Windows 10 Adoption: One Year Later

Microsoft claims its year-old operating system is running on more than 350 million devices. Here's a look at what that means.

Windows 10

One year after being released to the public, Windows 10 is now running on just over a fifth (21.13 percent) of the world's PCs, according to the latest figures from web analytics firm Net Applications.

According to Microsoft, the operating system is running on more than 350 million devices, a broad category that also includes tablets and smartphones. "This is the fastest adoption rate of any prior Windows release," said Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella during a recent investor conference call.

In practical terms, Windows 10 still has some catching up to do if Microsoft hopes to repeat some of its past successes.

Net Applications estimates that Windows 7, which remains popular among enterprises, still clings to nearly half (47 percent) of the desktop operating system market. A recent study from cloud-based IT support specialist Spiceworks revealed that Windows 7 satisfaction rates remain high at 69 percent versus Windows 10, which has charmed just over half of the software's users.

Even Windows XP, which was released nearly 14 years ago, can be found on 10.34 percent of the world's PCs. (Microsoft pulled support for the system software two years ago.) It even edges out Windows 8 and 8.1, which are collectively running on just under 10 percent of PCs.

Among enterprise customers, Microsoft has its work cut out if it hopes to get businesses to abandon Windows 7.

Of the 866 IT professionals polled by Spiceworks for its report, a large number (42 percent) said they had no plans to deploy Windows 10. A meager 2 percent said they planned to migrate to the operating system within six months. Only 4 percent said they planned on taking advantage of the free upgrade offer (from Windows 7, 8 and 8.1) before the just-expired July 29 deadline.

Even the developer-friendly Windows 10 Anniversary Update doesn't appear to be much of a motivator.

Among the 300 IT professionals recently polled by Adaptiva, an IT systems management company, the majority (76 percent) said that the Aug. 2 update isn't persuading them to upgrade to Windows 10. In addition to the Bash Unix shell, the update includes built-in threat detection and data protection capabilities, among other business-centric features.

Nonetheless, there are signs that adoption will ramp up, helping make 2017 a banner year for Windows 10. According to Adaptiva's survey, 64 percent of IT professionals plan to make the switch over the next 12 months. Currently, app compatibility (68 percent) and time constraints (62 percent) rank among the top reasons holding up Windows 10 adoption at most enterprises.

Windows 10 is leading on laptops, with 70 percent of organizations planning to install the operating system on more than half their laptops over the next 12 months, stated Spiceworks' report. Desktops are lagging slightly at 63 percent. And while security (60 percent) ranks as one of the top reasons why organizations are adopting the operating system, it's the Start Menu's return (63 percent) that has stirred excitement among business users.

Pedro Hernandez

Pedro Hernandez

Pedro Hernandez is a contributor to eWEEK and the IT Business Edge Network, the network for technology professionals. Previously, he served as a managing editor for the network of...