back to article Good luck displacing Windows 7, Microsoft, it's still growing

If it's the first Monday of the month, and it is, it must be time to have a look at desktop operating system market share as recorded by StatCounter and Netmarketshare. It looks like the skids are really under Windows XP now. Netmarketshare has it down from 16.94 per cent to 15.93 per cent. StatCounter has a dip to 10.91 per …

  1. streeeeetch

    You listening Microsoft?

    "plenty of users are very happy to hang on to operating systems that may not have all of Microsoft’s newest baubles, but do get the job done"

    1. Grifter

      Re: You listening Microsoft?

      They hear you, they just don't care. They know you'll come around eventually. You always do.

      1. Red Bren

        Re: You listening Microsoft?

        New PCs will come with some hardware that old versions of Windows won't support. Or the latest version of your business critical app will only work with the latest version of Windows. Or the fix for some newly discovered exploit that's been a ticking timebomb in the code base since 3.11 is not going to get back-ported to XP.

        You're on the upgrade treadmill and you're going to get milked.

        1. Fihart

          Re: You listening Microsoft? @Red Bren

          Another big reason for sticking with older OS is hardware makers understandably won't write fresh drivers for old kit.

          Had enough trouble searching Epson sites worldwide for XP drivers for scanners that came out in the days of XP. Let alone, hoping for drivers for 7 or 8/10.

          Irony is, the likely reason I have these Epson models is that they were originally dumped in the street by Mac owners when Apple deserted SCSI.

          1. gerryg

            Re: You listening Microsoft? Epson Drivers

            Never seems popular to say this, however on the Epson website: Image Scan For Linux or search

            1. Fihart

              Re: You listening Microsoft? Epson Drivers @gerryg

              Thanks for that. As I'm thinking of moving some of my work to a Linux machine, may prove handy.

            2. BobChip

              Re: You listening Microsoft? Epson Drivers - and Hewlett Packard too

              I might as well be unpopular too. HPLIP (HP Linux Printing system) works just fine with a large number of HP printers.

            3. BobChip

              Re: You listening Microsoft? HP Drivers

              Might as well be unpopular too. HP issue the HPLIP (HP Linux Imaging and Printing) driver for a large number of their printers in a Linux environment. It's fully functional and just works.

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: You listening Microsoft?

          "New PCs will come with some hardware that old versions of Windows won't support."

          Nope. Lots of PCs still ship with Win7. Anything that doesn't have Win7 capability won't sell well.

          "the latest version of your business critical app will only work with the latest version of Windows"

          Nope. XP, Win7. Who (in business) cares about 8 or 10? Any business app provider that didn't support Win7 would be committing commercial suicide.

          "the fix for some newly discovered exploit that's been a ticking timebomb in the code base since 3.11 is not going to get back-ported to XP."

          XP's kinda sorta on the way out, slowly. 7's coming in, slowly. 8 and 10 ? Nobody cares. Nobody outside the MS-dependent ecosystem anyway.

          Interesting times.

      2. BobChip

        Re: You listening Microsoft?

        Eventually come round? NO. Just walk away.

    2. Craigness

      Re: You listening Microsoft?

      Why would you expect them to listen to you? You're not a customer. You're not even saying "if you release something with nothing new on it I'll buy it," you're saying" I will not buy anything new because what I've got already works." Of course they won't listen.

      1. Roopee Silver badge

        Re: You listening Microsoft?

        Yes, but they don't listen to their actual customers either - if they had then Windows 8 would never have even crossed their minds and idiots like Sinofsky and Harris would still be flipping burgers.

  2. Shadow Systems

    Upgrade? Not until you fix the damned thing.

    Last time I checked, the MS forums for W10+Accessibility *specificly* mentioned W10 not playing nice with the Number One ScreenReader on the market, namely Jaws from FreedomScientific.

    The MS reccommendation to use NVDA or the (still unstable) Windows Navigator ScreenReaderEnvironment (SRE) is *not* a good reflection on W10, especially given how open the Jaws team is towards programmers whom want to ensure compatability.

    If W10 isn't compatible with Jaws & MS thinks I'll switch SRE's to something that will require me to learn everything all over again (the SRE) just so I can ALSO learn everything all over again (the OS), they can ram that thought right up their arse with a super powered pneumatic jack hammer.

    Make W10 work with Jaws or kiss the business of most of the Blind/VI community goodbye.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Upgrade? Not until you fix the damned thing.

      Make it work with Jaws?

      MS might take the easy way out. Buy Jaws and close it down. They have done that before with a competing piece of software.

      Years later they release something that was based on the tech they bought but nowhere near as good as the original.

      Beware the MS Behmoth. Tangling with them is not recommended. There is a grave somewhere with a long list of extinct companies that have dared to do this.

      bitter? Yes. I started working for one of the companies listed on that headstone three weeks before the sale to MS was announced. I was out of the door the next day.

    2. Daniel von Asmuth

      Re: Upgrade? Wait and see

      News for XP diehards: a new version of WIndows is due this summer, but I doubt they will receive free upgrades.

  3. Old Used Programmer

    One wonders how much of that rise in Linux is the Raspberry Pi 2 Model B coming into use...

    1. Jonathan Richards 1

      re Raspberry Pi

      > One wonders how much of that rise in Linux is the Raspberry Pi 2 Model B coming into use...

      Hardly any, would be my guess. These are figures for desktop computers, which the Pi (in any guise) really isn't, so if they're counting it, they shouldn't. And, of course, when you buy the Raspi, it comes with no operating system at all. Few people are going to go out and buy Windows 10 for it, when there are shedloads of free, well-supported and established alternatives.

      1. Roopee Silver badge

        Re: re Raspberry Pi

        Wrong on both counts - just bought one for my godson (13) so he can learn Python which he has started at school. It came bundled with a choice of 4 OSs, and the default one has a sophisticated yet straightforward desktop UI that puts Win 8 to shame. I also bought a webcam and breadboard kit, keyboard, WiFi dongle and a couple of books, cables etc, all for less than an OEM copy of Windows.

        1. Jonathan Richards 1

          Re: re Raspberry Pi

          > Wrong on both counts

          Well done, I hope your godson enjoys the Pi. What you generously bought him, though, was a Pi, together with a number of accessories, including the SD card with the OSs on it. That's not included in the Raspeberry Pi itself, so my point was that one has to make a positive effort to buy Win10 for it.

          Also I agree that the GUI in some of the distros is a match for many of the Windows versions; I've never used 8 or 10, so I can't comment. I still think it's a stretch to call a Raspberry Pi a "desktop computer", though. If your godson is working with Python, a good IDE will be a boon: I've had short but good experience with Komodo Edit on Kubuntu, but I haven't tried installing it on my Raspberry Pi.

  4. channel extended

    Win 7 disc.

    I have a Win 7 disc. that I bought when I built my latest system. I have no need for a new system, so no thanks, I'll keep running a stable and well protected system - Linux. Some will complain that Linux is for geeks and not the avg. user, I say F*ckem. I am not an avg luser running Winhole and don't pretend to be. The reason I bought a copy was I could see the writing on the wall, no more disc's, everything downloaded. I only needed the disc one time. A company hired me and insisted the I use their software suite, for time card's. After about six months I moved on, when they went bankrupt. Will I ever upgrade? Only at gun point, or wallet point.Most of my family has two computers. One that works and one to play games. They will likely only upgrade to Win 10 when the games require it.

    1. Neil Barnes Silver badge

      Re: Win 7 disc.

      Indeed. I have a laptop that came with W8 but has never run it; instead it runs Linux with W7 in a VM for the couple of programs I require that are not available for Linux.

      I can see nothing special about W10 that is likely to persuade me to upgrade; it does many exciting things, no doubt, but they are not exciting to me and I do not change OSs for excitement... it's all very well saying this is the best thing since sliced cheese because it can do X, Y, and Z if I - and perhaps many others - have no need for these putative enhancements.

      1. Sandtitz Silver badge

        Re: Win 7 disc.

        "I can see nothing special about W10 that is likely to persuade me to upgrade"

        Same here, but...

        I see a real reason to replace Win7 sometime after Jan 2020 when Microsoft ends all support.

      2. BobChip

        Re: Sliced cheese.

        Win 10 may indeed be the best thing since sliced cheese, but it is worth remembering that almost all sliced cheese is bargain basement rubbish, so "best thing since" hardly represents an improvement to want to eat, let alone get excited about.

    2. illiad

      Re: Win 7 disc.

      yes, as long as you **steer clear** of IE, outlook, etc... put GOOD AV like avast, good anti malware...

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Windows 7 is popular because it is easy to pirate

    Makes it a good replacement for all those pirated XP licenses, which probably accounted for a fair bit of the remaining percentage of XP users when it went past its sell by date (yes, I know some corps still hadn't completed their upgrades, but they were the exception rather than the rule)

    Admittedly I haven't looked into it too hard since I have no interest in Windows 8, but my understanding is that it is much more of a pain to pirate. Maybe they realize they went too far in that respect, and are offering middle ground with the free Windows 10 upgrades for legal or non-legal versions of 7 and 8.

    1. JP19

      Re: Windows 7 is popular because it is easy to pirate

      Lol - complete lack of copy/pirate protection wouldn't make Win 8 popular.

      Microsoft giving away Win 10 should give you an idea of how desirable even Microsoft really thinks it is going to be.

      1. P. Lee

        Re: Windows 7 is popular because it is easy to pirate

        >Microsoft giving away Win 10 should give you an idea of how desirable even Microsoft really thinks it is going to be.

        Actually its reasonably smart on MS' part.

        They are only giving it away to those who are unlikely to pay for it anyway. It consolidates the ecosystem which is good for devs. It helps deflect some of Apple's and Linux's taunts about cost.

        The question will be whether they've learnt their lesson from Vista and not made it so resource heavy that people wish they had never taken it.

        I also doubt business will be that interested. They won't get it for free and the cost of changing OS, any widespread OS, is so high that they won't want to change unless they really have to.

      2. Tomato42

        Re: Windows 7 is popular because it is easy to pirate

        Except the "given away Win 10" is actually a 1 year trial copy

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Windows 7 is popular because it is easy to pirate

          Is that also the case where people already have W7 or 8? I was under the impression that MS were giving people a free upgrade rather than a one year trial.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Windows 7 is popular because it is easy to pirate

      Uh huh. It requires a few more clicks. The mechanism is actually interesting, on both sides of the divide. Seems they create a server on the installed pirated machine home loopback address. Actually I've seen that method in practice going back to the late 80's. Wat one or several can conceive, another can crack as the US Enterprise found in a naval exercise ;-). We need a big shit eating grin icon.

      I don't need it. Test installs, even for server, have the lifespan of a mayfly and licensed perhaps twice as long. And I've got a lot of licence records just in case the BSA show up. { And I'm not talking about the Boy Scouts}

      1. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge

        Re: Windows 7 is popular because it is easy to pirate

        You can download an ISO for Windows Server 2012** with a 6 month trial license.

        Far longer than the lifespan of a Mayfly.

        ** Add something like StartMenu (+ QuickLaunch) and it is usable.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    See ya in 2020, Microsoft!

    At home I have two computers with Windows7, two more that will be migrated from XP again to Windows 7, two virtual machines that will stay on XP and in the mean time I'm getting better with everyday at Linux and FreeBSD.

    In the future I'll probably use Windows 8+ but I'll be paid to do it so why not!

    And in case you want my money, then try making this REALLY and HONESTLY optional (I mean I can remove them from my system) :

    - cloud

    - subscription

    - app store

    - Microsoft accounts to login

    - digital assistant

    1. a_yank_lurker

      Re: See ya in 2020, Microsoft!

      It is my hardware and I demand that I have the final say. If that means never again to MS on my hardware so be it. My experience is there are very few programs I need on my personal computer and I can do not need to run Windows for any of them.

  7. Asok Asus

    Windows 10 = Windows 8.10

    Windows 10 is little more than Windows 8.10, and the primary purpose of Windows 8.10 has almost nothing to do with the needs of actual PC users, but again, just like Windows 8.x, is all about what Microsoft wants in an OS, which appears (once again) to be oriented towards mobile, a market Microsoft lost years ago and will never gain back, given that their current worldwide smartphone share is less than 3% and shrinking.

    Just as with Windows 8.x, almost no enterprise, SMB, government or industrial users will abandon Windows 7, many of whom just converted from Windows XP.

    And just like Windows 8.x, mostly it will be hapless consumers who buy their PCs at retail stores like Best Buy who will be stuck with Windows 8.10. That is, those few consumer Windows PC users who haven't already permanently fled Microsoft because of Windows 8.x.

    No one in industry, manufacturing, government, military, business, or the enterprise will care one whit about Windows 10 unless it's a more productive operating system for the vast majority of their PC users.

    That really will be the sole metric of the success of Windows 10: is it compatible with the hundreds of millions of current PC applications and users, and is it substantially more productive than Windows 7? If not, then there's no business case for "upgrading" from Windows 7 as there will be no positive return on investment.

    PC productivity should have been Microsoft's primary focus for Windows 10. However, Microsoft has persisted in making an operating system that meets Microsoft's needs and not the needs of its industrial and business users. As a consequence, Windows 10 will be another flop like Windows 8, and never before has Microsoft had two major OS flops in a row. Now that Microsoft has all but lost the war for mobile, they can't afford to lose their one remaining monopoly.

    The bottom line is that Microsoft is facing a headwind of skepticism (and alternatives) like never before in their history of introducing new operating systems, and I wonder if they know that Windows 10 is not just another OS to be introduced to a naive and adoring audience with their typically lame publicity barrage, but may be in fact be the last OS they ever introduce that anyone will actually give a hoot about if turns out to be as bad a bomb as Windows

    Microsoft's top task should be maintaining it's near-monopoly on the desktop in the enterprise world, and windows 10 is no more capable of doing that than windows 8 was. Microsoft's exclusive focus with W10 has been on mobile, a war it already lost nearly a decade ago when it didn't even know it was in a battle.

    Therefore there is no compelling reason to change from W7 TO W10 on PCs, and W10 won't significantly advance Microsoft's currently 3% and shrinking worldwide smartphone market share.

    I’m just now converting the majority of my business clients from XP to W7. I’ll keep them on W7 if/until MS produces something that is compatible with the hundreds of millions of current PC applications and user interfaces, and is substantially more productive for their users than Windows 7. Should that case not arise from MS, then there’s no business case for “upgrading” from Windows 7, even if it is "free", as there will be no positive investment return from the costs of the change.

    And based on working extensively with W10 TP releases, I can tell you W10 is NOT better than W7. W10 is nothing but a gussied up W8.x with nothing new in it that’s needed on enterprise or SMB PCs. There’s nothing new in W10 that’s not being put there solely to foster MS’s vain hope of growing their currently shrinking 3% worldwide smartphone market share. Cortana, Spartan, APIs for universal device applications, slightly improved (but still bereft) MS App Store, integrated MS cloud, integrated MS Bing, and all the rest are things for cell phones and/or things MS wants to try to trick people into paying extra money for. And not a single one of these things is truly useful for enterprise and SMB PCs.

    Fundamentally, W10 is what Microsoft management is selling to its ignorant board of directors as the great mobile savior that will make Microsoft relevant in mobile. The problem is that Microsoft will never be relevant in mobile. That war was fought and lost years ago before Microsoft even understood they were in a battle, much less in a war for survival. W10's sole purpose is really to keep the post-Ballmerites in their jobs for the few years that it will take the board to realize that the post-Ballmerites are equally as clueless and impotent as the recently departed Ballmerites.

    Before it was released to the public, I predicted W8.x was going to be a massive disaster for both Microsoft and the entire PC industry, and I predict that W10 will be little better. W10 is going to be almost as big a bomb on the PC for MS as was W8.x.

    1. Bob Vistakin

      Re: Windows 10 = Windows 8.10

      Spot on.

      1. illiad

        Re: Windows 10 = Windows 8.10

        well try finding THIS in your win 8.1.... :)

        1. Dan 55 Silver badge

          Re: Windows 10 = Windows 8.10

          The start menu changes from build to build and lately it's gone from that to something more phoney, in both senses of the word.

    2. illiad

      Re: Windows 10 = Windows 8.10

      TL:DR.... obvious you have not looked properly.. win8.1 can look very much like win7, there is a FREE download for a start bar that will also look like XP..

      90% of the computer buying public have NO CLUE, I am shocked by the amount of crap-ware and stuff some have let in, and that INCLUDES business managers!!!

      Many businesses are blindly installing MS, leaving their poor workforce to sort out the mess!!!

      and win server 2012 is NEEDED to properly mange the network - its win81 shell can be put in classic mode too, so win7 users will be mostly happy..

      You have NOT been following how DIFFERENT win10 is from win8x... and have also forgotten that the first release of win7 was about as bad!!! its was SP1 that made it a lot better...

      FREE Win10 is not only an apology for how much they messed up, but a PLOY to wipe out lower win versions from the market share ... :D :D

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Windows 10 = Windows 8.10

        win8.1 can look very much like win7, there is a FREE download for a start bar that will also look like XP..

        And some people are easily fooled into buying mutton dressed as lamb...

      2. Michael Habel

        Re: Windows 10 = Windows 8.10


        And, again your missing the point, and that these "Features" should NOT have to be corrected by shady 3'erd Party IAP @55c0wn5, with who know what kind of agenda? Can you do this? Yeah sure, why not... If your already misfortunate to have Windows 8.x, on your System, then sure go ahead. The rest of us will continue using Windows 7, in the interim.

        Specifically: Does Microsoft still have the leverage to force Windows upgrades through restricted MS Office/MS Outlook compatibility? They used to in the past. I'm unsure whether they still have it, but I'm pretty sure that whether or not they have that leverage is the crucial question in the Windows Upgrade Circus.

        I'ma gonna say no... No chance with Office365 at least. But. I doubt it'll be a slam dunk for libre/open Office either.

    3. Rob Carriere

      Re: Windows 10 = Windows 8.10

      I don't disagree with much of what you're saying, but I feel one important point is getting lost in the shuffle: businesses don't buy OSes for the sake of buying OSes, they get them so the computer can be used to run applications that meet some business need.

      And the 800 pound gorilla in that room is MS Office/MS Outlook. Any story that wishes to be a prediction of how future Windows will fare will have to account for the future of those apps.

      Specifically: Does Microsoft still have the leverage to force Windows upgrades through restricted MS Office/MS Outlook compatibility? They used to in the past. I'm unsure whether they still have it, but I'm pretty sure that whether or not they have that leverage is the crucial question in the Windows Upgrade Circus.

  8. Sceptic Tank Silver badge

    I'm a bottom feeder

    My ancient notebook at home runs Windows Vista. My other PCs run various distros of GNU/Linux. Looking at that chart my choices of OS are competing there for the bottom position. It's not much of an issue for me: I seriously started using GNU/Linux about 2 years ago and my interest in Windows just dwindled -- mostly because of MS' licensing policies*. I'll probably replace the ancient notebook if Windows 10 turns out to be useable and it can co-exist with other operating systems on *my* equipment that I *bought*.

    (At least my work notebook runs Windows 7 so I can still feel like I'm part of the herd).

    * My OS is tied to a specific hardware configuration and I have to pay again if I upgrade?!? WTF? What next? Do I have to pay for my orange juice again if I pour it from the bottle into a glass?

  9. Martin an gof Silver badge

    What about non-connected computers?

    Maybe we're an exception, but we have a lot of XP machines that have simply been isolated from t'internet and would never show on these counters. Perhaps there are others out there doing the same thing and this is part of the reason why the "fall" in XP usage isn't completely matched by a rise in W7 or W8?

    For us it's mainly a case of "if it ain't broke, don't fix it". The things work perfectly well under XP, the hardware would struggle in some cases to run W7 and some of the proprietary software we run doesn't work too well under W7.

    That said, we are just now beginning to find that if we are replacing hardware, getting the drivers for XP can be difficult. At some point we will have to develop a taste for lead and cordite. Just not yet, please?

    This sort of "census" doesn't tell the whole story by a long way.

    1. Paul Crawford Silver badge

      Re: What about non-connected computers?

      If all you need is XP/7 application support, and not special hardware, then running Windows in a VM is a good solution.

      OK for the typical end user its a little more training/understanding of the whole "computer in a computer" arrangement, but it allows you to totally decouple the application+OS you depend upon from the hardware you have. You also can lock it down so web/email is from the host, and the VM has only the internet access it really needs (which could be zero). Finally, as a lot of malware now avoids running in a VM to evade analysis, and you are probably not exposed so much, you can drop a lot of crappy AV software and rely on other methods of recovering from an infestation (as AV is pretty shit generally at that job).

      For myself I have XP and 7 VMs for CAD software, Office, etc, and use Linux for my host machine. No need to rent, no need for cloud unless I want it, no need to sign up to a MS account, etc.

      1. Martin an gof Silver badge

        Re: What about non-connected computers?

        If all you need is XP/7 application support, and not special hardware, then running Windows in a VM is a good solution.

        It's a thought, but there are a couple of things preventing that here, I think. First is the hardware. Although it is being replaced as it fails, we still have a good percentage of our machines running 3GHz 32-bit single-core Pentium 4s without virtualisation support in 1GB of RAM. Many of the rest are Core 2 Duos with 2GB, which is better, and the current batch of replacement hardware is AMD A8-based :-)

        I've never used a VM in anger, so my second potential problem is that these are machines running interactive software which works best with graphics hardware that can provide a moderate amount of 2D and video decode in hardware. Does that sort of thing work via a VM, or do you just get a framebuffer?

        Oh and "special hardware". Yes, come to think of it, we do have a couple of bits, most notable of which are some USB-based hardware key dongles without which the driver for a particular Firewire-attached device won't load.

        The installation is 10 years old this year and there has never been a proper replacement plan, nor a migration strategy. In the current financial climate we're just going to have to carry on replacing bits as they fail and hoping we can keep XP alive and safe, but I doubt we'll be the last people on earth using it...


        1. Paul Crawford Silver badge

          Re: @Martin an gof

          The answers to your points are:

          1) Yes, realistically you need newer machines to have a decent chance of running a VM. Think of at least 4GB RAM and support for virtulisation (AMD A8 ought to be fine).

          1.1) What the VM buys you is you don't need to have drivers for the new hardware for an old OS (currently a w2k or XP issue).

          1.2) You can also (sometimes!) migrate a working machine in to a VM image and thus save the process of installing the OS, patching, installing applications, getting license keys, setting stuff up, etc. Down side is you don't then clear out years of crud.

          2) Most software that is currently performing OK on a 5 year old machine will be fine in a VM, and you can get some video acceleration support for the VM as well (depends on OS/video driver/etc).

          Obviously you won't get "bare metal" performance but often the convenience beats that except for really high performance tasks, gaming, etc.

          3) USB dongles are not usually a problem, you can selectively connect USB devices through the host to the VM, but you might find the occasional thing that won't work.

          However, all change has a cost (time, software and hardware, sometimes all 3) and eventually you need to attend to it. Better to do it before the excrement hits to HVAC attachment so you don't find big problems that take ages to work around.

        2. jason 7

          Re: What about non-connected computers?

          You can actually pick up 4 year old ex-corporate Dell/HP PCs with Win7 Pro, C2D, 4GB Ram and 320GB HDDs for around £60 a pop if you know where to look.

          You don't need to pay £300 a go.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: 2nd User Systems

            "4 year old ex-corporate Dell/HP PCs with Win7 Pro, C2D, 4GB Ram and 320GB HDDs for around £60 a pop if you know where to look."

            And what's the licencing situation on that?

            The previous owner's corporate licence won't be transferable, and a proper MAR (Microsoft Authorised Refurbisher, yes seriously) licence will cost almost as much as the price you quote.

            So if all you want is the hardware it's probably not a bad buy.

            If you want genuine licenced software, ask a few more questions, or at least make sure there's a valid relevant CoA.

            I've at least one 2ndhand CPQ from a once-reputable shop which came with a Dell CoA. How legit is that? It's running Suse so it doesn't matter, but...

            1. jason 7

              Re: 2nd User Systems

              Standard MS OEM HP/Dell licence sticker on the box that you would get if purchased in a shop.

              Just run a Dell Windows 7 Pro DVD on the Dell machine and you are away. If not use a retail Pro DVD with the sticker key and telephone activate.

              No Enterprise Volume licence to worry about. And quite frankly for a small business wanting just two or three machines I really don't care beyond that.

              If the original licence stickers have been removed (some companies do) then you'll need the proper Reseller/Refurb licenses from the reseller.

              However, you can pick up new PCs for £200 if you are that concerned. The days of a standard company PC costing £1000 a go are long gone.

              I always say if you don't have money to invest in the tech that makes you don't deserve to be in business. Give up!

            2. Roland6 Silver badge

              Re: 2nd User Systems

              >And what's the licencing situation on that?

              As long as it has a COA on it then you can install any version of Windows the COA permits. However, because MS don't get any revenue, they've deliberately made it difficult for OEM's to sell Windows reinstall media when not supplied with the original system. Likewise becasue they got no revenue from the second user market, they introduced the MAR programme to make it difficult for refurbisher's to refurbish systems that had a totally valid COA attached.

              Once Windows is installed and using the correct OEM key (as per the OEM given on the COA), MS are going to be hard pushed trying to prove the system isn't legal!

      2. BobChip

        Re: What about non-connected computers? It Works!

        I've done exactly the same thing here. Host is Mint 17, VM is VirtualBox, guest OS's are XP (games not supported through Steam or GoG) and Win7 (a couple of older graphics / CAD type packages). Linux for everything else. VMs have direct internet access completely disabled, and when necessary communicate by passing data through the host. Guest system updates are now irrelevant since they are almost always security updates anyway, and once isolated a stable guest system will run smoothly ad infinitum.

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    So will this year be the year of Linux on the desktop?

    1. BobChip

      The year of Linux on the desktop?

      No. Not yet. Maybe 5 years? But the trend is now discernible.

  11. illiad

    win8.1 CAN look like win7!!!

    you can set desktop to run on boot, etc..

  12. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

    Just thinking out loud

    Assuming W10 proves as unpopular as 8 & variants, if you were a PC manufacturer what would you do?

    You're selling a combination of hardware & OS. You make the former, which is where your money comes from, but need the latter. If your customers are resisting buying what you make because of the OS over which you've no control what are they doing instead?

    To some extent they're not buying at all because what they have does what they need. But at some point stuff breaks & gets replaced so where are the customers going?

    Apple? As a seller of integrated packages they control hardware & OS and you're not getting any share of that.

    You're going to need to emulate Apple & have some control over what OS you put on the box. There are two - or two and a half - alternatives. One is to band together with the other PC manufacturers to twist Microsoft's arm to come up with something you can sell. Maybe a Windows 11 that looks more like the old stuff, maybe just let you sell Windows 7, possibly with a marketing makeover as Windows Classic. Or you could follow Apple with your own OS based on Linux, BSD, Reactos or the like, either on a go-it-alone basis or, again, banding together with the other PC manufacturers.

    If Win10 flops how long have MS got before the manufacturers start thinking along these lines?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Just thinking out loud

      Im sure that if the MAJOR hardware manufacturers could agree to cooperate and all put funds and or developers in to reactos rather than multiple different competing projects. they could quickly develop a secure OS that would run many legacy win32 programs that people still have and want to use and have the same look and feel of traditional Windows versions. these things would help current Windows users and ease transition and get market share from people who dont like the new Windows version X.X for whatever, visual, licencing, cost or political etc reasons.

      the software and services supported by the OS "could" be more open and support more services like different cloud storage options even bundle or sell their own, they could develop their own app stores over time and implement them as users are "shown their advantages". a developer would only need to write the code once and just submit it to the stores they wanted to support.

      Free software but with Support contracts, App store, Cloud storage, etc providing Revenue on top of Hardware sales.

      Anther thing needed is an Open source replacement for FAT32 or cross platform integrated OS support for one of the existing non proprietary drive formats that allows large files and volumes. but as the walled gardens are getting ever more ring fenced despite the proliferation of devices and the need for this i dont see this being fixed any time soon .

      1. gerryg

        Re: Just thinking out loud

        Stop thinking out loud and start Googling quietly... ? exFAT

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Just thinking out loud

          i am fully aware of how to use a search engine.

          In my comment i say OPEN source.

          exFAT (Extended File Allocation Table) is a Microsoft file system optimized for flash drives. It is proprietary and patented. so is NOT cross Platform supported or implemented.

          It Cant become an official part of Linux due to the patent encumbered status of the exFAT file system.

          A real world example of non compatibility is Jolla in their new Sailfish powered Tablet dont support large SD cards due to licencing issues with exFAT. :-(

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Just thinking out loud

            Apologies to Jolla the wording of my last post was inaccurate they do support large memory cards just not readable in windows machines due to licencing.. from their funding page below.

            "We’ve decided to move forward with an open source memory card solution. This enables you to use memory cards up to 128GB on your Jolla Tablet for back-ups and extra storage. Due to Microsoft’s licensing limitation, cards over 32GB, that are formatted in Jolla Tablet, will not be readable with Windows computers or devices that advertise microSDXC support (cameras/phones/tablets). We feel that this suits best with our community's wishes and Jolla's values."

      2. Paul Crawford Silver badge

        Re: FAT32

        Are the patents for FAT32 not expired now?

        After all its been 20 years since Win95 came out with long file name support. Sure it sucks as a file system, but I doubt you need a license for that any-more. Not true for exFAT of course as it is a recent one...

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Just thinking out loud

        This is a good idea except for the ReactOS part - why reinvent a broken wheel? If that ever becomes successful Microsoft will just sue for API violations like Oracle did.

        If an industry consortium of hardware vendors got together in the same way they have through the Khronos Group to define Open CL, except to define a reference OS/hardware platform, this could really do a lot for the industry in freeing itself from Microsoft's ham-fisted dictatorship.

        There are several Linux distros that are well engineered with a very good build pipeline and active, competent leadership. The industry could adopt one of these distros and put serious resources into developing first-class drivers for state-of-the-art hardware.. this would benefit all the vendors as their hardware could be used to its fullest advantage, instead of being squandered on something like Metro.

        Think of an advanced MIT-licensed distro targeting ARM and the latest GPU technology to create a breakthrough reference platform that could outperform current offerings in efficiency as well as performance. The OS engineering has already been done for the most part and is free for the taking - we just need resources from the hardware manufacturers to build quality drivers.

        Microsoft spends most of its time thinking about how to screw over its customers, and by extension, the hardware manufacturers. Operating Systems are a free commodity now - the business case for dealing with Microsoft for any forward thinking plans is rapidly approaching a divide-by-zero situation - maximum legal and technical pain, holding back technical advances to the state they were in 20 years ago, and we STILL have to pay them.

        Enough of this bullshit

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Just thinking out loud

          All Good technically BUT Linux had been the desktop OS coming for the last 10 years.

          The reason for going with ReactOS is the compatibility with that large catalogue of software people want to use and the familiar look and feel. so less of a Hard sell for consumers.

          YES lawyers would have to look at it but React OS seem to think that they are safe with the "clean Room Reverse engineering" that they are using.

          One month this year i mean to try to do without Microsoft Products. (except when having to use them to support Users software issues). so I can see how easy it is not to be "screwed" by them. the biggest stumbling blocks i see are Office with my current complicated .XLSX (macros) files. and my MFD. using the software should be the easy part learning to admin which ever product i try will be the hard part, ive been using windows since the late 1980's and been an admin since NT4. but i have until end of life for windows 7 and office 2010 to work it out or I may just find that Windows 10 is not the privacy eroding and POS GUI operating system that people think it "MAYBE" in which case i will keep paying the Microsoft Shilling to keep using software that I know will run my current software and open my files.

    2. Michael Habel

      Re: Just thinking out loud

      Easy The OEMs should start taslking to like likes of Google (Chrome Books), or even Debian, about the possibility of creating an OEM specific flavor )i.e. Skinned!), of Linux, with the few bobs, and ends like an OEM Branded App Store, or even better Music & Movie Stores!

      ...Then watch MicroSoft fall away!

      1. jason 7

        Re: Just thinking out loud

        I've tried giving linux away for free to customers to reduce the cost of a system but they still want to pay £100 extra for Windows.

        No matter how strapped for cash they are.

        Free Linux is a really hard sell.(ha)

    3. SImon Hobson Bronze badge

      Re: Just thinking out loud

      > Assuming W10 proves as unpopular as 8 & variants, if you were a PC manufacturer what would you do?

      You bend over and do whatever MS tells you to !

      Like it or not, the majority of hardware still ships with Windows. Roll forward a few years and that's not all that likely to change.

      If you start talking heresy, then you (or rather, your top boss) will get a visit from your MS account manager, and completely off the record you'll be informed of your new licensing costs if you don't toe the MS line. Upshot is that if you don't do what MS says, you'll not be able to sell any more MS powered hardware because the licence costs will make you uncompetitive. Without that MS powered hardware, your sales won't be worth staying open for.

      And for good measure, no you can't talk about this meeting - not ever, not to anyone. If you do, then new fees apply.

      Thus they'll pull each manufacturer into line separately and kill any rebellion before it starts.

      They've done it before, they'll do it again, and they know the wheels of regulatory control turn very ver slowly. So slowly that any changes they are forced to make will only happen long after the objective has been achieved.

      1. Paul Crawford Silver badge

        Re: "completely off the record you'll be informed of your new licensing costs"

        Ah yes, illustrates the importance of recording such meetings, completely off the record of course, on a phone. An Android most probably...

  13. Charlie Clark Silver badge

    Same old flawed analysis

    Simply by failing to corroborate the results with El Reg's own is a failing. Then there is the failure to take into consideration the fall in the share of web traffic on desktop devices. Then there is no analysis of how representative the services are. Certainly neither are used on sites that I visit. An analysis of the data from would helpful here.

    Just some starting points.

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Is it just me..

    .. or am I not the only one to get PACMAN flashbacks from that leading article picture? :)

    1. GrumpenKraut

      Re: Is it just me..

      You are not, I got PACMANed as well...

      Beer, because [no reason given].

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Is it just me..

      I got a downvote for mentioning PACMAN? That's awesome.

      Let's try for some more then. What about TETRIS? Or WUMPUS played on a hex display in the 1k of memory on a KIM 1 motherboard? No? More graphics as in the original Leisure Suit Larry in the Land of the Lounge Lizards?

  15. RainbowTrout

    Only just now upgrading to 7......

    My employer is currently upgrading 5000+ laptops and desktops to Windows 7. We didn't get XP until 2009......

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    XP Will live on.

    While XP is still capable of running software applications it will continue to be used.

    Why? -because it is the most stable and user friendly OS that MS have ever produced. I also have a Win 8 machine - it worked well until I upgraded it to 8.1 and since then it's been a complete pain in the arse. I'm just waiting for it to break completely so I can be bothered to restore Win 8. I have never understood why people like Win 7 (Vista SP 2???). There is something remarkably clunky about it and in every Microsoft OS release since we have had to put up with that unendurable search - at least I get to make coffee more often .. and Aero? give me a break! Opera widgets run a lot better -

    So I keep using my XP machine - I have even skinned 8.1 to look like XP.

    Some one mentioned running XP in a VM. I do that too but even though I have a powerful system VM's do slow everything down appreciably.

    The other day I blew the dust off my water cooled gaming beast and fired it up. It runs XP 64 and it goes like greased lightning and multi-tasks like a dream. Such a pity MS killed it in order to foist their subsequent crap OS's on us. I would have happily paid an annual licensing fee to support the maintenance and development of XP.

    Hmmm - I also discovered a Bootmagic partition and lo and behold up came Win 98! It booted in about 3 seconds and I can still surf the net with Opera 9.

    Seriously though all the new stuff seems faddish eye candy and of limited value. Does anyone really use apps on a PC? The default Win 8 ones at best are of poor utility and are often a long winded way of achieving something simple very slowly.

    Do I want my computer to look like a phone? No but if I did it would be Android not Windows.

  17. Stevie


    Half my office is yelling about borked computers this week. Seems an upgrade was run. My computer seemed OK so I did some checking.

    The "upgrade" was from XP to Win7.

    I thought I was the last one to get Win 7.

    I had to stamp my foot and hold my breath to get it too, so I should have guessed we still had a lot of XP out there.

  18. Cronus

    I'm sure it doesn't account for it all but...

    It strikes me that the market share in XP can fall as a percentage without falling as an absolute number simply by an increase in the number of non-XP systems. Some back-of-the-napkin math:

    To start you have:

    10 XP,10 W7, 10 W8

    That's 33% market share for XP.

    Then increase the others:

    10 XP, 20 W7, 20 W8

    XP now only has 20% market share but nobody that was using XP has actually stopped using XP.

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