About 86 percent of surveyed Windows 7 users said they were satisfied with the operating system, according to a recent report by analyst company Forrester Research, but only 10 percent of Windows XP and Windows Vista users said they planned to upgrade to Windows 7 within the next six months.
That being said, the survey of 4,500 customers also suggested that, unlike with previous operating system versions, Windows 7 adopters were more likely to upgrade without necessarily purchasing a new computer.
"Historically, most consumers have not upgraded their PCs with new OSes-though Mac users and some technophile consumers have been an exception on this count. Instead, the majority of consumers have acquired new OSes when they purchase their new PC," JP Gownder, an analyst with Forrester, wrote in a March 29 blog post. "With Windows 7, however, upgrade behavior was much stronger."
The reason for this, according to Gownder, was the ability of Windows 7 to work with older PCs. "The rise of netbooks, the physical assets of multi-PC households and an attachment by many consumers to their Windows XP machines all contributed to the need for a sleeker, thinner Windows OS, which Windows 7 delivered," he said.
Around 45 percent of Forrester respondents said they had purchased Windows 7 pre-installed on a new PC, while 43 percent upgraded to Windows 7 from an older operating system and 12 percent of respondents fell under "Other."
Total sales of Windows 7 now stand at 90 million copies since October 2009, according to Microsoft, and company executives say those numbers are due to high consumer demand. Adoption by businesses has lagged, however, presumably as IT departments wrestle with the budgetary aftereffects of a global recession.
"There will be an enterprise refresh cycle," Microsoft Chief Financial Officer Peter Klein said during a Morgan Stanley Investor conference on March 2. "It's not precisely certain when that will happen or how fast it will happen, but we expect it to happen this calendar year and go into next calendar year, and that will be a really good catalyst for growth in the PC business."
A study by analytics company Net Applications found that Windows 7 averaged a 7.57 percent share of the U.S. operating system market in January, compared with 66.15 percent for XP, 17.47 percent for Vista, 2.37 percent for Mac OS X, 1.80 percent for Mac OS X 10.6 and 1.02 percent for Linux. That company draws data from 40,000 Websites, giving it access to adoption numbers from PCs, mobile devices and consoles.