back to article Windows 7's grip on the enterprise desktop is loosening

Microsoft last week updated its Windows 10 usage data, claiming 270 million devices now run its newest operating system. We've updated our numbers, too, namely the three sources we use to assess desktop operating system market share. And on our numbers, if Windows 10 is on 270 million devices Windows 7 is on about 750 million …

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Re: Saddo!

"To be fair, the old machine would still fetch well over £1000 on eBay."

Is that £900 for the 2TB worth of SSDs and £100 for the old MBP?

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Re: Saddo!

My newest PC is 4-1/2 years old. All cheapos, all run Linux.

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FAIL

But also remember

It's free. So a year on and only 16%?

And that is after windows 8 which was also a no-no for a lot of users.

...Not great.

I think it is more resisting the force upgrade and draconian 'nagware' they have created.

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And the revamp of the interface.

And the Store, which is next to empty and all but useless, but forced on you.

And the Cloud which, despite every marketing department's best efforts, still isn't accepted as the Universal Unicorn - plus there are more and more stories about how people have actually lost their data in the fluffy future of today.

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The Interface is "a matter of taste". I prefer it to W7 (even more to W7+Aero) and many people who see an OS as "a tool to run my 10 prefered programs" liked W8 and W10 as good as/better than W10.

The store is a "use if you like, ignore if not". I actually installed ONE program from it (Miracast setup for the MS Miracast receiver), the other programs came in the "old fashioned way" (DVD)

Cloud is a "what type of cloud/what for". The company runs a Sharepoint server. That is basically a "local" cloud with backup and all when you add VPN access. Works fine and data security is "how good is your admin".

Privatly I use OneDrive for syncing documents over to a PC at my parents house and Amazon as a secondary backup for pictures. Works fine so far but the data is "not really important/replaceable"

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Re: But also remember

Today, this morning, KB2952664 and KB3035583 magically unhid themselves yet again. Windows 10 is turning into a bad telemarketer. How many times can I say no before you get the hint?

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Meh

Re: Today, this morning, KB2952664 and KB3035583 magically unhid themselves

Latest version of GWX Control Panel ought to do the trick. Haven't seen the GWX malware punch through it yet, though the author is sadly deferential to MS in his phraseology (both on his blog and in the language and choices available in the utility). I understand that as he has a relationship with MS (or with their staff) he doesn't want to burn his bridges, but when our best hope for barring this arrant filth is an MS-associated developer, we're really on planet la-la.

Disclaimer: WinX ain't so bad with ClassicShell. It's the GWX malware I really hate with a burning passion.

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Re: But also remember

If you look further at the rate of change of each version of Windows, you will see that 7 is declining much more slowly than 10 is increasing. Most of the uptake in 10 is not coming at the expense of 7. With each coming month, more of the pool of people that were going to switch will have already done so, leaving us stalwarts in the Win 7 camp.

Hopefully, enough of us will resist 10 so as to force MS to extend security updates for a few years as they did with XP... by that time, their nutty gambit to use desktop PCs to create a mobile app market should have crashed and burned, so it wouldn't be as unthinkable as it is now. Maybe then they'll actually turn 10 into a reasonable product. Stranger things have happened!

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Re: Today, this morning, KB2952664 and KB3035583 magically unhid themselves

Not sure if you can install WSUS on desktop OS. If you can then install that and point th3 desktop to itself. That will solve it permanently.

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Re: Today, this morning, KB2952664 and KB3035583 magically unhid themselves

Until there is an aftermarket solution that can completely and permanently eliminate all traces of TIFKAM, 10 is not even a possibility for me. It's not a phone... it's not a tablet. It's a full PC... learn it, know it, live it, MS!

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I've installed (and then removed) Windows 10 about 15 times since last July.

Are those 15 installs included in the alleged 270 million?

I bet they are. And, I'm sure I'm just the tip of the iceberg, so to speak...

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Anonymous Coward

Windows 10, like some drunk on a canal path.

Agree, I've installed it, backed it up (imaged it) then removed it, where I then stick a blue dot next to the licence, to show me that Windows 10 should activate on that machine in the future (should i sell it), if I choose to go there, but mostly I just carry on using the restored Linux and Windows 7, after the Win10 appraisal.

The more I used Windows 10 on a day to day basis, the more I disliked it. I thought Vista was bad at taking context away from what you are doing.

Windows 10 just loves to impress you with the things its doing and I couldn't care less. Just get out of the way, you're blocking my path, 'so to speak', like some drunk on a canal path.

Typed on an iPad for what its worth, not a PC.

(iPads need their text editing, text selection, cut, copy and paste to actually work before it ever becomes anything other a 'best in its class' consumption device)

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Re: Windows 10, like some drunk on a canal path.

It was Windows 10 and it's "telemetry" that prompted me to switch over to Ubuntu for day to day work, just keeping Windows as a dual boot option for those times when it has to be Windows. The funny thing is, I've found that I've hardly used Windows since, and superficial UI slickness aside, don't miss it at all. The other thing I've noticed is that my laptop's fan works hard when using Windows 10, and is hardly troubled by Ubuntu - which makes me wonder what the hell Windows is working at so furiously while idling?

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Re: Windows 10, like some drunk on a canal path.

I'm a gamer at home, so stuck with Windows unfortunately, at least on the gaming PC.

I tried Win 10 on my gaming rig, and it was a failure, stability issues, blue screens, driver issues etc. Went back to Win 7, and it's been solid (again).

I am now dual booting between Win 7 and Mint.

My plan now is to always use the Linux version of a game when available (which seems to be about 50% of my Steam library currently), and only use Windows versions as and when needed. (Some of which I can probably get running under Wine, which I've not tried yet, or Virtual Box).

My worry now is that we seem to be getting new applications and games that now need Win 8.1 or Win 10 as a minimum, and won't work on Win 7. Typically as they either need a newer version of DirectX, or sometimes is that they are using Windows APIs that are not available in Win 7.

I've only seen a couple of these so far, but this is bound to grow over time, which might start forcing peoples hands. :-/

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Re: Windows 10, "working furiously while idling"

Antivirus? My work Win 7 locks up for anywhere from 30 seconds to two minutes several times a day, when gospodin Kaspersky does his thing. In my case, ProcMon seems to indicate that Kaspersky is irritated by a program connected to a particular data server. YMMV.

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Happy

Re: what the hell Windows is working at so furiously while idling?

Slightly unfair comparison. In my experience a genuinely 'clean' install of Windows is pretty rare - it normally runs a buttload of 3rd-party crud which is what kills the CPU and fan. I should know; I spend my life fixing overheating turd-infested hardware (and no, not by installing Mint, though the gag is always appreciated).

Also, some internal Windows services are hideously sluggish and will kill your superfast gaming rig. Best example: Unless you access a hotmail.com or outlook.com account from within Outlook (any version) then you can safely disable the Windows Search service and notice an instant, massive decrease in fan noise. This service is useless to anyone who knows which folders they have put their stuff in.

You can also safely ditch the following: the two Homegroup services (seriously - who the hell uses Homegroup - and why?) and the Skype update service. Actually, you can rip out nearly any update service other than Google's and Windows' own.

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"I've installed (and then removed) Windows 10 about 15 times since last July"

I have to ask.... How come? Did you accidently install it?

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Re: Windows 10, like some drunk on a canal path.

"Typed on an iPad for what its worth, not a PC."

I keep seeing "Sent from my iPad" on mail & Usenet posts. Are they boasting, apologising or complaining?

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After Windows 10 trashed my dual-boot laptop I removed it and dedicated the machine to Linux Mint.

Also downloaded Windows 10 into a VM on Linux Mint just to try updating my TomTom, but couldn't get the TomTom application to see the TomTom device on the USB port, so deleted the Win 10 virtual machine again. I wish TomTom would release updates via Linux as well as Windows / MAC; I imagine the device itself is Linux based so it shouldn't be rocket science.

I bet there are lots of temporary or aborted Windows 10 downloads / installs.

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Re: "Sent from my iPad"

Reply:

Sent from my arm chair.

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Re: Windows 10, like some drunk on a canal path.

"..I keep seeing "Sent from my iPad" on mail .."

My phone keeps adding 'Sent from my Android device; please excuse my brevity' to the end of 800 word emails. Context sensitivity at its best.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Windows 10, like some drunk on a canal path.

Get with it! , iPads aren't all £400-500 now. An iPad Air 16Gb is between £214-£249, depending where you look, hardly boasting, if you can't afford that, you're in the wrong line of work.

Actually mine was more one of complaint, editing on the iPad is buggy as hell and frustrating.

Fundamentals like copy don't always work, often the page will zoom,scroll, do anything rather than select text, or suddenly select a massive area of text. Needs to improve drastically.

iPads as they are now aren't 'Pro' devices, whatever Tim Cook evangelicaly want to purport..

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Trollface

Re: Windows 10, like some drunk on a canal path.

You're holding it wrong.

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Windows 10 could be improved...

...with a simple custom install option like we had up and including Windows 98SE.

When you go to install a list of tick boxes appear with all the stuff that is not critical to the OS functioning and you get to untick all the stuff you don't want or need.

Windows 10 for me is becoming that huge Swiss Army knife display that has 258 different blades and tools in it and weighs 4KG when all I need is the little blade, bottle opener and screwdriver.

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I'm curious

What for do you need the little blade and the screwdriver?

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Re: I'm curious

The little blade is all you need to do most cutting. Boxes, tape, cable ties, packing straps etc. Hardly ever use the big blade.

Screwdriver...well I work in IT. Its a Crosshead.

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Re: I'm curious

I was aiming for a joke there. I guess I was too subtle ;-)

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Does everyone need Windows at work?

We assumed that Windows would be kept for enterprise in the future, but when I look around my office, I only see about half the office that actually need real PC's. The other half simply need email, a browser, Word, Excel and PowerPoint. They could definitely go down the web OS route.

All the stupid complicated or legacy internal systems we use have been put on Citrix or RemoteApp as it is less effort for IT than trying to get them work on everyone's individual laptop.

I know of some solicitors that simple use their laptops to login to a remote desktop so that everything is kept secure in a remote location.

Maybe the future market for Windows is even smaller than we first thought.

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Thumb Up

Re: Does everyone need Windows at work?

I remember speaking to a corporate IT at a bank a few years ago. He told me that Windows 7 was the last they expected to provide and support with a shift to BYOD by 2018. Starting to look eerily prescient.

You can't do everything via Citrix or the cloud. Mutlicore ARM v8 chips are now pretty beefy and SSD storage cheap enough. We've already seen Apple make its first steps in marketing the IPad-Pro as a notebook replacement – certainly not cheap – but cheaper and lighter than the Intel-based alternatives. I reckon we'll see more and more such attempts along with the Chromebook approach. However, I suspect we won't see a massive shift to a single new platform, just a crumbling of the Wintel one.

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Re: Does everyone need Windows at work?

iPP cheaper? - sorry to break it to you but you can buy a modern transformable laptop with far more functionality, memory and SSD for far less than the £1000 for Pro+keyboard. Nice screen and all for a premium tablet but hardly anywhere near a notebook replacement.

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Re: Does everyone need Windows at work?

iPP cheaper? - sorry to break it to you but you can buy a modern transformable laptop with far more functionality

You're not telling me anything new but the point is that an IPad Pro isn't a transformable laptop and people may be buying it for just that reason. I think Apple may be testing the water to see what the demand is like and to test MacOS / IOS crossover.

I also still fully expect them to release ARM-based notebooks at some point. Again, the single-port MacBook may have been a toe in the water. Will the next one come with a touchscreen and be transformable?

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Re: Does everyone need Windows at work?

"I remember speaking to a corporate IT at a bank a few years ago. He told me that Windows 7 was the last they expected to provide and support with a shift to BYOD by 2018."

Which bank? I want to avoid them. As a freelancer I could provide my own kit but in a security-conscious client it wouldn't be allowed. I'd have hoped banks would fall into that category.

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El Reg stats

Can El Reg show us the statistics of the devices that visit you? I expect we are a divers bunch. It would be interesting.

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Devil

Consumer Win10 upgrades

Don't forget that some new Win10 installs are actually old Win7/8 machines that got upgraded to Win10 unasked. So the Win10 growth rate is not just new PCs.

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Re: Consumer Win10 upgrades

Actually I asume a lot of them are older boxes getting W10. Why not, Win10 is smaller/less power hungry than W7 and runs on a 2011 core-i box just fine. Not that MS cares as long as the user base, most important in the companies, stays the same and Surface/Pro (and Surface/3) make money.

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Linux

Microsoft are keeping quiet

There's a huge difference with Windows 10 which people don't realise - the EULA says you *have* to take all future updates, none of this defer indefinitely or GWX control panel malarkey. Word is, it's the last regular windows release so this is the way it has to be.

The few "upgraders" doing it now don't realise that not only is it the first hit or so that's free, but they're literally signing away their ability to get out in future.

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Re: Microsoft are keeping quiet

But.... it is all new and shiny-shiny so they'll keep on the MS gravy train.

Na-na-na-na-na-na can't hear you.

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Re: Microsoft are keeping quiet

"they're literally signing away their ability to get out in future"

In what way, exactly? If they need Windows, why would they not want the updates? If they don't need Windows, there's still nothing stopping them from installing something else, because all that UEFI FUD is still just FUD.

Every update published is an exploit given away for free to the Bad Guys. Month after month, a steady stream of ways to take over your PC and steal your work or identity. Why would you want that? Well, you wouldn't, obviously, so if you need Windows then you need the updates. Yes, the new UI sucks, but it isn't quite as bad as 8.1, which in turn was marginally better than 8, and let's be honest about 7 -- huge numbers of people thought that sucked so hard that they are still running XP.

But ... if you need Windows then you need Windows, so you've just gotta suck it up. Deal with it, or bite the bullet and figure out how to make an alternative OS work for you.

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Re: "huge numbers of people thought that sucked so hard that they are still running XP"

I disagree. People who are still running XP have obviously stopped caring about the UI some time in the previous millenium.

I think that XP remains used for essentially 2 cases : people who couldn't care less and "it's good enough for what I do", or PCs that run mission-critical software that won't run on any other platform.

There is a surprising number of the latter, I'm sure.

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Re: "huge numbers of people thought that sucked so hard that they are still running XP"

My guess is there is a third group of XP users that did not upgrade. The "borrowed the OS from a cousins cousin" group. A lot of the boxes that report XP in internet statistics come from regions with a "loose" approach to intelectual property.

And a "mission critical" XP box most likely will NOT show up on internet statistics anyway. That is more like the SCO Unix box I maintained well past SCOs turn from "builds a brilliant UNIX System 5" to "patent troll". No internet connection, access either remote through RS422 or the console.

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Re: Microsoft are keeping quiet

"they're literally signing away their ability to get out in future"

In what way, exactly? If they need Windows, why would they not want the updates?

Simple, you've overlooked what "long term servicing branch" actually means.

The stability of each LTSB is equivalent to the stability of XP, Vista, 7, 8 etc. ie. it is a commitment by MS to maintain compatibility. However, there is no commitment by MS to main compatibility from one LTSB to the next; hence moving between LTSB's is likely to be just as involved and disruptive as moving between XP -> 7 -> 8 etc. Now whilst the Enterprise is likely to explicitly use LTSB's and hence plan their migration from one to the next, the consumer will be automatically updated with little real warning from one LTSB to the next and we can expect things to break, just as we've seen with previous Windows/Linux/OSX/iOS etc. version updates.

So the reason why I've turned off GWX updates on Win7 and 8 systems isn't because I don't necessarily want 10, just that I want stable systems for the next few years - lower support effort and costs. Yes come 2020, I and many others, will have to decide what to do, in light of what is in the market at that time.

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Re: "huge numbers of people thought that sucked so hard that they are still running XP"

XP ... PCs that run mission-critical software that won't run on any other platform.

A related group is PCs that run control software for some really expensive lab or factory hardware which is still useful to the organisation. Replacing the equipment is out of the question (often because it's not mission-critical, just useful) and would cost a six- or seven-figure sum.

So we stick to running XP (or even Windows 98, Windows 3.1) until the day when the controlled equipment breaks down in an unfixable way, or until we can no longer fix the computer. (yes, we have two or three spare ancient PCs in stock, so provided they don't die in storage we're set for a good while yet).

And if such a business has to fork out half a million because the supply of obsolete PCs has dried up before the obsolete widget-spangler dies, that's a half-million's worth of guaranteed anti-Microsoft sentiment.

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Re: Microsoft are keeping quiet

"If they need Windows, why would they not want the updates?"

You've never heard of an update (for any OS) breaking things?

You've never heard of people holding back applying updates until they're reassured by the absence of bad reports? In the new world of W10 you only have a limited option to do this. The rest of the users are sent out across open country to discover the hard way whether there's a minefield there or not.

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Re: Microsoft are keeping quiet

Let's be honest: Joe Average Enduser does not read the websites where he can read the "Oh Update x does y if you have z" news. He either has Auto-Update on since the days of Win7 or not. And since an unpatched desktop with a 92+ percent market share is a prime target for criminals forcing updates to Joe Average is actually a benefit for the net.

Companies OTOH still can just buy a Enterprise version of W10 and have full decision power over when/what and can/will do it centrally through WSUS.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Microsoft are keeping quiet

"If they need Windows, why would they not want the updates?"

I need windows for one program only. It lives inside virtualbox with no network connectivity, is stable as it is and I certainly don't want updates screwing it up.

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Re: Microsoft are keeping quiet

I need windows for one program only. It lives inside virtualbox with no network connectivity

And there you have an example of a major functional limitation of Win10, as currently shipped, namely it is not suited to being installed in a VM that will either only occasionally be used or requires to be of a specific build; something that was trivial to achieve with all previous versions of Windows.

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Re: Microsoft are keeping quiet

Telemetry was added to 7 and 8 with updates. GWX adware was added to 7 and 8 with updates. Win 7 gives me control over which updates I install, so I've avoided those "features" I don't want. I suppose there is a level of irony in Microsoft illustrating why control over updates is necessary as part of their effort to promote a product where control over updates is removed.

Win 10 doesn't give me the choice to avoid unwanted updates like those listed above-- not just because it doesn't have an option for "notify me when updates are available, but don't download them until I say so", but also because nearly all of the updates for Win 10 are big monolithic things that are more like monthly service packs than any updates we have had before. You can't separate the telemetry and adware updates from the necessary security updates; they're all in one single package.

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Mobes replacing enterprise desktops?

Smartphones and tablets are consumption devices. Trying to type on a tablet is a slow and often frustrating experience. While a stylus is useful, many people that do work on a computer find it easier to still use a mouse. When it gets to the point where "work" is just prodding a box on a screen, that job hasn't been automated due to some union contract and will be gone at the next contract negotiations.

I wonder how many Windows 10 installations are done under protest. I've seen several stories where it just installed itself without the user wanting it. I'll likely stick with 7 until a crucial piece of software needs to be upgraded to a version that needs a newer OS. In the mean time, I do most of my work on a Mac anyway and I keep my fingers crossed that one day Solidworks will work under a MacOS.

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Re: Mobes replacing enterprise desktops?

I have also heard stories of guys walking over water and others (from the same region) bending spoons with their mind. I don't believe them either. Win10 installs itself when you allow it to do so. and ONLY then. So the "installs without the users permission" is likely "Freddy Fastclick" going off half-cocked

As for the rest - people who see a OS as an "App launcher" are generally quite open as long as their software runs and is easy to find. Something that for many end users (That have 10-20 regular programs) work just fine with Win8 or 10 and Modern UI.

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