Windows 7 overtakes XP to become the most widely used OS

By Tom Warren, on 13th Oct 11 1:34 pm with 53 Comments

Windows 7

Windows 7 has passed Windows XP global usage for the first time since its release in October 2009.

Windows 7 now accounts for 40.21% of all global desktop operating system usage across the world. Windows XP usage slipped to 38.64% in the month of October according to StatCounter. The drop in XP usage has been consistent since Windows 7′s launch but October marks the first time that Windows 7 has passed Windows XP usage, an important milestone for Microsoft after two years of Windows 7 sales.

Windows 7 quickly rose to popularity following positive reaction from early beta copies of the operating system. Released in October 2009, the operating system has received praise from consumers, businesses and the media. In November 2009, Windows 7 managed to surpass Apple’s Snow Leopard market share in just two weeks. In early February 2010 it was revealed that Windows 7 had reached 10% market share in just three months. Windows 7 also passed Vista usage in July 2010, just 10 months after its release.

Windows 7 celebrated its first birthday after selling over 240 million licenses in the first year of sales. Gartner believes that 42% of all PCs worldwide will run Windows 7 by the end of the year. The company’s research also indicates that 94% of new PCs will ship with Windows 7 in 2011. By the end of 2011, nearly 635 million new PCs worldwide are expected to be shipped with Windows 7. Microsoft recently revealed that it has shipped over 450 million licences of Windows 7. The figures are a testament to the popularity of Microsoft’s latest operating system. Despite the impressive stats, Microsoft is pushing ahead towards Windows 8. The company unveiled its “reimagined” Windows 8 last month. The new interface features a Start Screen with identical styling to the company’s Windows Phone software. Microsoft is planning to allow application developers to create Metro style apps that interact with the Start Screen and operating system. Microsoft’s unique approach will also provide rich and easy integration across applications for developers. Microsoft is expected to make Windows 8 available on ARM and Intel based tablets in mid-2012.

Top 5 operating systems from Oct 2009 to Oct 2011 - StatCounter

  • Parker Ciambrone

    I think this shows this is definitely the year of linux :)

    • Test1ngi23

      If you include smartphone OSes, then you are almost right because the year of Linux actually started last year. ;-P

    • Anonymous

      Below is a chart the shows the worldwide OS usage and includes mobile.

      Android started out based on the Linux kernel but it is not Linux but for arguments sake, if ou include Linux plus all the Android variants combined it amounted to a little more than % of the worldwide OS usage in September. It is dwarfed by Windows and even trails iOS onsiderably. Either Android users are not much into their phones their phones or its reported sales numbers are a bit suspect.

    • JustPassingThru

      Yep, it definitely is.! :-) 

  • Dharmesh

    About time!!! XP should be killed off, in particular at my uni

    • Anonymous

      I like to say otherwise. XP is the record holder as the most used OS in the world with just about 70% global market share in 2009. XP is going to be a OS that will not go down without a fight.

  • Frylockns86

    See ya later #WindowsXP. You won’t be missed in the least bit.

    • Anonymous

      I hear you. People complain about Windows and yet they use a 10 year old version of it. Personally, I enrage a bit whenever I see WinXP nowadays.

    • Anonymous

      Going back to a Windows XP machine is like going back in time for me.  I get confused why I don’t see jump lists for any of the apps.  Apps wont snap to the sides of the screen.  Even simple stuff like the lack of shift + right-click and Open Command Prompt Here.  Windows 7 honestly is a more productive OS when you get use to it.

    • Frylockns86

      A lot of tech pundits are guilty of this. I read quite a few articles that still do browser benchmarking on it, and still hold the OS as the “Industry Standard” when it comes to judging Microsoft. A few bloggers on ZDnet are especially guilty of this.

    • Grant Hubert

      Spot on. I’ts unfortunate that people compare windows XP to Mac OSX and then refer to WIndows as such an outdated OS. It’s like comparing apples and oranges.

    • Abiddine

      No man. Comparing XP and OSX is like comparing elephants and ants.

    • Anonymous

      Why? I use XP and 7 and enjoy using both.

    • Ramon

      He’s just a punk troll.

    • Ramon

      See YOU later, failure.

  • Test1ngi23

    Why doesn’t MS start charging $100 per year per PC for extended support past 2014? That way the organization’s PCs will be still get support and MS can still benefit from them. That will really pressure those slow organizations to upgrade!

    • Anonymous

      Because no support (read: security updates) is probably a more compelling reason to upgrade than having to pay for support.

      Besides, according to Microsoft, more than 90% of businesses are already committed to moving to Windows 7.  It’s not a matter of if, but when.

    • Anonymous

      In this economy those upgrades won’t happen. Businesses are holding on TIGHT to their cash for only super-necessary expenditures.

    • Jeff Kibuule

      Well, they better find the cash because it’s quite silly to support an OS for 13 years, even after 3 new versions will have come out (Windows Vista, Windows 7, and Windows 8).

    • Anonymous

      That’s actually not a bad idea from a business standpoint.

    • Guest

      They have already extended support at least once. The cost of supporting multiple code bases far exceeds the amount of money they would get from the 3 companies on the planet dumb enough to pay $100/PC for extended support.

    • Anonymous

      You must love to see more money raped from businesses and consumers, don’t you? Some people can’t afford to upgrade. Ever consider that?

  • Anonymous

    According to Steven Sinofsky at BUID (I guess usign Microsoft’s own metrics) 7 overtook XP the day before the 1st keynote

    • Hi

      I think he was saying in the USA only.

    • Frylockns86

      Windows 7 has been ahead of XP for some months now in the US.

  • Anonymous

    Does this include the 90% of people in China who pirate Windows? or the tens of millions who do it everywhere else?

    • 16

      This is a usage chart, not a sales chart. 

  • jjkk

    I for one love xp. Don’t get me wrong, I’m posting from Win8. Its just that give respect where its due.

    • Anonymous

      In 2015 I plan on throwing a party to celebrate 20 years of Windows 95.  Not even kidding, that OS was a breakthrough in computer history.  Lets face it, Windows 8 is the first OS to depart from the standard set by 95.

    • Ramon

      Invite me – I’ll bring my Win95 Plus! disc.

    • Anonymous

      xp was good, but I would never want to go back. W7 has never crashed and I have not received a single virus warning. The security is definitely better and I think ms is more involved in certifying drivers. Hence, no crashing.

    • Jeff Kibuule

      I don’t even think XP was all that wonderful, but people have so internalized their hate for Vista that they ran back to the thing they knew.

      However, Windows 7 is so well done, I am happy to see XP go away. As for the 7% or so still on Vista, wtf is going on there?!?!?

    • Master

      It’s cuz a copy of windows to upgrade to is not cheap. If you pay $500 or less for your computer shelling out $130 to fix what the OS to what it should have been like originally Seemsmpretty crazy.

    • Anonymous

      Well once you pay hundreds of dollars for a Vista machine and then have to pay another 100-$300 dollars for an upgrade to Windows 7, people who don’t have the money opt to stay on Vista. And personally, I have had not problem with using Vista. Drivers and devices work fine.

  • Lewis McCrary

    XP was great for its time.  That time has passed.  On another note, man, look at Linux go! ;)

    • Anonymous

      Well it is making its way up slowly.

  • Anonymous

    Awesome! I ditched XP back in 2007 for the amazing Vista…

    • Ramon

      Good one. Got any more?

  • Emi Cyberschreiber

    Today i dreamed i when tried to install Hyperdesk themes on Windows Dev Preview (i still havent tested if it works), it messed up everything and made my computer look like XP!!
    and then i also dreamed windows 7 was falling marketshare and people were getting back to use Windows XP more, and other OS since windows marketshare was like in 70%

    oh god! both were like nightmares! lol

    but anyway, i don’t hate XP but its old and windows 7 is so much better. and Windows 8 will be even better! so its good windows 7 is passing XP finally

  • Anonymous

    Maybe now, Apple can finally stop using screenshots of XP (or Vista) to represent Windows on their website.
    Of course, theoretically, they should have done this whenever the note was added to that page that says “…MacBook Air and MacBook Pro support only Windows 7.”

  • Tim [techfruit]

    I thought XP was a great OS back a decade ago – it was far more stable than Windows 95/98 and took a decent evolutionary step towards what we have today. Windows Vista was a buggy piece of rubbish when it launched, and even though by the time Windows 7 was released it was a fine OS, no-one was in the mood for second chances. Windows 7 has been great from day one for me – very stable and secure.

    Windows 8 looks like the most exciting OS since Windows 95 though. A proper jump forward.

    One thing about these stats though is that they don;t include non-web-connected PCs. Yes most of world is connected these days, but I imagine many of those that aren’t are running Windows XP or even some brand of Linux.

  • Don Williams

    Now that Steve is gone from the picture, I wonder what would happen if Dell, Acer, Asus, Toshiba got there wish and Apple licensed OS X to all OEM comers? How long would it take before it surpassed Windows 7 and the upcoming Windows 8? The only reason Windows is dominant is because all OEMs have little choice in OS’s, otherwise It would be a different story.

    • Anonymous

      Well it is Apple themselves that prevent their OS from being sold through OEM’s. Read the license agreement of OS X.

    • Major Plonquer

      If OSX had to compete head to head with Windows 7 it would be the biggest failure in history.  It’s basically a toy (doesn’t even have a Registry FFS) that is technically far behind where Windows XP was.  There’s also very, very little software for OSX – other than Microsoft’s.

      The ONLY reason Apple sells is because of  their hardware/design  Their software is quite pathetic.

    • Anonymous

      Wow. All your arguments are so wrong, where do I even begin? Having no registry is a PRO. The fact that Applications are self-contained packages is brilliant, and makes install/uninstall very easily and spotless.

      No apps? Ever heard of Mac Apps store? It has PLENTY of apps, in one centralized place. Also, on your OS X argument, please emphasize. OS X is feature-full and you’re only speaking from your (flawed) opinion.

      You know, this might be a Windows blog but shit, credit where it’s due.

    • Ramon

      All deserved credit is there.

    • Ramon

      But then, you are stupid.

  • Gavin Courtney

    Net Applications still places XP at 50.5% and Windows 7 at 32.4%:

    You’d expect them to be roughly the same, but they’re not even close.

    In reality they’re both wrong since they both base their data on website visits.  I work at a major military systems contractor and for security reasons most of the PCs are on a secure network that doesn’t have internet access.  All of them run XP but none will be counted since none of them go on the internet. 

    There’s also the fact that most people in work should be working rather than browsing the web, so the many XP machines still used by corporations will result in fewer web page hits.

    I suspect that if the corporate market was fully taken into account XP would still have a large lead.

  • Guest

    don’t get fool by statistics. statcounter does only webanalitics, and the results are limited

    • Ramon

      and sometimes Y

  • Scott Barnes

    I am not holding my breathe for enterprises to rush out and roll out Windows licenses..especially govt departments….. slow and painfully steady is what I see in my local fishbowl of existence :)

  • Mescamoses

    Viva steve jobs

    • Ramon

      He is EOL.