GPO were 7 friendly.

8+ 8.1 started playing silly tricks again. This time it was the pre-network logon, for some stupid reason, if the system has a wireless card then it reaches out to networks pre-logon (good), handshakes if it can (good) logs onto the network (good) then proceeds to ignore the proxy settings for the first "check to Microsoft to see how our licencing is doing" (bad). I believe this has been patched but still, getting "log onto proxy" before a CTRL-ALT-DEL screen is bad, especially on tablets (where typing usernames and passwords once is bad enough).

coupled to that the metro/lack of proper start menu that can be easily organised into alphabetical order is bloody shocking - try using server 2012 RDP (R2 at least dumps you on the desktop and does have a "start" button but it still has silly metro. Core is a much better option and teaches you to do things properly anyway.

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Childcatcher

Re: History repeating

So, the inverse of Star Wars trilogies, then.

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Re: History repeating

> It seems evidently clear that Microsoft just don't understand their customers.

MS understand their customers perfectly. They just prefer to look after their own interests which don't coincide.

They should have saved the billions they spent on 8.1 and ploughed it into making WinPhone/WinTab really good. Mobile market share is their goal, after all. They should have done an equivalent of iLife/iTunes, teamed up with Amazon for media purchases, Nokia (or old-school GPS like Garmin) for maps and written a WinTab emulation system so you have the option of running tablet apps on a touchscreen W7 PC. It would have saved them a world of grief.

You can't own the ecosystem when you're third in the market. You have to go best of breed.

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Thumb Up

Re: History repeating

@Trevor_Pott - forgive me I don't exactly know what you mean by 'less ass' and 'more ass'. Do you mean something that I might understand along the lines of 'less of an ass' and 'more of an ass'?

As others have posted, my (uninformed) guess is that Win 9 will fix the errors of Win 8. In the same way that Win 7 did for Vista. And due to a product of corporate infrastructure lifecycles and Microsoft fixing Win 8's problems - Win 9 will get taken up en masse.

Of course, Microsoft could still easily mess that up.

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Re: History repeating

Just what are the benefits for working at Microsoft? You seem to be well on the way for employee of the month, so do you get extra benefits?

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@Don Dumb

Things which are ass are bad. Sorry, it's the 90s slang that got bred into me. You'll just have to cope.

As to your magical woo-woo crystals sending you a positive vibe about Windows 9...what proof you have? Vista/7 are ages behind us. The brass involved all got shuffled or canned. "Microsoft" isn't a person, it's people, and there's no reason to believe any previous patterns will hold.

Microsoft has been getting more self-insulated and subject to corporate hubris, not less. That says to me that the chances of them "not getting it" for Windows 9 are rather high.

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Joke

Re: History repeating @Joseph Haig

> we already deployed GPP packs to XP

You work for the Sirius Cybernetics Corporation ?

Vic.

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Pint

Re: @Don Dumb

@Trevor_Pott - As to your magical woo-woo crystals sending you a positive vibe about Windows 9...what proof you have? Vista/7 are ages behind us.I don't, that's why I said it was 'my guess' and I did declare it as uninformed.

You read like you need a weekend, have a beer.

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XP gains market share?

The problem I have with these numbers is that XP has apparently gained market share. Since the gain cannot be from new sales, how was this accomplished?

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Re: History repeating

Actually YOU don't get it.

Oh good! I like a joke!

The only reason why people were content with XP was simply inertia brought on by the totally once-in-a-lifetime gestation period of Vista (through the period when it was Longhorn and after that was scrapped).

That's part of the reason, not the whole shebang. Consider the required for more memory, more disc space, more everything to get Vista to work, various incompatibilities, that rather annoying "Vista Ready" scandal, and you are getting a little closer to the mark.

Even so, Vista was necessary in order to move people onto new designs and features that Microsoft intended. Having Vista effectively "skipped" by releasing the next version of Windows after XP around the time of Windows 7 instead of when Vista shipped wouldn't have changed the supposed backlash.

Windows 7 has certainly become a success but it has its problems, just as Vista had. That's part of the reason why XP lasted so long after Microsoft realised that Vista wasn't going to work. Of course you will always get the situation that people will not move from an existing OS if the computer it is running on is too recent and Windows 7 also benefitted from that. Actually it has Vista to thank for that much!

Of course Windows "9" will be more readily accepted, they would have one OS' worth of experience with the new technologies introduced with Windows 8, in the same way Windows 7 was more accepted compared to Vista.

Then you know more than anybody else as we have yet to see the final product and have no idea if users will find a necessity to move. If anything, the "technologies" introduced in Windows 8 may drive users away so don't be to surprised if Microsoft hide all that under another layer.

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Re: how was this accomplished

Websites got more hits from XP users. Quite possibly some of the users had just heard about XP going EOL and had fired up their machines to order a nice new (old stock) Surface Pro, which some sites are knocking out at half the launch price.

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Shrinking Pool

I suspect that what we are seeing is a side effect of more people using tablets and smart phones for their browsing. Thus the percentage size of the desktop market in the web logs is shrinking. Hence a constant number of users on XP is showing up as a percentage increase.

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Re: Shrinking Pool

Also, given that this is websites visited, not installed copies and the almost insignificant changes, this could be down to surfing habits and rounding errors.

The only significant changes were Windows 7 gaining nearly half a percentage point, which is what you would expect, people are slowly moving away from XP and most corporates began their evaluation of Windows 7 a while ago and they aren't going to suddenly change to Windows 8. And the other one is Windows 8 is declining and Windows 8.1 is growing as people perform the free upgrade from 8 to 8.1.

Even so, I would think that such small gains and losses could fall into the statistical error range.

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Re: Shrinking Pool

I'm not sure that's the case at all. It's a bit of an over-simplification.

Of course I'm speaking anecdotally, but a wide range of people I support use tablets and smartphones to supplement their computing - not to replace it entirely. Generally, I find arguments to either side touting extinction to be extreme and not representative of most people's usage pattern.

My own opinion for these figures is that Windows 8 took away something crucial that the average joe needs to use a computer - usability. It seems rudimentary, but it's true - and I think most of us are now familiar with '8 reaction face'. When affronted with change, humans do what humans do, and scramble for familiarity.

I know I'm not the only to have wiped several 8 machines, at user request, for something else. For me, that's been a 40/60 split between Ubuntu and Windows 7, respectively.

In any case, I take any 8 'turf gain' stories with a Tesco condiment aisle of salt.

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Re: Shrinking Pool

You should always use a condiment.

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Re: Shrinking Pool

depends on the metrics too. We buy windows 8 machines then put our windows 7 image on them.

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FAIL

It would be interesting to see, how many of the Win8.x users are using ClassicShell or Start8. I suspect a good percentage.

Yes, some people like the Win8 shell, on the other hand, you will always find some people who like the strangest things. Some even enjoy pain.

And don't say, this is a temporary thing. Win8 is now out since a long time and had time to prove itself. It's kind of the dvorak of OSes. Theoretically a good thing, but the big majority of people don't get it and don't like to use it.

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I don't mind the new start screen. But I have a touch screen so it makes sense. I have however also tried it with a mouse. The adjective turd comes to mind...

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I use Windows 8 on PC and laptop. No touch screen. Push start and type for the app works for me.

Rarely see much of the start screen. Still don't understand why the search for apps can be slow though.

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Headmaster

@Adam1

That is a noun!

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Anonymous Coward

Downvoted for comparing w8 to Dvorak.

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Re:

That's exactly the point. If people are given a Windows tablet and spend 10 mins learning touch gestures, they are by and large quite happy (the apps are still a bit behind iOS / Android though).

Force a mouse and keyboard combo upon them and most people are frustrated that it's not as easy as XP to operate. Perhaps Windows 9 will fix all this properly, in a way that 8.1 hints at.

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Holmes

Still asking why (anything post XP)

My primary OS these days is, per force, Windows 7, but I still can't say why. Seriously, I cannot give you a single solid reason to adopt any new Microsoft OS. I was going to say "after XP", but I'm kind of hard-pressed to see anything really great about XP, now that I think about it. I suppose you can argue that XP was the ready for prime time version of Windows 2000, and Windows 95 certainly added some crucial TCP/IP support, but...

There are some fuzzy reasons, mostly in terms of speed. However, I think that's mostly a matter of Microsoft playing games. I firmly believe that Microsoft could have souped up XP to run faster than Windows 7 if they had expended about half the effort in that direction. These days it actually seems like Microsoft is trying to make Windows 7 run slower and slower, especially in booting. (Anyone else noticing increasingly slow boots on their Windows 7 boxes?)

The new feature justification is really thin, especially as the new features increase the sheer number of potential security vulnerabilities. At this point, I have given up trying to figure out what services and overhead is being wasted on my newer machines. Yeah, Microsoft has reduced the BSoDs, but Adobe seems to be picking up that slack very nicely. (My newest theory about Adobe is that they think the crashes and constant updates are some kind of cheap marketing visibility.)

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Re: Still asking why (anything post XP)

XP was a dog and the Fisher Price look-and-feel didn't help sell it to me over Windows 2000. I hated it. In fact, I switched to using Linux as my primary OS between 2002 and 2007; when I got an iMac. In 2008 I switched back to Windows with Vista and then 7.

I would say there are lots of nice touches in Windows 7 that makes it a step forward over previous versions. The Start Menu / Start Screen search in Windows 7 and 8 make the upgrade worthwhile for me - that is about the only time I ever use the Start Menu in Windows 7, all of my common apps are pinned and I only use the Start Menu + keyword when I need an application that I don't use so often or I am looking for an email or document.

I certainly wouldn't go from 7 back to an earlier version of Windows by choice and, given the choice, I would use Windows 8.1.

As to booting, yes, my 2010 Core i5 desktop boots slower with Windows 7 than my Clover Trail Atom based Windows 8 tablet.

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Re: Still asking why (anything post XP)

Windows just gets slower over time, the more modern incarnations suffer more through increased complexity. While I haven't wasted a mammoth amount of investigation time into it, there are a few main culprits:

1) The Registry. Bloats and bloats and bloats, never shrinking, always getting slower.

2) The entire .COM / ActiveX DLL hell, requiring huge numbers of the same libraries, in a version number hell, all underpinned by the registry. The smallest of changes adds even more bloat to the registry.

3) .NET - it is neither fast nor elegant. The more this becomes used for operational parts of an OS, the slower the OS will run. When .NET is used with device drivers, it gets worse - luckily this is still very rare.

4) Anti-Virus and Anti-Malware software. While these are more stable than they used to be, they do seriously impact system performance. With more templates and variations to check with every new virus / malware that is released, the more work these systems need to do.

5) Application update software. Little can bring a system to its needs quicker (ha) than multiple competing applications all running their own update check process every time the system starts. A good, flexible API and service from Microsoft could have helped with this, but no... and the hoops that some of these applications go through to provide background updates without a stream of UAC prompts is just horrible. And then the AV/AM software checks every file access and update by each of these update processes....

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Devil

Re: Still asking why (anything post XP)

That's because Windows 8 doesn't "boot" in the conventional sense of the word. When you shut down Win8, it closes all of the apps, then hibernates the kernel. When you power up, it resumes the kernel, and restarts the userland apps. This means that if you are in the habit of making use of a Win8 volume with another OS (say you are multi-booting), the volume will most likely be corrupt. It doesn't even sync the file system!!!!!! Pending writes are left in RAM, which is then saved in the hibernate file. Couple this with background defragging, and you have a recipe for serious data loss.

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Re: "windows gets slower"

@ Nick Ryan,

Get an SSD!

My Win7 box flies like shit off a stick and has done since day 1, about 2 years ago. Registry bloat? AV? updates? GTF....

....mind you, I don't have iTunes on my PC. If so, please disregard the above.

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Re: "windows gets slower"

Just replaced HD with SSD in my laptop and shoved on 8.1 (was 7).

Boot time is now 11 sec instead of 90.

But that is a clean system, without iCloud installed now...

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Re: "windows gets slower"

Optimise software by deploying new hardware? That's Microsoft thinking...

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FAIL

Re: Windows just gets slower over time

That's pure nonsense, like the rest of you post which talks about Windows, ActiveX and NET (the myth of Windows getting slower has been debunked a long time ago, and saying that a growing Registry is slower just shows your lack of understanding of how the Registry actually works).

The main reason your Windows PC gets slower is because of what you said in your last point:.nowadays almost every progam comes with its own quick start launcher and update assistant, and of course most software developers believe that all this crap has to be loaded at boot time as of course their application is the epithome of importance.

Install the same crapware onto any Mac or Linux computer (although admittedly, it's more difficult to find such crap on these platforms) and you'll see the same 'slowdown' you see on your Windows PC.

As to virus scanners: they can consume quite a lot of ressources, but this has nothing to do with (as you claim) the increasing (through updates) number of viruses they have to look for (first, the scanner doesn't scan their whole database anytime they scan a file as there are more intelligent ways of doing a database search, and second, there aren't many new viruses coming out, and that has been the case for more than a decade now, because main attack patterns have shifted).

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Re: "windows gets slower"

Have you tried WIndows 8 on an Atom tablet? It works very nicely, even full Office etc. which means it absolutely screams on my 4 year old Core i7 notebook - faster than 7 did when it was new.

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Stop

Re: Windows just gets slower over time

That's pure nonsense, like the rest of you post which talks about Windows, ActiveX and NET (the myth of Windows getting slower has been debunked a long time ago, and saying that a growing Registry is slower just shows your lack of understanding of how the Registry actually works).

Really? So a badly structured and inefficient database that grows and grows and never shrinks and is referred to repeatedly and continuously by the Windows Shell won't slow a system down?

.NET is inefficient. While there are a lot of optimisations in there (particularly on the fully compiled side), it is still slower and less efficient than non-managed code. This isn't always a bad thing, just an important thing to understand when using .NET. ActiveX / COM is the same.

There are continuous new viruses coming out, although you are quite correct in the reduction as the difficulty level of introducing new viruses has steadily risen and the alternative attach vectors that are easier to attack. The daily definition updates and AV software updates demonstrate this (and from a marketing point of view, make the AV software look more useful). However it is not possible for an ever growing definition database to not have a steadily increasing impact on scanning resources. While a lot of clever filtering goes on, the more definitions, heuristics and adaptive scans that are required, the more resources are used.

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Re: Still asking why (anything post XP)

Little can bring a system to its needs quicker (ha) than multiple competing applications all running their own update check process every time the system starts

Microsoft could trivially - and perfectly legally - port yum or similar to Windows and get it adopted as the way to do software updates.

This would give Windows much of the update ease we G/L types crow about. It would also give users a single interface to find out what software is on their machines, what is out of date, and a method to update it.

It amazes me that they haven't done so...

Vic.

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Re: Still asking why (anything post XP)

Microsoft's problem is likely that they insist on being in control (and able to charge) for every part of an application installation and distribution system. The Windows 8 App store system provides updates for installed applications, however it does not allow a user to add additional repositories in the way that we can easily do with Linux.

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Re: Still asking why (anything post XP)

1) The Registry. Bloats and bloats and bloats, never shrinking, always getting slower...

Agreed, though a reasonable registry cleaner such as CCleaner can help if you are careful about using such tools (backups are your friends!).

4) Anti-Virus and Anti-Malware software. While these are more stable than they used to be, they do seriously impact system performance. With more templates and variations to check with every new virus / malware that is released, the more work these systems need to do.

The problem I see with many anti-virus systems is that they attempt to add more and more bumf to themselves to justify increasing pricing and to make it look like they are doing something worthwhile. Generally I tend to stick to an A/V tool that only does A/V. It's not a perfect solution but it's a start and it tends to be cheaper too.

5) Application update software. Little can bring a system to its needs quicker (ha) than multiple competing applications all running their own update check process every time the system starts. A good, flexible API and service from Microsoft could have helped with this, but no... and the hoops that some of these applications go through to provide background updates without a stream of UAC prompts is just horrible. And then the AV/AM software checks every file access and update by each of these update processes....

Totally agreed, which is why I either switch the buggers off or, at least, tell them to only alert me when an update is ready then give me the option to use or ignore. Biggest culprits here would be Adobe, IMHO.

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I don't see the mystery.

After all the mis-steps in designing and releasing Win8, people simply either hate or don't want mess with it. For most, it's too different to be comfortable with. I daresay that as far as home users, those I know who have bought a new PC have "upgraded" to Win7. Win7 is reasonably mature and self-contained. No mumbo-jumbo about cloud based apps or any of the other hype that MS is shoveling.

I suspect many businesses feel the same way as a certain amount of retraining the troops and even then, some not grasping it present problems. As well as the software issues. Again all the hype and BS coming from MS about the cloud.

People don't want mumbo-jumbo about stuff they've not had experience with. They simply want things to work and work in a way they're comfortable with. I supposed the Apple kids would feel the same way if the OS suddenly changed and caused the same feelings of uncomfortableness.

Yes, I smell downvotes, but this just an opinion based on observation. Non-scientific and purely anecdotal based.

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Re: I don't see the mystery.

My experience is the other way round.

Either the new Windows 8 users find it okay and get on with using it - especially with the boot-to-desktop in Windows 8.1 - or they love it. At work we probably have around 30% users asking for Windows 8 on new installs (although we did have one user install Windows 7 on his Samsung 10" tablet!).

One user could never get on with Windows XP or Windows 7. Even after getting her books and going through the OS with her, she still couldn't grasp the concepts of applications and files and folders! When Windows 8 came out, I thought it wouldn't hurt to upgrade her machine. Half an hour later, she came to me, proud that she had installed her first ever app (a weather app with live tile); something she had never managed on Windows XP or Windows 7. Windows 8 gives her a confidence in using her computer that she has never experienced until now; she actually checks her email daily and surfs the web regularly, as opposed to checking her email once a month and never using the web.

This makes the whole thing easier for such users; they may not be the majority, but for some users Windows 8 is a big step forward for them.

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Re: I don't see the mystery.

>she still couldn't grasp the concepts of applications and files and folders!

And this is who Win 8 was designed for - not the millions of PC users who can.

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Joke

Re: I don't see the mystery.

...she actually checks her email daily and surfs the web regularly, as opposed to checking her email once a month and... working.

There, I fixed that for you.

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Re: I don't see the mystery.

I think that is part of the problem, she doesn't use a PC at work, only at home...

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Is this really possible?

Windows 8 has dropped from over 7.5% to under 6% in nine months? Despite millions of new PCs being sold with Windows 8?

Granted businesses and technically knowledgeable people may install Windows 7 on them, but the average person just uses what they get. I wonder if the way they're doing these measurements isn't as statistically valid as they believe?

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Re: Is this really possible?

Most of the decrease in Windows 8 as a percentage is due to uptake in Windows 8.1 (1.72% to 6.61%).

Win 8.x combined has gone from a 9.25% to 12.54% share, a gain of 3.29 percentage points. This is certainly not stellar, but Windows 7 only gained 4.13 percentage points over the same period, and despite the sensationalistic statistical selectivity employed in the article, XP and Vista both dropped over the last nine months, XP significantly.

Separating out Windows 8 and 8.1 is a little disingenuous: XP, Vista, and Windows 7 aren't separated into their respective service pack levels, and whatever Microsoft might want you to think, Windows 8.1 is really no more than a service pack for Windows 8 with a few UI tweaks.

This is not to say that Windows 8 is performing well at all; by this time it ought to be on par with Windows 7 in market share.

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Re: Is this really possible?

@Doug S. "Windows 8 has dropped from over 7.5% to under 6% in nine months? Despite millions of new PCs being sold with Windows 8?"

I bought a 'new' PC that came with windows 8 preinstalled and upgraded it to Win7 Ult. Maybe there are a good few others doing the same thing as me, even at home and as you say also in the office I work in. Win7 is stable and works. It's an OS that launches apps. Isn't that the purpose of an OS? It lets me run the apps I use to be productive and manage my data,

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