back to article One year on, Windows 8.1 hits milestone, nudges past XP

The number of PC running Windows 8.1 nudged past Windows XP for the first time in November. Windows 8.1 broke the global 10 per cent market-share barrier a year after general release, and has now hit 10.95 per cent, according to latest data from StatCounter. Windows XP, released in 2001, slipped down 1.26 percentage points to …

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  1. Omgwtfbbqtime
    Stop

    The answer is still no.

    I paid for Win7 when my last laptop died (XP) and won't replace it until it also dies.

    Hopefully there will be a choice other than 8.1.

    Given that every even version of windows has been terrible you have to wonder Microsoft are skipping 9 and jumping straight to 10.....

    1. frank ly

      Re: The answer is still no.

      My XP laptop went into terminal slowness after a long spate of Windows updates. This was just before Win7 was unleashed onto the world. I always thought that was a strange coincidence.

      1. Vociferous

        Re: The answer is still no.

        > My XP laptop went into terminal slowness

        Run a checkdisk and/or replace the HD. A bad sector in the swapfile will make your windows machine crawl for seemingly no reason.

        1. Joe User

          Re: The answer is still no.

          Vociferous: "Run a checkdisk and/or replace the HD. A bad sector in the swapfile will make your windows machine crawl for seemingly no reason."

          Exponential algorithm making Windows XP miserable could be fixed

          A decade of patches makes svchost.exe a very sad boy indeed

          http://arstechnica.com/information-technology/2013/12/exponential-algorithm-making-windows-xp-miserable-could-be-fixed/

    2. Test Man

      Re: The answer is still no.

      "I paid for Win7 when my last laptop died (XP) and won't replace it until it also dies."

      Most people do the same, you're no special.

    3. David Lawton

      Re: The answer is still no.

      "Given that every even version of windows has been terrible you have to wonder Microsoft are skipping 9 and jumping straight to 10....."

      Really? Where does this stuff come from?

      Windows NT 4.0 was good, Windows 2000 was good, Windows XP was good, Windows Vista was a heap of sh*t when first released, was very usable by SP2 (which was the base of Windows 7). Windows 7 was good, Windows 8.0 & 8.1 are cr*p.

      Hope you were not going to use Windows 95,98, 98SE or ME in your alternate windows argument, as they are a completely different product line and don't have the NT kernel.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: The answer is still no.

        "Windows Vista was a heap of sh*t when first released, was very usable by SP2"

        Made little difference. Most PCs were delivered with 2GB of RAM, some laptops couldn't even be upgraded further than 2GB. Vista did not run, with any traditional sense of the word usable, on 2GB of RAM. Windows XP, fine, WIndows 7 "usable".

        Source: Currently in my possession a total of 4 PCs from various sources (2 x laptop, 2 x Desktop) running Vista. 3 came with 2GB, 1 was upgraded from 1GB to 2GB RAM.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: The answer is still no.

        "Given that every even version of windows has been terrible you have to wonder Microsoft are skipping 9 and jumping straight to 10....."

        Correct. Windows 3.11, 98/SE, XP, 7, and 8.1 were all odd versions and were market successes.

        Win 3.1, 95, ME, Vista, and 8 were even versions and all market duds.

        Sales of odd versions were market successes. Sales of odd versions were market failures. Notice how the successes were improvements based on the failures.

        This applies to market sales of Microsoft CONSUMER operating systems. Windows NT and the great Windows 2000, as solid as they are, were not marketed as consumer OS's.

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Holmes

      Re: The answer is still no.

      Funny to me that the techie crowd doesn't like the fastest, most secure version of Windows ever. I've been onboard since day one - no regrets whatsoever. I've put both my parents on it, wife, kids, co-workers, never heard a single complaint or issue. Classic Shell handles the start menu issues for free.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: @Andy Prough

        The reason for "the techie crowd doesn't like the fastest, most secure version of Windows ever" is simple: they prefer other faster and more secure OS instead. For legacy or windows-only stuff, there is 7 which works just fine.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: more secure OS instead.

          Go on, enlighten us. Just don't try and punt the security swiss cheese known as linux as a "more secure" option....

          1. Maventi
            Pint

            Re: more secure OS instead.

            "Go on, enlighten us. Just don't try and punt the security swiss cheese known as linux as a "more secure" option...."

            Well on the desktop we have OS X for starters, and those who care about security on their servers will be using something with a long-standing reputation for it - OpenBSD.

          2. Paul Crawford Silver badge

            Re: "security swiss cheese known as linux"

            Indeed, so many desktops running Linux are hacked. infested with malware and pointless browser toolbars and parasitic AV software that didnt do its job, leaving the poor users to wipe & re-install from scratch, and left hunting for their license key to re-enable the OS and the recovery DVD they (failed to make) made when it was new.

            Oh wait, got the wrong OS...

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Holmes

          Re: @Andy Prough

          @AC - "The reason for "the techie crowd doesn't like the fastest, most secure version of Windows ever" is simple: they prefer other faster and more secure OS instead. For legacy or windows-only stuff, there is 7 which works just fine."

          I use Linux for servers and number crunching, but if I've got to use Windows apps, why not use it in the latest, most secure and fastest form? All this bullshit about interface is just stupid when you can install Classic Shell on a system in about 1 minute for free to get your start menu back.

          1. Charlie Clark Silver badge

            Re: @Andy Prough

            All this bullshit about interface is just stupid when you can install Classic Shell on a system in about 1 minute for free to get your start menu back.

            It's not bullshit and it's not just the start menu, which I've personally never liked. I've given Windows 8 a spin and swapping between classic and metro is incredibly jarring and disorientating. I've been using GUIs of all types since Windows 2 but I still hate Ribbon and Metro the most.

            Given the clusterfuck of Vista and WPF there's plenty to optimise and improve on so I wouldn't be surprised if Windows 8 isn't a bit snappier (the way Windows loads drivers is still fucking retarded though) and more secure, though we do notice those patches being issued for exploits on it all the same. But the real problem is that Microsoft still hasn't decided what the UI toolkit should be and that after XML, Silverlight, etc. is starting to unnerve developers as Tim Anderson recently pointed out.

      2. chris lively

        Re: The answer is still no.

        >>Funny to me that the techie crowd doesn't like the fastest, most secure version of Windows ever.

        Maybe because it's a techie nightmare. Simple things like user management are incredibly hard. Features that used to exist are simply gone or so buried it's nearly impossible to find. Or it might be simply that the user experience is good for a tablet but horrible for those of us that actually try to get real work done.

        Win 7 is, by any real metric, a rock solid OS. It simply works. In other words there is NOTHING that 8/8.1 brought to the table that was necessary. Even the latest version of office didn't bring anything truly useful. Users simply didn't have a problem with the UI design of the OS. Numerous applications were garbage, but changing out the OS certainly didn't fix that.

        Not only did Win 8 bring nothing new to the table, it was a giant step backwards because it forced everyone to relearn how to interact with their computer. 8.1 was a small step back to were it was. The screen shots I've seen of Win 10 appear to be a giant step that way.

        As to performance, hardware has improved to the point that any real OS performance improvements were unnecessary.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Holmes

          Re: The answer is still no.

          @Chris Lively - "Maybe because it's a techie nightmare. Simple things like user management are incredibly hard. Features that used to exist are simply gone or so buried it's nearly impossible to find."

          Control Panel. It's still right there. More features than ever in fact. And more administrator apps and options than I recall on Win 7. The only real hassle is with UEFI, but that's becoming universal, so what are you going to do?

          But, whatever. I've spewed as much M$ hate as anyone over the years, and I'm relatively devoted to Linux. I just don't see the reason for the extreme hate for this particular version - it's closer to what we've wanted from Windows than any previous iteration, what with baked in security, significant performance enhancements, etc etc.

    5. ElReg!comments!Pierre

      Re: The answer is still no.

      Given that every even version of windows has been terrible

      Would you kindly consider removing Windows 2000 from that sweeping assertion? That was the last version I actually liked.

      1. Darryl

        Re: The answer is still no.

        Windows 2000 is just a name, not a version number. It was actually NT 5.0, so you don't have to worry.

    6. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: The answer is still no.

      I wasted a Sunday around a relative's house. Their XP machine was running slow (as it was full of malware), so they went to John Lewis on Black Friday and ended up being fobbed off with a HP desktop with Windows 8.1

      By the Saturday, once they realized none of their stuff was on it, and called me for help, it was already loaded with Malware, as one of them decided to download a FarmVille game.

      They had been back to John Lewis as they discovered it didn't have Office on it, where they sold them Office365..

      Some people you just can't help. A £170 Chromebook (or Chromebox) would have been just the ticket for what they use a PC for (web/email/basic office), and would have been secure too and would have just worked as soon as they signed in, no need to copy stuff across, or worry about backups.

      As it is, they spend 6x that, for something that's already full of malware as I sat there and watched them struggle with Windows 8, I just sighed to myself... Still it's a great money earner for me... So can't complain too much. If everyone owned Chromebooks, how would I earn beer money?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Holmes

        Re: The answer is still no.

        @AC - "Some people you just can't help. A £170 Chromebook (or Chromebox) would have been just the ticket for what they use a PC for (web/email/basic office), and would have been secure too and would have just worked as soon as they signed in, no need to copy stuff across, or worry about backups."

        Now that I agree with - many people would be better off with a Chromebook. They think they need full MS Office, but don't ever use its advanced functions and wouldn't know how to. What they really need is a cheap device with good internet connectivity that updates itself and is relatively secure.

    7. P. Lee

      Re: The answer is still no.

      It's what VMware Player is made for - bypassing MS' "tied to physical hardware" license restrictions.

    8. Anonymoist Cowyard

      It's all very sad.

      I wasted a Sunday around a relative's house. Their XP machine was running slow (as it was full of malware), so they went to John Lewis on Black Friday and ended up being fobbed off with a HP desktop with Windows 8.1

      By the saturday, once they realised none of their stuff was on it, and called me for help, it was already loaded with Malware, as one of them decided to download a FarmVille game.

      They had been back to John Lewis as they discovered it didn't have Office on it, where they sold them Office365..

      Some people you just can't help. A £170 Chromebook (or Chromebox) would have been just the ticket for what they use a PC for (web/email/basic office), and would have been secure too and would have just worked as soon as they signed in, no need to copy stuff across, or worry about backups.

      As it is, they spend 6x that, for something that's already full of malware as I sat there and watched them struggle with Windows 8, I just sighed to myself... Still it's a great money earner for me... So can't complain too much. If everyone owned Chromebooks, how would I earn beer money?

    9. Grease Monkey Silver badge

      Re: The answer is still no.

      Everuy version has been terrible, but still he uses it. He hopes there will be an alternative when he buys his next laptop, but there was when he bought his last two laptops and still he chose windows.

      It doesn't matter which camp you sleep in (windows sucks or windows rocks) this man's arguments make no sense.

      For the record I run Windows on the household laptop purely for my sons gaming needs. None of the software I run requires windows. I'd choose Mint, but then laddo couldn't play his games. When he's old enough to have his own PC I'll be moving back to Linux.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    *cough*

    I've got a couple of licences I legitimately acquired from here and there

    pre-installs, etc

    Don't use them (obviously)

  3. Jim 59

    Windows 8

    I have a forced-purchase Windows 8 sitting on an unused partition in my laptop. It never gets booted. Just like my last laptop had a force-purchase copy of Windows Vista, which never got booted.

    Oh for the days when you bought DOS and windows separately, if/when you wanted them. Apart from anything else, it gave you a real DR path.

  4. chivo243 Silver badge
    Windows

    Why are consumers biting on Windows 8.1?

    Not biting, being force fed IMHO...

    1. Roland6 Silver badge

      Re: Why are consumers biting on Windows 8.1?

      From the obvious omission in the article, I take it that Gavin Clarke doesn't actually use Windows 8. Otherwise he would of included that other contributory reason for both the dip in Win8 and the increase in Win8.1, namely the forced update of Win8 machines on auto-update via WUP.

      Also what the Statcounter chart clearly reinforces is that Win7 is the dominant release of Windows (and due to its enterprise usage is likely to continue to be so until 2020). I suggest the trend lines indicates that with the announcement of Win10 next year, Win8.1 is highly unlikely to achieve a marketshare of 20% (XP's marketshare in Nov 2013). The enterprise usage of Win7 also sets a limit on the potential market for Win10, meaning it will be focused more on XP, Vista & Win8 upgrades.

    2. RankingRoger

      Re: Why are consumers biting on Windows 8.1?

      Forced indeed.

      I recently had to explain to a new windows 8 user, coming from win7 how to use it.

      To open pictures, click start. Ignore all the massive flashing, distracting changing tiles that are trying to sell you things, you want that tiny discreet, no discript box at the bottom...

      The realisation that windows 8 was a turd came very quickly to them at that point.

  5. JDX Gold badge

    There are some great 8.1 devices out there

    Not so much the traditional laptops, but mini-laptops with touch screens and in some cases detachable screens. They start from really low prices (to me) as well - a full-blown Windows 8.1 Intel-based touch-screen laplet (is it a thing?) for £300 or less. Compared to an i5 or i7 they must be very underspecced but I was unexpectedly surprised how little you need to spend to get W8.1 running reasonably.

  6. Khaptain

    Windows 8 irrelevant

    W8 has no true bearing on the market, it is un unwanted system that is being installed by the few people that don't understand that "choice" is something they can have. W8 is a dead in the water.

    What is far more important is the trend that will be created with Windows 10 ( W10 - ie : the North Kensington Edition - hint - look up London postal areas in order to understand ).

    Windows 7 is rock solid and appears to be "relatively" secure. Hopefully W10 will provide the extra effort required to make it seriously secure.

    The problem I see with W10 though is that it will become synonymous with Office 201x ( >= 2013) and the various Office Web editions which for the moment are unliked ( those interfaces make ones eyes scream). MS have to come back down to earth and fire the bloody interface designers that they have had of late.....

    I really can't imagine where the Tablet market is going though as it does have an influence on the PC market.

    [Relatively = in relation to previous MS efforts]

    1. Tom 13

      Re: Windows 8 irrelevant

      It's not just the lousy interfaces. It's also the plumbings (pl intentional) behind the lousy interfaces. First you've got the lousy plumbing that insists on putting your data in "the cloud." While I might under duress consider backing up my data to "the cloud" I generally prefer that my data live on my drives. Next up you've got the all apps, all the time, and always from the App Store approach they want to take on the software. I expect to purchase a perpetual license that lets me move my apps from one OS to the next.

  7. ilmari

    Have a 1920x1080 IPS windows machine wirh detacheable screen myself. I find myself using it more than my android tablet these days, after google killed 1080p youtube on android.

    1. J 3
      WTF?

      You must have one hell of a gigantic tablet, for 1080p tp make a difference...

      1. This post has been deleted by its author

        1. sabroni Silver badge
          Happy

          If your tablet supports 1080p resolution, why on earth would you accept an arbitrary 720p limit?

          Easy, because Google said so!

      2. BristolBachelor Gold badge
        Coat

        @J3

        Tell you what; print all your documents on an Epson FX80 grot dot-matrix printer. Any whinging and I'll tell you that it's in your head, and you can't really see the difference. After all even an A5 printout from the printer has a resolution of 996*696.

        I remember using computers before windows even existed I can still see the difference between a Galaxy Note 1 screen at 1280*800 and Note3 at 1920*1080.

        1. Jim 59

          Epson FX-80

          Nice piece of kit at the time. A bit pricey, but good. Noiser than a Who concert.

  8. Windows 8 or just Windows Hate?

    Windows H8 - never

    I'm keeping to XP until a decent OS comes about. A friend was bought a laptop for his birthday. it came with win 8.1. he had it a week then out of dispair bought a new 1T hard drive and a copy of Win 7 Home. then handed it all to me to replace hard drive and install win 7. He is now a lot happier and joins the seeminly growing number who do likewise.

    I have a Microsoft Surface (given by work). loaded with win 8.1 - now over loaded with Classic Shell. Just wondering how many of the 'bought' win 8.1 machines have similar desktop refashions installed to make it look Win 7 ish.

    1. 404

      Re: Windows H8 - never

      Sure did spend a lot of cash for Windows 7.... Especially since for $4.99 and an install of Start8 that provides you with a fast Windows 7 experience on Windows 8.1.

      FFS, my Windows 8 desktops even look like XP, even down to the XP Start buttons.... sheesh.

  9. Andy E
    WTF?

    I need a compelling reason...

    ...to 'upgrade' from v7 to v8.1 or even to v10 when it comes out. At the moment I'm quite happy with the PC's running v7 which seems rather stable and predictable. There's no software or hardware I want/need at this time that demands v8. So, whats going to make me pay out £100 per PC to upgrade? There's other things I'd rather spend the money on.

    1. AMBxx Silver badge
      Windows

      Re: I need a compelling reason...

      YMMV, but for me I wouldn't go back as I'd lose HyperV.

      Different people have different uses.

      1. Tom 35

        Re: I need a compelling reason...

        HyperV? I have an intel core2quad so no HyperV for me.

        The latest wintel deal requires that I "upgrade" to an i3 if I want HyperV with Windows 8.

        That or install server where my antique CPU still works.

      2. Angry clown

        Re: I need a compelling reason...

        You can always use VMware Player or Virtual Box, no need to endure W8 abomination.

      3. Roland6 Silver badge

        Re: I need a compelling reason...

        Re: Hyper-V

        Well whilst Win7 doesn't provide full Hyper-V, it does have a reasonable level of support for VM's, either through the (now unsupported) XP mode, or through the Remote Server Administration Tools (RSAT) for Windows 7. Which should satisfy many 'casual' VM needs. Also as others have pointed out you can install VMWare or if you are really adventurous Microsoft Hyper-V Server 2008 R2...

        1. AMBxx Silver badge
          FAIL

          Re: I need a compelling reason...

          Hmmm, anyone thinking XP Mode, VMware Player, VMWare Workstation or VirtualBox are equivalent to HyperV needs to do some homework on different types of virtualisation.

    2. nematoad Silver badge
      Unhappy

      Re: I need a compelling reason...

      " I need a compelling reason...

      ...to 'upgrade' from v7 to v8.1 or even to v10 when it comes out."

      Ah, that will be when MS kicks Windows 7 into the long grass just like it has XP.

      It's called making you an offer you can't refuse.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: I need a compelling reason...

      My home PC usage has dropped from 100% two years ago, to 5% today.

      I have no real need for a PC anymore, except for a couple of very small edge cases. Why would I spend money on a new PC or an "upgrade" to WIndows 10? The answer is, I won't.

      By then, I think I should be able to get rid of that last 5% that means a Chromebook/Chromebox and a scattering of Android phones and tablets are more than enough for our house, with no backup worries, and no security nightmares, and proper privacy/parental controls.

  10. Chika
    FAIL

    Cauliflower

    OK, OK, I hear ya. Lots of Windows H8tred to be had, and I agree with much that has been said. As I see it, Microsoft are yet again under the thumb of their marketing folk and the beancounters that infest them, trying desperately to market their latest poop despite the poor opinion that is generally to be had of it.

    The giggle I get is, and you can check back through comments I've made on this very site if you want, I can recall specifically stating that tablets were a fad. While I have nothing against tablets per se, the push by some for these devices has led to the development we now see in Windows 8.x.

    The pressure to put everything in a server farm controlled by a corporation or other faceless body, euphemstically referred to as a "cloud", is the next fad and we can already see some of the effects on the development of operating systems (not just Windows 10 either) and some of the fallout resulting from poor design, poor security and the very fact that not everyone wants to be on the net every minute of the day. A good example was the suggestion back before Microsoft caved in that users wanting to play games offline were better advised to buy the XBox 360 rather than the XBone; W10 is the same thing, so it seems.

    Until Microsoft stops doing things like this and actually starts listening to its users, that is unlikely to change.

    1. Richard Jones 1
      WTF?

      Re: Cauliflower

      I tried the previews up to the point when they to force new sales by insisting that only recent CPUs could be used. Was there another way to turn the PC off except to press the silver button on the front? It blue screened with almost everything. and I found the way to make it usable was to cover the desk top with batch files to load what I wanted. The kiddie bricks were all deleted from the silly oops start screen as none of them were any use at all they did nothing except for the desktop screen. Then the flak from other started.

      The good point was that the underlying OS was slick and fast, the bad news was that it was hidden by crap and stupid fluff. The stupid store for example that expected you to add access to a payment method do I look cabbage coloured? The drive for cloud usage where your data is controlled by the leaky sieve/CIA/GCHQ?NORKS?whom-so-ever company was take it or leave it, I would for ever leave it alone, - to the point of searching out a hack to remove it from ever appearing if I could. If you like it that is fine, but too much of it was hard marketing to sell new stuff, be it PCs or other devices, printers scanners, print servers or the 'store' by not working with existing items.

      If Windows 10 avoids those stupid moves it might be attractive for the future, but otherwise; - do I really want a PC any more?

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    During its WWDC 2022 keynote Monday, Apple focused its high-level sales pitch for the M2 on claims that the chip is much more power efficient than Intel's latest laptop CPUs. But while doing so, the iPhone maker admitted that Intel has it beat, at least for now, when it comes to CPU performance.

    Apple laid this out clearly during the presentation when Johny Srouji, Apple's senior vice president of hardware technologies, said the M2's eight-core CPU will provide 87 percent of the peak performance of Intel's 12-core Core i7-1260P while using just a quarter of the rival chip's power.

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  • End of the road for biz living off free G Suite legacy edition
    Firms accustomed to freebies miffed that web giant's largess doesn't last

    After offering free G Suite apps for more than a decade, Google next week plans to discontinue its legacy service – which hasn't been offered to new customers since 2012 – and force business users to transition to a paid subscription for the service's successor, Google Workspace.

    "For businesses, the G Suite legacy free edition will no longer be available after June 27, 2022," Google explains in its support document. "Your account will be automatically transitioned to a paid Google Workspace subscription where we continue to deliver new capabilities to help businesses transform the way they work."

    Small business owners who have relied on the G Suite legacy free edition aren't thrilled that they will have to pay for Workspace or migrate to a rival like Microsoft, which happens to be actively encouraging defectors. As noted by The New York Times on Monday, the approaching deadline has elicited complaints from small firms that bet on Google's cloud productivity apps in the 2006-2012 period and have enjoyed the lack of billing since then.

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