Windows XP Still Reigns Supreme in Desktop OS Market Share

Windows XP Still Reigns Supreme in Desktop OS Market Share

People have a tendency to resist change, that's just the way it is. Underscoring this point is the fact that Windows XP is still the most dominant operating system on the desktop despite being released more than a decade ago. Maybe that wouldn't be the case if Microsoft jumped straight to Windows 7 instead of Vista, or perhaps human nature would have proved too strong a force either way. Regardless, XP is sitting pretty on nearly half of all PCs.

According to the latest figures from Net Applications, Windows XP's finished off April with a 46.08 percent share of the desktop OS market, down from 55.84 percent one year prior and around 64 percent two years ago, but still well ahead of Windows 7 (38.67 percent), Windows Vista (7.32 percent), and various versions of Mac OS X, with the releases clinging to a 2.71 percent share of the market.


For the most part, Windows 7 has been trending upwards and has increased its market share by 12 percentage points in the last year and about 25 percentage points from two years ago. However, it's highly likely Windows XP will still hold the lead by the time Windows 8 ships later this year, and if users don't take kindly to the Metro UI, XP could remain in contention as the most popular OS on the planet for a long while to come.

Are you still using Windows XP, or have you since upgraded to something newer?
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I think business apps are a large part of the reason that XP is still holding on. A large portion of business apps just don't play nice with Windows 7, and their developers don't seem to be in any hurry to rewrite them.

Which leads to, if it ain't broke don't fix it.

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It's not even about the apps themselves, it has a lot to do with cost. I used to work at plant in a small town in Indiana. We had about 200 or so engineers and other computer-using employees. We also had about 1500 manufacturers who from time to time needed to use a PC to enter some data. Switching from XP to anything else for all of their PC's would've cost a lot of money just for the software, and would've made a huge dent in productivity due to taking up IT's time and people figuring out how to use the new OS. Even though I consider myself fairly tech savvy, it still took me a couple of days to get used to Windows 7. Imagine what it's like for some 50 year old HR lady who barely knows how to check her email and use Word.

Businesses being a big chunk of their customers, they're always gonna be slow to adopt a new OS.  A lot of what we did was through modules based on internal servers that we ran through internet explorer.  Windows Vista or 7 didn't give any advantage to that, so there's no point in upgrading.

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I would agree with you CDeeter that business apps are certainly responsible for a large portion of this. As far as the consumer market is concerned though there are still a lot of people who have computer built for Windows XP that work just fine for what they do so they have no need to upgrade. As their computers fail they will be purchasing new ones that come with Win 7/Win 8 (Or maybe Ubuntu 12.04) and that market share will increase.

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Converting an entire enterprise from one OS to another is a massive undertaking. XP is working well so far and until there is a compelling reason to switch (loss of backwards compatibility in Apps) businesses will hold onto XP.

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XP may even gain a few points when 8 comes out. even now, it is very much a headache to change people from windows xp to windows 7. For as many faults as xp had, it got alot of things right. I still find the networking aspects of xp (and server 2k3) far superior to 7. Personally, i would be fine if they had continued to update xp so that it would support newer hardware more robustly....(too bad XP x64 fell flat on it's face, but what can you expect when microsoft gives OEM's two new operating systems and tells them one is dying (XP x64) and one (Vista) is the next best thing ).....which is honestly the only good reason i have for switching to 7 myself, several of my computers still run some form of xp because it's still the most widely supported and compatible version of windows. I'm no big fan of Windows 8, so it will be interesting to see what happens.

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The key problem with this article is "...numbers from Net Applications"; the numbers may be accurate for the inter-Windows market share, but has a ridiculous sample error in that Net Applications draws numbers from specifically Microsoft-centric user bases--thus ignoring the real world distributions.

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bryanjagee hit the nail on the head (Welcome to the forums, btw). Whenever you have statistics gathered from specific partners that cater to only a subset of users running specific versions of operating systems, they're going to be incredibly skewed.

The MacOS statistics are so wrong as to be funny. 2.71%? Every other source says the floor is 6%, and their share could be as high as 14%

Every other source I've seen show Win7 neck-in-neck with WinXP, if not higher even. So I think Net Applications is making a joke out of themselves with these numbers.

Here's what others say: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Usage_share_of_operating_systems#Web_clients

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More reliable data from Wikipedia and its sister sites shows that XP (NT 5.1 + NT 5.2) only has 28% while Vista (NT 6.0) is 8.5% and and Windows 7 is 38%.

Nice try, though.

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hexmode:

More reliable data from Wikipedia and its sister sites shows that XP (NT 5.1 + NT 5.2) only has 28% while Vista (NT 6.0) is 8.5% and and Windows 7 is 38%.

Nice try, though.

But since Wikipedia's numbers are based on their users they are just as skewed. I know plenty of people who have no idea what Wikipedia is that use the internet every day. Wikipedia numbers represent Internet savvy folks not everyone is internet savvy. 

Data can always be skewed to suit your needs.

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Haters gonna hate. while i have my own doubts about the accuracy, i would much sooner trust hot hardware than wikipedia.

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@sweenjm:  You can trust that HotHardware is reporting the numbers Net Applications reported, but that doesn't make Net Applications numbers any more valid.

Not trusting traffic analysis from Wikipedia is just plain silly. If you'll look at the page Hexmode posted, it's not a user-editable page, it's statistics from their back-end servers. And the page I posted is a collection of stats that's easily verifiable by going to each source.

As for "Haters gonna hate", I'm the last person in the world anyone here would expect to defend Windows 7 market share (I'm the resident Linux nut and would be tickled if there was little/no adoption) - but when something's true it's true.  Most PC's that shipped with WinXP have reached the end of their life, and nearly every new machine sold in the last two+ years came with Windows 7.

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guess you sure showed me. just too smart for me. (translation: get a life dude)

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Guess you sure showed me. (translation: get a life dude)

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I recently switched over to XP Pro x64 after years of using XP Pro x86. XP Pro x64 is definitely much faster than the x86 version. I am currently using XP x64 after performing some customization of my own o it. Changes include a modern visual style, integrated AHCI drivers, various other drivers (audio, vga, network etc) IE8, MP11, post SP2 updates, modified logonui, msgina, shell32 etc.

I tried 7 ultimate but wasn't sufficiently impressed to change to 7, besides the VS is very bland - I like colour. 7 also doesnt include substantial changes to convince me to change to 7.

Modern visual styles for x86 and x64 are available:

http://www.mediafire.com/file/t6rr1rqsvts8641/Luna_x64.rar

http://www.mediafire.com/file/09n8vo77986ncz7/Luna.zip

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