back to article Windows 7 overtakes XP - finally

Windows 7 has, finally, become the world’s most popular desktop operating system. It overtook Windows XP in the first ten days of October with a 40.18 per cent share of the market, according to statistics gathered by Statcounter. At the latest measurement, 38.66 per cent of desktop computers in use online are powered by XP …


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  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Like any long term relationship

    XPerience and familiarity fall aside to the new shiny model

  2. LesC

    XP Builds - !!

    Anyone that has the misfortune to do an XP build nowadays can easily expect to wait all day for updates to go through.... starting with an XPSP3 + OIffice 2003SP2 base build can easily download and install 800Mb+++ extra (even WSUS doesn't really help) and on the slower PCs XP tends to run on you're backwarding and forwarding for hours watching all these updates install. Slooooowly. These days I just sling the old tech and get the client nice shiny new W7 stuff, job done in a fraction of the time even after 300mb of post sp1 update stuff.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      If you believe patching XP is bad, then you haven't tried Windows 7 yet

      Windows XP sp3 (KB936929) is ~ 320 MBytes

      Windows 7 sp1 64-bit (KB9768932) is 947 MBytes

      I tried to download the Win 7 sp1 patch from home, and gave up after three failed attempts, the Microsoft Download servers WILL abort the download somewhere along 400-600 MBytes if you have only 2 MBit/s DSL. Had to download this at work and use an USB stick to carry it home.

      This SUCKS, really!

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Patching? OSX has you covered

        The day I brought home a shiny new Macbook Air, I downloaded something around 1.6GB of updates (wish I'd written the exact figure down).

        And no, it was not an OS upgrade, merely updates. On my 8Mbit home ADSL, it stalled "only" twice.

        My latest Ubuntu install also did an incredible number of updates, big and small. To be fair, it contained a lot of non-OS software and localization files for Turkish. I have no idea about the total size of the updates. I only remember it took hours, but went without a hitch.

        1. Stacy

          Had the same experience

          I updated my father in laws MacBook Pro, and my own MacBook Pro recently and it took an age and multiple reboots before it said my software was up to date.

          Neither was an OS update (in fact the 1.xGB of mine was immediately after updating the factory Snow Leapard to Lion!)

          A very windows experience! Especially the way the time remaining seems to fluctuate (no one told me before I fot the machine that Macs are worse than Windows in time estimation!)

    2. Kevin 6

      That is IF it allows you to

      Last time I tried installing XP windows update kept saying I had to update windows update to update windows update... This was after I put SP3 on...

    3. wibbilus maximus


      you could just slipstream the updates into the xp build

    4. Anteaus

      Your method is the problem.

      If you use an nLite disc to install XP then you're talking maybe only one minute of actual keyboard-bashing for a system that's configured the way you want from the outset. I don't know of any way to custom-install 7 that works as well or as simply.

      As for more licenses sold, I wonder if that includes licences foisted onto new computers whether the buyer wants them or not? If so it may show a very skewed result.

    5. anonymuos


      Are you not aware of the fact that you can easily download service packs and updates from the Download Center ONCE and slipstream them into XP setup using /s switch. Who downloads all of them every single time you reinstall?

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Is this the same statcounter that gets routinely blackholed in most decent linux hostsfiles?

    1. Peter Besenbruch

      Statcounter not Counting

      "Is this the same statcounter that gets routinely blackholed in most decent linux hostsfiles?"

      Statcounter does not count me. It is blocked in my hosts file and in the APB Tracking filter subscription for Adblock Plus. Such blocking methods are available for Windows users, but I know of none that use them. Linux users are another story. I suspect a large majority use such methods. Who knows, our usage levels could be triple (almost 3%) what Statcounter reports.

  4. Glen 1

    mobile os figures are interesting, especially given the anti-nokia stance many comentards have

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I see Mac OS X is catching up with Vista.

    1. GatesFanbois

      So the most "advanced" operating system in the world is finally catching up to an utterly despised version of windows? Well done, thats really awesome. Guess it must be those advanced full screen apps that have cause the OSX marketshare to marginally incrase over 2 years.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward


        Speak for yourself - I still rather like old XP...

  6. Charles Manning

    "At the expense of|"


    It is hardly a market share issue if XP is no longer available to most people.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Keep in mind,

      while XP is no longer available in the retail channels, it is to commercial customers, particularly big ones with thousands of seats. My uni is still going through testing Win7 against its rats-nest of disparate backend systems (we are still stuck on IE7 for the same back-end-system compatibility reeasons).

      It is really frustrating for my department as we are then forced to use old versions of other major software we have purchaced for OS compatibility. We are going to be on Win7 for next year though: either central IT will come through with their promise to fast track our upgrade or we will be pulling out of central management and going back to managing our own systems (since I am the one that would get lumped with the latter job, I am very much hoping for the former!).

  7. El Andy

    Gotta love "other"

    The most telling fact from that graph is really nothing to do with the inevitable replacement of XP systems with Windows 7, but rather the fact the Linux has now firmly fallen below "other" leaving it about the most irrelevant platform on the client side imaginable. But next year is the year of the Linux Desktop right?

    1. AndrueC Silver badge

      > But next year is the year of the Linux Desktop right?

      Isn't it always?


      1. PyLETS

        who cares ?

        This year, like the last 12 or so before it, is the year of the Linux desktop as far as my ability to get useful stuff (TM) done on it is concerned.

        Most other folk seem content to be unaware that it is the year of their Linux phone, webcam, broadband router, set-top box, TV, Cable/Satelite box, NAS box and most of their web applications. Guess that's why there seem to be more Linux than Windows users these days. But how long before they realise it ?

    2. Tomato42

      "I want to believe"

    3. Armando 123

      I thought it was the year that the politicians fix whatever the latest problem is.

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Yes, but you have to remember that

      since they didn't call out Win 2000 or 9x, those are lumped into Other as well, and I expect that sort of spikes the number.

  8. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

    Probably not yet

    Given all the XP machines that are behind corporate firewalls, are being used as POS etc and not connected to the internet, or in embedded systems it seems that Windows7 probably isn't there yet.

  9. JB

    "...their counts only measure computers that are connected to the internet."

    Have you tried using a computer that isn't connected to the internet lately? I recently moved house and had no broadband for a week. I thought I could use the computer to play games or do some word processing for work, but all I got were dialog boxes complaining about needing an internet connection.

  10. NoneSuch Silver badge
    Thumb Down

    ...and of course each of those purchased Win7 licenses has a free upgrade for Win8, right? Right???


  11. This is my handle

    But when will MS finall produce an OS as good as Windows 2000?!

    That is all.

  12. Craigness
    Thumb Up

    Count me in

    I'm one of those new users which Windows gained, having been using linux at home for about 30 months prior to this summer (and Win2k before that). My new laptop had Win7 on, the setup made a dual boot look tricky to install, so I started using Windows again and found it's pretty good. All I really want from an OS is that it lets me get to my applications and files and then shuts up. Win7 does that very well, and the security is much improved too.

    1. Roger Greenwood

      Bundling win

      Would you have bought the same laptop if it had Ubuntu on (for instance) and £130 off the price? I would.

      (I am also trying win7 now because very little else is available as retail for laptops).

      1. Craigness

        £130 off

        It only cost £320 so I doubt Windows costs £130. It's got Excel and Word started (add-supported) editions too. I have Ubuntu on my netbook but needed Windows for my work. The netbook came with a Dell version of Ubuntu and was £200, but considerably smaller and less powerful than the new laptop.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Windows 7 Pro 64bit (Inc:SP1) (OEM) DVD can be purchased for £75.

        Got one just a few weeks ago to build a new PC for my sister, new PC actually dual boots with the old XP disk, but it is noticeably slower than W7 due to all the thousands of patches/bodges that are in XP now.

        Linux may be free, but it does not run the software most people want in a PC environment.

    2. Keep Refrigerated

      Count me out

      Microsoft also gained me temporarly when I refreshed my work laptop earlier this year. I decided to give Win7 a fair shot and for a while it was ok... but I just missed certain things that Linux could do.

      I was also working in a number of countries in Europe at the time and noticed many of my peers had opted for Fedora or some other flavour on their work lappies and were using a physically partitioned Windows install inside a VM... so after a few months it was back to Ubuntu.

  13. Christian Berger

    Seems suspicious to me

    It's probably based on the access data of people who don't have noscript or something. It seems unlikely that there's more MacOSX than Linux and that there's even more Vista.

    One should always note that those stats vary a great deal.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      Now, I'm a fully paid up Win/Lin/Mac fanboy... I have to say that the only way there is more linux than Mac is if you include servers, which by definition aren't going to be surfing the net.

      1. Displacement Activity


        Dunno - might be right. I use Linux desktops continuously for work, but do pretty much all browsing on XP. This seems to be pretty common in engineering companies.

    2. westlake

      Good enough for government work.

      >> One should always note that those stats vary a great deal.

      It is true that published webstats vary.

      But it is also true those most frequently quoted, Net Applications, W3Schools, and so on, have not been kind to Linux.

      The trend lines within these sites for Linux are all pool table flat --- and that is more telling then the percentages. I think.

  14. Aaron Em

    'Linux on the desktop has flatlined'...

    ...he said, as though that implied any change.

  15. tommy060289
    Thumb Up

    Deservedly so....

    I'm a mac os x user but I have 7 running on bootcamp and it's nice to see MS go back and properly rebuild the os from the ground up and build it properly. I much prefer it to the copy of XP that I run on the MBP (and like les said the twelve million upgrades!) and certainly better than the abomination and paint it shiny shit coat that was vista! I still prefer os x, but if apple exploded tomorrow, it wouldn't be the horrible walk through hell to switch back that it used to be.

    Now if only ms would admit that you can't just chop down an operating (7 starter) and bung it on to low spec machine and hoping it's good enough to run and just write a proper os for netbooks they'd be on to a winner!

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      Rebuild it from the ground up? are you serious? Windows 7 is Vista with a service pack and different GUI MS have certainly NOT built it from the ground up!

  16. JDX Gold badge

    "I see Mac OS X is catching up with Vista."

    2nd fiddle to Vista - hardly good news for Apple.

  17. Mike Echo


    No WinPho figure in mobile OSes yet? Too early?

    1. alwarming

      Too optimistic.

  18. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Lies, damned Lies and statistics -- others see Vista+7 combined still 8% behind XP

    These guys see Vista+Win7 combined still 8 % behind XP for September 2011:

    1. Displacement Activity


      That'd got to be complete bollox. They've got iPhone as 1.65%.

  19. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    w3schools gives...

    2011 September

    Win7 42.2%

    WinXP 36.2%

    Mac 8.6%

    Vista 5.6%

    Linux 5.1%

    Mobile 0.9%

    Win2003 0.8%

    1. Mike Dimmick

      W3schools only count visitors to their own site

      ...which makes their statistics completely irrelevant to anyone except other web developers.

  20. jim 45

    In hindsight, I think MS would have been better off...

    ... if they'd never even released Vista.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      i never had a problem with it, i think vista especially bfore the SP fell victim to a bad image, once it got out there that was it, to be fair thats usually been MS problem for years, WP7 is another good example of a media frenzy which, at least to me, was baseless.

      One thing for sure with vista is that you need a good system

      Should MS not have released it, hmm, No, i think it was important that it did go out there, it soaked up a lot of the flack (some largely bassless) which gave Win7 a clean sheet to play with

    2. Jude Bradley

      Or Windows ME

      1. hplasm


        Win 286, 311, 95, 98...

  21. JaitcH

    Statcounter not dead accurate: print servers, etc. missed

    Way, way back MS had a small Windows add-on that could turn slow PC's into print servers.

    Subsequently, users started using the redoubtable XP as print servers. I know of at least 367 refurbished PC 'dog' computers that exist in rural school settings in VietNam not connected to the InterNet directly.

    A program, using discarded computers from Toronto businesses, and declined by game playing youngsters, were refurbished and exported to VietNam and Cambodia rural schools, brought in over 7,300 units and volunteers set them up using XP.

    Our company only maintains the 367 units in the Central Highlands.

    How many more did Statcounter miss?

  22. MacGyver

    Just give me back XP Search and the XP File Explorer..

    Windows 7 is just fixed Vista, much the same way Windows ME was broken 98se.

    I like the stability of Win7 over XP and Vista, but I can't stand the changes to the File Explorer and Search. As a person that moves files back and forth all day I can't use Vista or 7's stupid Search Bar or their File Explorer, it hides sub-folder status in the left pane when the focus is over the right, you can't right-click a folder to open a search window, and renaming the extension and clicking outside the file being renamed will select every file between where you clicked and the file, these things make it more for grandma and grandpa and not for people doing real work.

    Why can't they just give us a "Tech File Explorer" that looks and behaves like 95,98,98se,ME,2000,NT, and XP, hell I'd settle for a addon that I'd have to download from MS.

    Until MS fixes those issues I will be an XP holdout. The only reason I have never switched to Linux was my efficiency with the classic File Explorer, and now that is gone, I guess it's time to Linux.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      RE: XP search

      Any user that creates and move large amount of files around will never find the slow indexing any use. So this was/is the stupidest thing M$ could have done.

      I always turn off the indexing completely as it just trashes system performance.

      The answer is simple though, just download Agent Ransack (free & available in 32 and 64 bit versions) and it works a treat, plus it actually seems faster than the old XP search.

  23. Jude Bradley

    In hindsight, I think MS would have been better off...

    or Windows Me (shudder).

  24. Leona A

    Guess I'm one of the Flatliners then, I 'have' to use XP at work and there doesn't seem any signs of that changing, though everything we do can be done in Linux just as well, but I'm a Linux user at home, been using Linux exclusivity since 2006 now, so have not seen, let alone used, any Windows OS since XP, not seen Vista or Win 7. I wouldn't class myself as a geek(ette) either, I just borked at paying >£100 for an OS (which I then have to buy extra software for, to protect it, what a total con!) when a free one works perfectly well, secure and safe, just simple economics.

    1. Z80

      I hope for your sake you merely balked rather than borked. :)

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      zOMG - a girl on El Reg... and she uses Linux!!!11!

      I <3 u Will you be my girlfriend? We can go back to your place and fsck.

    3. Dan 55 Silver badge

      "which I then have to buy extra software for, to protect it"

      There are many free antivirus packages available for Windows, not least of which Microsoft's own Security Essentials if you can't stand bloat.

  25. lowson_i

    Virtual XP in WIn7

    Wonder what is reported when running XP in Virtual PC on Win7? I suspect this is why there has been an uptake of Win7 solely becuase of this "free" feature.

    1. Mike Dimmick

      Depends how you browse

      If you browse with the browser inside 'XP Mode' it would be counted as XP. Doing so on the public internet would be insane, though, and it's very obvious if you're using an application that Remote Desktop Application Services is exporting from the VM, as it has the XP look and feel. Sticks out like a sore thumb compared to Windows 7's glass look.

  26. Armando 123


    "Windows 7 adoption has been quick since it hit the shelves in 2009."

    This probably says more about the age of XP and the state of Vista than the state of Win7.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      I don't fully agree. I mean; XP isn't down and out yet, support continues to 2014 before its put to a stop (this is assuming that will really happen then).

      And during the Vista period there have been numerous of people (even computer illiterate's) who started "downgrading" their new Vista PC to run XP. That phenomenon has also declined when Win7 became the standard for new PC's.

      So I think there's more than merely age, although I fully agree about the state of Vista ;-)

  27. anonymuos
    Thumb Down

    Statscounter is not reliable

    Microsoft themselves cite Netapplications as a more accurate, more reliable source for all their Windows and IE stats so doh.

  28. Anonymous Coward

    Even MS recognizes the power of XP

    I'm also on Win7 and really liking my desktop day in and day out.

    I think MS knows all too well how people feel about XP and as such have introduces their "Windows XP mode" with Windows 7 professional and up. Its basically a combination of MS Virtual PC with an ISO image of a base XP professional instalation, but it works /very/ well. One of the things I like best is that I can "publish" programs which get installed on the virtual PC into my own Windows 7 start menu. As such if I want to use a specific XP program right away I can simply start if from my Win7 start menu.

    Still, I think MS likes pain. Vista would revolutionize the world, and it did but not in the way MS was hoping for. Windows 7 is on several fronts MUCH better. Now Win8 looms on the horizon; and I can't help think "deja vu!" all over again.

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