Microsoft’s Windows 7 Problem Isn’t Going Away

Posted on January 23, 2017 by Paul Thurrott in Windows, Windows 10 with 91 Comments

Microsoft's Windows 7 Problem Isn't Going Away

Windows 7 usage share didn’t change much over the past year. That is a huge problem for Windows 10, and for Microsoft.

After the many issues it had getting the Windows XP installed based moved forward to more modern and secure Windows versions, Microsoft is basically facing the same problem again. That is, Microsoft doesn’t want Windows 7 to be the next Windows XP. But Windows 7 is absolutely the next Windows XP.

Oops.

To see what I mean, simply examine the NetMarketShare usage share data that Microsoft also uses. Over the past three Januaries, Windows 7’s usage share has hovered around the 50 percent mark:

  • January 2015: 55.92 percent
  • January 2016: 52.47 percent
  • January 2017: 48.34 percent

Windows 10 was released in August 2015, basically. So looking at the past two Januaries, we see the following for Microsoft’s latest platform:

  • January 2016: 11.85 percent
  • January 2017: 24.36 percent

So Windows 7 usage has barely fallen but Windows 10 usage has of course catapulted upward, though if you look a bit closer you’ll see that this progress has slowed dramatically in recent months.

It’s obvious that much of that Windows 7 usage is coming from slow-moving corporations, but I will argue here that tons of that usage—tens if not hundreds of millions of users—are consumers too. We can’t just wipe our hands, say businesses are the problem, and then walk away: There were over one billion Windows 7 users out in the world when Windows 10 first shipped. Many are still Windows 7 users, despite Microsoft’s sometimes-deceptive attempts at getting them on the Windows 10 train.

Windows 10’s ascent has to have come from somewhere. After all, it’s not like the PC market is growing, so that usage is coming from the install base. And it’s easy to see what happened: Both Windows XP and Windows 8.x have seen their usage halved between January 2015 and this month. Windows 8.x usage dropped from 13.83 percent to just 6.9 percent, while Windows XP fell from 18.93 percent to 9.07 percent during this time frame.

Microsoft knows all this, of course. And while its bizarre attempts at discrediting Windows 7 have rightfully been derided by its customers, the underlying theme is familiar. Yes, Microsoft promised to support Windows 7 through January 2020. But it would really like you to upgrade to Windows 10. Like, now.

This mindset got Microsoft into trouble in 2016 when it stooped to deceiving consumers in order to get them to upgrade to Windows 10. Since then, it has taken various steps to make Windows 7 updating miserable for consumers as well, despite claiming otherwise.

On the face of things, this shouldn’t be necessary: After all, if Windows 10 is such a great upgrade over its predecessors—and, yes, I do think it is—then the switch will happen organically.

But I see where Microsoft is coming from. And its contention that we, collectively, are all safer when the majority of the user base is on a modern, more easily protected platform is of course correct. Wanting to avoid last minute (and post-end-of-life) manic upgrades from Windows 7 to Windows 10 down the road is likewise understandable. (Some businesses are still using XP years after supported ended. That is both stupid and dangerous.)

Just guessing, but those Windows 7 PCs out in the world are never going to be upgraded at this point, so making the Windows 10 upgrade free again might not help. (That said, Microsoft should still make the Windows 10 upgrade free for Windows 7 and 8.x users. It certainly wouldn’t hurt.)

And businesses … geesh. They really do move slowly. They always do.

And that’s really the story of Windows in a nutshell. Whether you’re talking about PC makers or the businesses that are about 65 percent of the user base, its greatest strengths—diversity, size—are also its greatest weakness.

 

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Comments (102)

102 responses to “Microsoft’s Windows 7 Problem Isn’t Going Away”

  1. 127

    Microsoft needs to give away Windows 10, for free. Period.

  2. 5456

    Microsoft has surely done many things right with Windows 10. But on the other hand has done so much wrong with it. Its entirely the fault of Microsoft with the choices that they made.

  3. 5498

    Don't blame those who chose to stay on Win7.  I've been on Win10 since day one and lately have been contemplating moving back to Win7 because of all the uncertainty with Win10, like ads.  I want my os to be as lean and clean as possible.  I can add whatever extras I need, don't need a manufacture to push whatever they think I need on me.  The crazy thing is this will only get worst overtime, can you imagine once third party folks get their hands on this api?

    • 1377

      In reply to toukale:

      Revert to 8.1. It's about as safe as Windows 10, and has lots of behind the scenes improvements over Windows 7. Add Classic Shell, and you can make 8.1 work pretty much exactly like 7.

    • 4841

      In reply to toukale:

      For what's worth, you can turn off ads with a few system settings, like 'Settings > System > Notifications and Actions > Get tips, tricks and suggestions as you use Windows' and 'Settings > Personalization > Start > Occasionally show suggestions in Start'.

      • 5456

        In reply to Demileto:

        The problem is: you as a customer shouldnt have to do it. And what about those who bought Windows 10 either as a standalone software or installed on a PC. They didnt got it for free but have to live with the ads also.

        • 4841

          In reply to SherlockHolmes:

          I don't know about English speaking countries, but I've been using Windows 10 since before its official release and never got a single suggestion ad, despite only turning off the 'tips, tricks and suggestions as you use Windows' setting last week - I've had the Start Menu one off from the beginning. As such, they seem to be incredibly rare and, thus, not an annoyance to my user experience, contrary to, say, web ads, which are often abused in sites, slowing page loading as hell, and god forbid if you use an adblocker, since it's becoming rather common for you to be pestered with anti-block popups begging you to whitelist their sites.

          But, of course, that's just me! :)

  4. 129

    I do think it's worth noting that Windows 7 is declining, even if slowly.

  5. 5530

    As it was with Windows XP, people will only start moving off it when Microsoft cuts off support for it. People even stayed on Windows XP past Microsoft's support expiration and until browsers like Firefox and Chrome started dropping support for XP - and then they started upgrading.

    The same thing happened with OSX Snow Leopard (10.6). It wouldn't die, until of course, Apple first pulled the plug on it, and then the apps. And only then, the holdouts started upgrading.

  6. 9201

    oh I dunno, maybe because a significant proportion of users, both business and consumers, prefer the rock solid Windows 7. Best OS to date. Windows 10 is simply not a compelling "upgrade"

  7. 1377

    It could be an opportunity for MSFT: to notice that people really don't like change, so failing to give most people using Windows options for using Windows 10 with as little UI change as possible may be the biggest mistake MSFT has ever made. Refusing to acknowledge that possibility and consider correcting it may be MSFT's second biggest mistake.

    Next, and picky, January 2017 hasn't ended yet. Are the January 2015 and 2016 figures also from about 23 Jan? Maybe there's not much change between 23 Jand and 31 Jan in those previous years and not much expected this Jan, but it'd still have been better to use end of December 2014, 2015 and 2016 figures.

    Amusing that XP is now more popular/has higher usage than Windows 8.x. Gotta wonder whether Windows 7 usage will still be around 10% in 2023.

    If MSFT really were so concerned for users and their computing security, wouldn't it be time to reengineer Windows so that it could function with different parts on different partitions? Have Program Files, ProgramData, Users, and Windows on different partitions with Program Files and Windows mounted read-only, ProgramData and Users mounted so that Windows wouldn't treat any file on them as executable? A few other tweaks would be needed, dynamic system information and the system's %TEMP% would need to move from Windows to ProgramData. The practice of shoving as much as possible onto the C: drive was 1970s best practice but has been outdated for a few decades now.

    Finally, enterprises need to ensure everything works before rolling out client machine OS upgrades. Too many times changes in Windows versions have caused unexpected incompatibilities, even in MSFT's own application software. For a large organization, it can take 18 months to test everything, and MSFT sure ain't helping with Windows 10 coming in too many flavors: 1507, 1511, 1607 and soon 1703. Too much collective IT experience to take it on faith that there are no application software differences between 1507 and 1607. It's time already for MSFT to give up on the foolish goal of making Home, Pro and Enterprise just SKUs of the same OS and split them into separate consumer and enterprise OSes with consumer having several upgrades per year and enterprise having upgrades (as distinct from updates) no more frequently than once every 3 years.

  8. 442

    It will either take the 2020 deadline to create mass movement, or the long term hardware attrition that occurs normally in the market to move folks.  Time is both an asset and a liability in this case.

  9. 5234

    "Microsoft should still make the Windows 10 upgrade free for Windows 7 and 8.x users."

    You can still activate Windows 7 and 8.1 product keys on a Windows 10 install.

    The only thing shut down so far is the Get Windows 10 app from Windows Update.

    If you still want to upgrade, you can download a copy of Windows 10 and install it like an in-place upgrade (download the ISO and start Windows Setup from within your copy of Windows instead of booting from it).  You can also get the Upgrade Advisor program for those with disabilities.

    https://www.microsoft.com/en-ca/accessibility/windows10upgrade

    • 5027

      In reply to Waethorn:

      It also work on computers that have the Windows 7 key "built into BIOS" so far, have upgraded a few as recent as last week and worked without any problems and activated just fine.

      So yes, Windows 10 is still a free upgrade of sorts. 

  10. 9851

    The business I work for has a huge install base of Windows 7 and is only going to Win 10 on new hardware. Since hardware is on a 4 year minimum refresh cycle it's going to be very slow going.

  11. 5462

    IMHO those that want Win10 are running it. At this point Win10 adoption and Windows 7 declining will be a matter of old machines being replaced. I still see a lot of Vista era and older Windows 7 machines being used by folks whose computing involves things like Fbook, Pinterest, and the like. Folks like that don't need serious computing power and will only replace machines when they break or they get tired of dealing with the viruses so many of them have.

  12. 412

    I've upgraded most of our Office to Windows 10 with just a few holdouts (management mainly.) On a whole, no major issues and everything we run here seems to work. 

  13. 5510

    I think there is one reason and one reason alone why Microsoft wants people to upgrade now and by using the fearful "Security" card to do it. It's because Microsoft's overall plan for all their software and services squarely depends on it. Everything from Xbox to Continuum to Edge to Windows Store to advertising...etc... The future of Microsoft depends on Windows 10.

    This is clearly a Microsoft scare tactic.

    Well, they really don't have a choice. They have to pray and hope that the PC market will increase in sales, so users will have no choice but to get Windows 10, unless they prefer to compute using MacOS, ChromeOS, Android, or iOS.

    I have said this over and over again...No one cares about Operating Systems.

    • 8578

      In reply to Bats:

      If this is a problem, it's an entirely unnecessary self-inflicted one. Xbox didn't need Windows 10, Continuum is exclusively a WP10 feature and the installed base is tiny, Edge is going nowhere. A Windows store could have been implemented without UWP features.

      • 1377

        In reply to skane2600:

        Re Windows Store: for PCs it's unnecessary unless & until MSFT removes the ability to install and/or run software not installed through the store. Even Apple allows Mac users to install software from 3rd party sources (even compile and install from source code). For some software, in my case GNU R and CRAN, there's no chance users would trust MSFT more than 3rd party repositories to deliver updates. Besides, why would ISVs want to pay MSFT anything to serve as an intermediary for software distribution?

        If the app store model just doesn't fit PCs due to history and economics, MSFT will never derive significant revenue from the Windows Store.

  14. 9518

    Just a couple of random thoughts after reading the comments... as always FWIW

    Migrating to 10 definitely has costs, but IMHO training users is not a big one. 10 is simply easier to use for the average [not so-called power] user. Users with really minimal skills & little if any interest in Windows itself in my experience prefer 10 to 7 because of that.

    Regarding safety... In the real world there's a lot of concern about how carelessness on the part of some is considered negligence towards many. You see it in regs related to health & health insurance -- you see it in regs concerning vehicle safety & mandatory insurance. You see it regarding the lack of security in IoT, or abandoned IP addresses &/or servers for non-maintained Android apps. And you're starting to see it more and more when companies or gov agencies have blatantly insecure networks &/or servers that come to our attention when they're breached [OPM anyone?].

    Not taking sides in the debate, and agreeing that MS in Germany could have handled it better, security will only become more of an issue, & I'm a bit surprised Microsoft hasn't tried harder to make it a perhaps more social effort aimed at the sort of shaming you get on social media. Windows 10 is by the numbers more secure, & whether you agree with the premise or not, MS could push the idea that by not migrating to 10, you're hurting everyone else. The more systems infected the more money cybercriminals make -- the more they make the more they have to invest in expanding -- the more money there is to be had, the more people turn to cybercrime. [If not for IoT you could add botnets.] [*To me* the obvious counter is people fall for phishing, download apps & porn from places they should not, etc.]

  15. 5486

    The only single reason corporates will move to Win10 (eventually) is Win7 going end of support. For the enterprise, Win10 offers pretty much zero advantage, and as this is the case, they're in no rush to move. Win7 is a great OS. It's stable, it's now only getting security patches - ie, no sudden big changes (unlike 10), which is just what enterprises like. Win7 will be more than Microsoft's next XP problem - it will be their nemesis.

  16. 4887

    I don't agree with "we are all safer" statement. When there's a critical update for Win7 it almost always effects all versions of Windows.

  17. 5577

    Honestly this article gives me fits of joy,  given the way that Microsoft tried to trick its users.

  18. 2481

    I work at community college and we are only deploying windows 10 on new machines only.  Next Fall we will begin deploying Windows 10 to our student labs. Management inst even talking about upgrading Staff computers at the moment.  

    • 5027

      In reply to harmjr: - We have already upgraded all Windows computers end of last year to Windows 10 at our company. Only complaint so far is the removal of some roaming profile functionality but otherwise things work better then ever :)  
      Most likely more adoption of Windows 10 are coming fairly soon (2 - 3 years) as companies start to shift over. Sure, the large enterprises will always take their time, but eventually they will most likely also end up on Windows 10 withing 5 - 7 years. 
      Even though Windows 7 sticks around a bit longer then Microsoft might like, they are already better of then what they where a few years ago.  Before they had to support Windows XP, Windows Vista, Windows 7, Windows 8, and Windows 8.1.  If they end up only having to actively support Windows 7 and Windows 10 it is a big improvement. (Sure they also support Windows XP still for some enterprises, but those companies have to pay enormous sums of money to get that support, so I don't think Microsoft cries to much about that :) ) 
  19. 1080

    Sorry to be a nit picking Nelly here but what's wrong with not updating. I can't speak for the 50% but I am gonna go out on a limb and assume they don't care what the OS on the PC is. I assume that their PC is more like a tool or an appliance to them and that tool / appliance works just fine as is.

    Windows 7 is supported for another 3 years so Microsoft can spend those years improving Windows 10 making it more stable and reliable.

    • 442

      In reply to Finley:

      In my administration of a few hundred computers, about 1/2 are still Windows 7.  This is simply because of a 3rd party software problem.  I can say the 1/2 that are Windows 10 are solid, and far easier to manage for me than the 1/2 that are not.  Seems the "more stable and reliable" excuse doesn't fly any more.

      • 6453

        In reply to Narg: Seems the "more stable and reliable" excuse doesn't fly any more.

        Once I can go several Patch Tuesdays without multiple tech support calls about broken Windows 10 network file sharing, I will concur.

      • 1080

        In reply to Narg:

        Good point, I've run into the software issue in the past when updating from XP to 7.

        To clarify my point wasn't that people are not updating because Windows 10 is not stable or reliable enough but they are staying with windows 7 because it works. If nothing is to be gained for the specific work flow of that windows 7 PC there is no reason to update it. Why risk the disruption. 

  20. 10014

    I would expect that the rate of conversion to Windows 10 will start to become exponential as Windows 7 ages and Windows 10 becomes stable and corporations are able to certify that there applications will run on Windows 10 and support for Windows 7 is pulled.

    On one of my customers, nations 3rd largest ____, still runs Windows 7.  Not because there is anything wrong with Windows 10, but because converting to Windows 10 is not a priority given the budget limitations.  I am guessing that they will make the move in 2018 or 19.  It takes time and resources.  Their mainframe and midrange computers suffer the same lag in operating system upgrades so it is not just Windows, it is the corporate culture.  "If it ain't broke, don't fix it."

    • 1377

      In reply to Biff_Henderson:

      Not so much 'if it ain't broke' than if anything breaks after upgrading, it counts against me on my performance review and it DOES INCUR UNEXPECTED COSTS. The time lag exists to minimize the odds of people losing their jobs due either to premature or overly dilatory upgrades.

  21. 6014

    Companies are going to be slow to switch because Windows 10 is such a big change compared to Windows 7.  The corporation I work for has all their VMs for regular data workers in Windows 7 even though many of the Surfaces and modern engineering workstations run Windows 8, 8.1, or 10.  The training alone for many of our people would be a significant cost and ongoing support issue.  They just me a used engineering workstation a few weeks ago, and the IT guy who built it put Windows 7 on it.

    This is really a not-broke-don't-fix-it proposition for many companies, because despite the fact that there have been plenty of hacks to illustrate the cost of complacency IT directors and the management they work with are going to have a hard time swallowing the costs of "upgrade for security" when the ROI is so nebulous.  It's like asking them to pay for more insurance that only gives a benefit if something bad happens... important, but nobody likes insurance.

    That said, I was pretty ticked off when my new computer had 7 on it.  I want my Windows 10 like at home.

  22. 5767

    Bottom line is for 100s of millions of people desktop computing is just 'fine' with Windows 7. They don't care about UWP apps, virtual desktops or any of the other questionable-value new features of Windows 10. Oh and Windows 7 allows you to manually control updates.

  23. 6190

    "Since then, it has taken various steps to make Windows 7 updating miserable for consumers as well, despite claiming otherwise."

    This sound's like it will only reinforce the perception of windows being hard to manage.  When they are finally forced to replace their hardware, many of these users may decide not to inflict windows on themselves.  "It just works" is a compelling argument, and they mostly see this with their phones and tablets, so they know it's possible.

  24. 8850

    The issue is of course big companies and corporates do move at a glacial pace when it comes to OS upgrades even though updating from 7 to 10 is a no brainer and huge boost in usability and security. Microsoft needs come to the party and offer a seamless and cost effective way for companies to upgrade their systems to windows 10 and if that involves offering a free upgrade again so be it.

  25. 591

    So maybe Microsoft should look at plan C - let's call it the "if you can't beat 'em, join 'em" plan.

    From Windows 95 up to (and excluding) Windows 8 in-place upgrades were not really needed.  80% of what was offered in Windows 98 was available for Windows 95 users by way of free download.  MSN, Internet Explorer, Media Player, frameworks and Direct X could all be upgraded for free.  Add a 3rd party skin with the newest edition's theme and you could get 95% of the upgrade experience without doing the upgrade.

    So how hard is it to put the new start menu option, UWP runtime and store in a free update to Windows 7?  UWPs now run in a window so the Win 8 environment is not needed.  The new start menu can remain turned off but exist for app compatibly -- who knows, some users may even turn it on?

    If Microsoft can not get Win 10 to 1 Billion users, I think they can get the existing users onto the platform.  With a new service pack for Win 7.

     

    • 1377

      In reply to dhallman:

      Are there any Windows 7 users who'd want the Windows 10 Start menu without functioning live tiles?

      My perspective on the current situation: there are a half dozen or more Windows 7 (and prior) Start menu replacements for Windows 8.1 and 10. There are no Windows 8 Start screen replacements for Windows 7 or 10, and no Windows 10 Start menu replacements for Windows 7 or 8.1. Maybe not conclusive, but it seems there's demand for Windows 7's UI in later versions but little or no demand for later versions UIs in Windows 7.

      • 591

        In reply to hrlngrv: I see your point.  I can't think of another version of Windows that was not emulated or skinned to the previous versions of Windows.  Pointless to do without a compatible store.  But things like this have happened in the past.  Interest must be quite low.
        I may be wrong, but I think most Win 10 users do not use live tiles or mostly ignore them.  With few store apps, and fewer apps that people use or care about they have no reason to watch them.
        The chicken and egg issue continues.  Without a strong user base developers will not create store apps.  Users see no reason to upgrade with no apps to reward their move.  So Microsoft has two options.  Create the killer app that moves users to Win 10 (VR? Game mode? Play anywhere?) or push the platform out to existing users (including Win 7) to reach the number of users that will make developers care to create for the platform.

         

  26. 8853

    As tech lovers, we may forget that for most users, they just use the computer as they purchased it. End of story. PCs are pretty sturdy machines and keep chugging long after the software they came with is out of date. While using Windows 7―let alone something even older―would give me the heebie-geebies (I was thrilled when my office migrated to W10), most people don't notice or care. They just turn it on, open the word processor, browser, budget, solitaire, or whatever. They do what they need to do. They're not going to upgrade the operating system. That doesn't even occur to them. Windows 10 will only replace older versions as the older versions fade out by attrition, not by consumers proactively upgrading. My wife is very smart, but she still has trouble differentiating applications from an OS, though I've tried to explain this to her. I ask what version of Windows her office computer runs. No idea. This is simply because she doesn't "see" the operating system. It's not on her radar at all, like it is for me and other techies. Whether she has Windows 7 or 10 is of absolutely no consequence in her mind. Her computer runs programs, and that's all that matters.

    Any new PC will have W10 on it, and when people get a new PC, viola!, they'll be on W10. And when they are, chances are they'll like it. The problem is, of course, that that Dell you bought in 2012 will probably keep chugging along fine for years, and if it meets your needs, it's sticking around. It's not because W10 isn't better. It's because changing the OS on your laptop is just not something normal people *do*. There is nothing MS can do about this.

  27. 10194

    I wish they would offer two additional upgrade options for people who want to take baby steps...

    1)  take an image of the current OS (i.e. Win7) and allow it to run in a virtual PC environment under the new OS (Win10) so that users nervous about upgrading know a familiar environment is available just a click away

    2)  There should be UI option during the upgrade process to make the new OS look and feel as much as they reasonably can like the old OS

    Do those two things and I can get everyone I know who are reluctant to try upgrading to give any new Windows OS a try 

  28. 378

    I support a couple small company domains, 10-70 users and my experience is the same as many of the comments. All the machines that can get upgraded to windows 10 have been. The handful that remain are due to legacy apps that can't run on Win 10.

    I also STRONGLY agree with the remarks that Microsoft must improve the quality control of their updates. I have about 15 Surface Pro 3\4's that become practically unusable when they have updates pending a restart. This has been going on from day one with Win 10 on the Surface. 

    I haven't done an upgrade for a month or so but I have been able to use Win 7/8 keys to upgrade to Windows 10 without any problem. I think Microsoft would be crazy to turn this off, they just don't go out of their way to say it still works. A friend has an issue where he upgraded a Win 8 laptop to 10 during the free upgrade period and then had to roll it back due to a 3rd party software issue. He was trying to install Windows 10 again and it wasn't cooperating.

    A call to Microsoft wasn't very helpful, they didn't even understand the concept the machine was entitles to Windows 10 because it was previously upgraded. They said we needed to purchase Windows 10. I did a scratch Win 10 install with the lastest ISO using the Windows 8 key and it installed fine.

    • 1292

      In reply to Belralph:

      You had to use the Win8 key? If it was previously activated you should have just been able to install the OS with no key at all and it would have come up activated automatically. Or has that gone by the wayside?

  29. 5639

    Some of the issues are related to embedded environments such as expensive test equipment.  That is were I see the remaining installs of xp.  

    Some of it is the long hardware upgrade cycle for PCs.  People will not upgrade until their hardware goes caput.  They see the upgrade as a premature attempt of forcing obosolence.   Also many view their  PC as an appliance.  It works so I am not touching it.  They don't think of it as a car that needs routine maintenance.  

    It's not like this problem is isolated to windows.  In mobile it's called fragmentation and android is full of it.  This is a problem with no solution.  All you can do is shorten your support period to hope you can spur the market along. Or charge annually for the software to continue support and slowly charge more as the software ages.  You put a dollar to it and people will upgrade. 

     

  30. 10212

    I am a User of personal computers, not a shop with IT people pre-checking updates.

    Therefore, Windows 10 was released with promising future features ( vaporware ).

    User setting could be modified for preferences, Which the updates restored to some unknown value.  Of course - MS decided not to inform anyone of the altered settings.  This is fun - update whenever MS decides to - search to find and undo alterations - restart - see if things are back the way you want them.  ( I still cannot keep Edge out of my way.  Or disable the Cortana system of telling MS what I am doing. )

    There is a possibility of disk encryption being safer, but since the computers are on 24/7/366, if someone gets in they have access to everything anyway.  Also, un-encrypted makes copying a few .isos much faster.

    Windows Defender, which replaces any decent anti-intrusion program, ranks poorly on any comparison site except Microsoft's.

    In effect Windows 10 release was released as an alpha version - and is now almost a beta!

     

  31. 4800

    Does anyone think that when someone gets Windows 10 at work they are going to want it at home unless they already have it?

  32. 4841

    The government agency I work for - not USA - has been testing Windows 10 for a while, but I've been told they're still some time away from deploying the new OS. :(

    • 442

      In reply to Demileto:

      I guess you don't work for the Dept of Justice?  Didn't they already move to Windows 10?  Many of the Defense Agencies have moved too.  Pretty fast for Government work, IMHO.  (Yeah, I used to be in that too.  Crazy slow at times...) 

      • 4841

        In reply to Narg:

        Like I said, the government agency I work for is not from USA. :) To be more specific, I work for Brazil's Attorney General Office. We just got brand new PCs to replace some 5+ year old ones, and they're all powered by... Windows 7. :(

  33. 5394

    They don't allow you to upgrade Windows XP PCs. They require you to buy a Windows 7 or 8 disc with product code, which will then be upgradeable to Windows 10. This is unnecessarily complicated. The truth is people aren't upgrading to newer computers with Windows 10 already installed. The PC market is stagnate.

  34. 250

    I have a five year old 13-inch VAIO laptop that came to me with Win 7 Pro on it. Good machine, fast for its time and still no slouch. A compact and easy to port traveling companion. Microsoft thought well enough of the model that they even sold it in their store, which is where I bought it. I would willingly have updated to Win 10 if I had been allowed to, but the Microsoft system prescreener said that there was no update for the video driver available and that Win 10 could therefore not be installed.

    When Win 10 was released SONY had long since dumped the VAIO line and the current owners of the name were engaged in designing new stuff, not maintaining the old. It was a clear invitation for Microsoft, if it was serious about getting all Win 7 users into the Win 10 world, to hire a firmware wizard for a week and grind out a driver that would work with new Windows, or at least produce a reliably kluged version of the old one. But that wasn't in their business model, so they elected to waive off tens of thousands, or even hundreds of thousands, of owners of older high-end laptops who could have been pulled into the Win 10 universe. This was a completely avoidable problem and it made for a completely self-inflicted injury. Add to that their Win 10 pricing model -- free while the clock ticks, then not -- and you have the major contributors to the problem that Paul talks about.

    Time is the only solution here. Instead of getting everybody out of Win 7 in three to four years, Microsoft is now looking a 10-year die-off as old machines fall away and new ones must be acquired to replace them. I bet it would have been more profitable in the long run to incentivize conversion in the first place with actual benefits rather than nag screens.

     

  35. 5394

    Considering that if no one buy a new computer, Windows 7 will remain. They can holdout until 2020 and make the upgrade then. The exciting new thing is the new UI that will integrate the mobile UI into Windows 10. This will improve the tablet experience, which sucks now. Can't happen soon enough.

  36. 9518

    I think there are several reasons many individual users haven't upgraded from 7 to 10 -- some concerns *might* be addressed by Microsoft, others not so much. Myself, I like 10 -- this below is just being practical...

    To a portion of the user base, Windows & whatever device it's run on are very much secondary to what they use the device for. These users tend to only pay attention to the device itself, &/or Windows, when either breaks or requires maintenance, e.g. Update Tuesday. Their focus is less on the tools -- more on the job the tools are used for. Since Microsoft has eased forced problems on 7, to encourage updates to 10 [& when Update Tuesday on 7 was a nightmare, the future of 7 indeed looked bleak], these more pragmatic users have had little or no reason to upgrade, or even think about 10. If/when they replace their device, often only out of necessity, if it comes with 10, so-be-it -- it's not that they love 7, but have had little reason from their perspective to change much if anything.

    There's another segment of users who are more pragmatic -- just not as much. They are more aware of the potential benefits from more performance &/or capabilities. They know about the improvements they'd get from newer, better hardware -- they know many of the advantages that 10 brings with it -- but they weigh both against the cost. Now when I talk about the cost of 10, I don't mean the cost of the software license, but the cost in time & effort from maintenance, & the reduced reliability caused by that maintenance.

    I've not seen a bad Windows 7 install, nor heard of such a thing, though I'm sure somewhere it's happened. I have by now experienced a couple of bad 10 installs, & a few bad upgrades or updates, where 10 had to be reinstalled fresh, & then any/all software reinstalled. I've never had a Windows 7 update render Windows unusable -- I've had a few Windows 10 updates where Windows wouldn't run, because it was now incompatible with some of the drivers being used. Windows 7 has become huge & bloated after years of updates, but for most of it's life those updates were quick & not intrusive once a month -- this year I'll have to replace 10 not once but twice, each time making lower powered devices unusable for most of the day, while more powerful rigs [hopefully just] lose a few hours.

    I'm aware of the advantages of more frequent updates and newer builds -- I don't have to like the inconvenience.

    There are older devices, including things like ATMs & military hardware that won't run 10. Since a version of 10 has been designed for IoT, & since a future version will run on some ARM devices, Microsoft could probably address those incompatibilities, perhaps with a more limited version [like they did with IoT] if they thought it was worth it.

    And maybe surprising to some, there are still have users who see 10 as a continuation of Microsoft's betrayal with 8. It's prevented some sales of newer devices, though how many sales were lost I've no way of knowing. Festering wounds, justified or not, only grow deeper. That's a shame, because back then it could have been healed to some [I think a large] extent with marketing. A good marketing effort would still heal the wounds of many.

    Or another approach, if you look at the number of apps that replace the Start Menu with something that looks like 7, & the numbers of people using them, an option pack from Microsoft that did the same might be worth the effort. Since it's already a somewhat popular category of software, they'd likely get the money spent back. And to those stung by Microsoft never admitting, let alone asking forgiveness for what was a mistake in the eyes of some users, such a pack could [might] be seen as that admission.

    Microsoft is aware that they could have a better image among Windows users -- they spend an awful lot of time nowadays telling users, particularly win10 users, how much they're both valued & listened to. Those efforts are lost on those people I talk about feeling betrayed since 8. If they want them back they have to do something different.

  37. 10152

    Combined with the consistent contraction of the PC market, it will be interesting to see how far behind windows will be in 3 years. With each year, msft is effectively addressing a smaller market.

    • 1377

      In reply to F4IL:

      Decreasing new PCs sales, but there could still be an increasing user base if older PCs have longer usage. That is, if new PC sales are just 250m in 2017 but old PCs scrapped/no longer used only number 210m, there'd be a 40m increase in PCs in use.

      The PC market from a software developer's perspective is still growing, just at low single-digit % rate.

      • 10152

        In reply to hrlngrv:

        Since sales of new PCs are declining and older PCs get prolonged usage then the market is shrinking. You effectively have negative growth. The rate of expansion becomes negative, thus resulting in a smaller potentially addressable audience.

        • 1377

          In reply to F4IL:

          You're still not understanding. Even if new PC sales are decreasing, if new PC sales exceed old PCs going out of use, then PCs in use would increase, though the % that new PCs have of all PCs in use would decrease.

          Lots of countries have had declining birth rates but increasing populations with no net immigration. You may want to ponder how that's possible.

          You're focused on hardware, new PC sales. I'm focused on usage and the market for software on all PCs in use. I'm not aware of any 3rd party desktop/Win32 software which can run under Windows 10 but not under Windows 8.1 or 7. This is MSFT's problem: PC users running Windows 7 don't need to upgrade to run most if not all the software they want to run.

          • 10152

            In reply to hrlngrv:

            The reason I mention the word "market" is because i am referring to new PCs and yes, I understand what you're saying. You are saying that this year, there will be more PC users than the previous year, which is absolutely 100% correct. What I am saying is that the number of those new users (the market that actually moves PCs with new Windows 10 instances pre-installed) added to the pile of all users, is declining.

            It peaked a few years ago, and has since been decreasing. That is why I stated the market is shrinking, because the amount of those new users is decreasing (not all PC users). If the market wasn't declining, it would be safe to assume that Windows 10 would present a higher percentage in the total market.

             

            • 1377

              In reply to F4IL:

              All semantics, but why not?

              New PC users aren't necessarily the same as buyers of new PCs. Many, perhaps most, new PCs replace old PCs and are bought by people replacing their (N-1)th PC with their Nth PC. I figure truly new PC users number maybe the same as the number of the world's 4-year-olds, so maybe 160m. 2016 new PCs sold were about 100m higher.

              The new PC HARDWARE market is shrinking, but the total market of all PCs in use, which is what software vendors care about, may not be shrinking, indeed may even still be growing though slighly.

              Windows 10 is pretty much guaranteed to increase its % of all PCs in use as new PCs replace older PCs since new PCs are quite likely to have Windows 10 preinstalled and older PCs more likely to have older Windows versions or OSes other than Windows installed. The one counter to that is enterprise buyers of new PCs installing their existing Windows 7 images on those new PCs.

  38. 5496

    people aren't going to upgrade until they get a new pc. And people don't buy a new pc every year.

  39. 10176

    The problem is that I am sure there are tons of people like me who CAN'T upgrade my PC to Windows 10 as the processor doesn't support the needed functions for Windows 10. So I'm stuck on Windows 7. I hear you saying well then just buy a new computer, but I don't have the funds for that. I don't make a huge salary and have 2 kids so that's where ALL the extra money goes. The machine I got was a great one years ago, and I really don't see trying to drop $1500 for a new gaming rig right now. So Windows 7 is fine and does all i need it for at the moment. Maybe by 2020 I'll update, but not before then.

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