Windows XP use goes back up; Windows 8.1 barely moves in January's OS data

Last month, it looked like the use of Windows XP in PCs took a steep dive worldwide. Research firm Net Applications indicated that, according to their numbers, the over 12 year old operating system had a market share of 27.84 percent in December, a huge drop of 3.38 percent compared to November.

Today, the firm released its market share data from January 2014 and it shows that Windows XP use actually went up to 29.30 percent, a rise of well lover 1 percent compared to December. That's not good news for Microsoft as it tries to get more XP users to upgrade to a more recent version of Windows before April 8th. That's when the company will officially cut off all patches and support for XP, although it will keep providing antivirus signatures until July 2015.

The PC market share for Windows 8.1 went up just slightly in January to 3.92 percent, compared to 3.50 percent in December, while Windows 8 barely registered a decline to 6.62 percent, compared to 6.65 percent for the previous month. Combined, the market share of Windows 8 and 8.1 worldwide is now at 10.54 percent, up from in 10.15 December. Even though Windows 8.1 is a free update for Windows 8 PC users, it would appear that not many users have chosen to make the switch yet. That may be why Microsoft is getting ready to release a small update for Windows 8.1 that will offer users better mouse and keyboard support.

Windows 7 is still the most used PC operating system in the world. Net Applications shows it commanded 47.46 percent of the market in January, compared to  49.26 percent in December.

Source: Net Applications | Image via Net Applications

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If I remember correctly, doesn't it force an overlay while you are on the desktop side of things? I remember seeing that (entire screen grayed out and just a large 100% wide rectangle saying "Get Windows 8.1" now with buttons saying "Go to store" and "Cancel"). I finally did the update because it was the fifth time it asked me.

When there is this many people not adopting and complaining g about a new OS then there is clearly a problem. Sure, change is most of the time good, and it benefits the advancement of technologies, but Microsoft apparently has no clue what it's customers want.

Microsoft have been shooting themselves in the foot a lot recently, forcing people to update through windows store was another example of bewildering decisions.

especially since you have to download certain updates from windows update before the 8.1 link appears in the store, so it just adds an unnecessary layer of confusion for regular joes.

Yes, this was a stupid mistake and is responsible for so many people being stuck on 8 still. Those same people will not even move to 8.1 Update 1. I think it's high time Microsoft started pushing 8.1 out via WU. I don't see what the technical hitch is.

Edited by Romero, Feb 4 2014, 6:32am :

"That's not good news for Microsoft (...)"
No, that's not good news for users of XP, because April 8th is going to be the End of the World! ahahahaha!

Not so much, but the number of exploits is going to rise alot, like in the good ol' days of XP with no Service Pack

when the change is TOO much we definitely don't like it. which is why Windows 7 is all around better than Windows 8 for us Desktop/Laptop users as Windows 8's interface is it's fatal flaw.

Windows 8 is the first OS from Microsoft that i actually won't accept and use as i have used Windows 3.11 to 95 to 98 to WinME to Win2k to WinXP to Vista (SP1 it was not bad) and currently Windows 7. i tried Win8 but initial impression left a negative impression on me as the way i am used to doing things on a Desktop was pretty much more of a chore to do with Win8. Windows 8 is mostly for Tablet's and the like and not for Desktop/Laptops's in short.

but good news is according to this article Windows 7 is the standard still and Windows 8 is likely to be a flop, thankfully (and it appears Microsoft is supporting Windows 7 til Jan 14th 2020 and i figure by then Microsoft should have something better than Windows 7 anyways). hopefully with Windows 9 they get it right. worst part of the article is how many people are still on Windows XP especially considering it won't be safe to use much past April 8th (or was it 18th?) since they won't offer any more security updates etc.

Edited by ThaCrip, Feb 4 2014, 1:28am :

So I'm curious - you didn't find Win95 to be TOO much change too? Compared to the Win3.x to Win95 transition I consider the Win7 to 8 transition to be peanuts to handle (especially since a 30s install of Classic Shell or Start8, if required, will smooth over all problems for the haters). I see no reason why XP users should update to Win7 when they can get a better more modern OS with the same UI if they so prefer.

Edited by Romero, Feb 4 2014, 5:16am :

Changes are supposed to be good. Not bad. Removing the start menu is not change - it is limitation. Adding useless tablet UI is also inefficient and ugly on desktop PC. So this is not change this is new OS which is inferior.

you didn't find Win95 to be TOO much change too?

sure, there was a solid change but Windows 95 is pretty much how like OS interfaces are today basically(Windows 95 is when Windows really took off (i would say PC's never really started to get more mainstream though til 1998-2000 area(i been using PC's since 1995))). at least up through Windows 7. i know Vista/7 are a bit changed from Win95 through Win2k/XP basically but it's still mostly the same. Windows 8 is the biggest change to the interface since Windows 3.11 to Win95 was except it's not a good thing this time around.

I consider the Win7 to 8 transition to be peanuts to handle (especially since a 30s install of Classic Shell or Start8, if required, will smooth over all problems for the haters).

that's the thing... we should not have to install 3rd party software to get Windows8's interface to function properly.

I see no reason why XP users should update to Win7 when they can get a better more modern OS with the same UI if they so prefer.

not really... in their default state Windows 7's interface is flat out superior to Windows 8's when it comes to general ease of use for Desktop/Laptop users. if it where not for the interfaces Windows 8 would be a slight upgrade over Windows 7.

ThaCrip said,
sure, there was a solid change but Windows 95 is pretty much how like OS interfaces are today basically
Yeah, but back when it was released it was a lot more unfamiliar and shocking change compared to Win8 over 7. Yet it went on to become the accepted UI design with time. I'm sure with time the same thing that happened with the Start menu will happen with the Start screen too, and acceptance will naturally increase as people switch over to mobile devices.

ThaCrip said,
that's the thing... we should not have to install 3rd party software to get Windows8's interface to function properly.
People have to install a lot of 3rd party software to get Windows to do what they want (and also often to look the way they want), and have done it for ages, so what's new? When people install so much crap on their PCs I don't see how a small Start menu program really changes things. This is an untenable complaint and in no way justifies an XP user moving to Win7 over Win8, when the latter is definitely better and a Start menu program removes all UI issues for those who don't like the new way.

ThaCrip said,
if it where not for the interfaces Windows 8 would be a slight upgrade over Windows 7.
I agree completely when it comes to paying to upgrade to Win8 from Win7, but notice I was specifically talking about XP users deciding which newer OS version they should pay for. For an XP user it should be a no-brainer to install Win8 (with a Start menu program if required) over a 5-year old OS. If they already have Win7 licences of course then that's a different issue, but otherwise buying Win7 now makes no sense (unless perhaps someone's offering massive discounts on new licences which I haven't seen anywhere).

Enron said,
If anyone is downgrading from Windows 8, it would be to Windows 7, not XP.
Yup, anyone installing a 13-year old soon to be unsupported OS on modern hardware instead of at least a 5-year old one needs to have their head examined. However as I noted below I see no reason why XP users should update to Win7 when they can get a better more modern OS with the same UI if they so prefer (all it takes is 30s or so to install Classic Shell or Start8 if required).

Edited by Romero, Feb 4 2014, 5:37am :

Enron said,
If anyone is downgrading from Windows 8, it would be to Windows 7, not XP.

Sure but i am referring to people who have not bought 7. They had XP , bought 8 - and downgraded. I would never go back to XP and i have every Windows OS including all SPs but then again i have never paid for them

It's called enterprises starting back up after holiday closures. Especially in North America (not alone the US), large parts of many enterprises, if not entire enterprises, go into "holiday mode", with far fewer folks at their desks (mostly still running XP) due to vacations, etc. With all those folks getting back to work, XP use surges back up. (It may be similar in Europe or even Asia as well.)

After April 30th, unless they are behind enterprise firewalls and locked down, it will be open season on 29.23% of PC's.

At some point MS should just push 8.1 as a update to 8.0 users and mot let them sit on the older version, just send it out through WU like they plan to do with update 1.

George P said,
At some point MS should just push 8.1 as a update to 8.0 users and mot let them sit on the older version, just send it out through WU like they plan to do with update 1.

Agreed. They made a big mistake pushing it to the store, rather through Windows Update - where most users are used to going for updates.

Agreed. Can't understand why Microsoft decided to take this route with the 8.1 update. It only made it more confusing for users used to the traditional way of getting updates.

They'd have to make some changes before they could do that. I'm on Win8 and cannot upgrade to 8.1 without either upgrading my PC or getting a new one.

Microsoft needs to change things first. For example, 8.1 breaks SmartPrint, our campus print system. We have told students not to update as a result.

jwoodfin09 said,
Microsoft needs to change things first. For example, 8.1 breaks SmartPrint, our campus print system. We have told students not to update as a result.

That's a vendor issue, not a MSFT issue.

Dot Matrix said,

That's a vendor issue, not a MSFT issue.

The problem is the vendor software uses Microsoft issued drivers. So Microsoft made so many changes it breaks software that interfaces with Microsoft issued drivers. That's Microsoft's issue, especially when the same software works fine in Win 8, but not in win 8 compatibility mode on windows 8.1

jwoodfin09 said,

The problem is the vendor software uses Microsoft issued drivers. So Microsoft made so many changes it breaks software that interfaces with Microsoft issued drivers. That's Microsoft's issue, especially when the same software works fine in Win 8, but not in win 8 compatibility mode on windows 8.1

Ok, but it's still up to the vendor to update their application to amend those changes.

Dot Matrix said,

Ok, but it's still up to the vendor to update their application to amend those changes.


An OS update is not supposed to break the functionality of software. When it happens the OS Vendor needs to help fix the issue with the vendor of the software

jwoodfin09 said,

An OS update is not supposed to break the functionality of software. When it happens the OS Vendor needs to help fix the issue with the vendor of the software

What? Applications break all the time, especially when drivers are involved. Just look at XP -> Vista.

jwoodfin09 said,

An OS update is not supposed to break the functionality of software. When it happens the OS Vendor needs to help fix the issue with the vendor of the software

Are you kidding? I look after literally hundreds of servers for customers in my company and the majority of those are two or three server 'groups' with an application & database server, or sometimes a web, middle tier and database. You would not believe how many times we have to deal with shoddy vendors whose applications blow up after certain Windows Updates are released - and lets not even talk about major upgrades to Windows. Some of the people we deal with would rather we were running their application on Windows XP or Windows Server 2003 still.. mention that you're proposing putting it on Windows Server 2012 R2 and they almost drop off the end of the phone gasping for air, like you're suggesting something almost inconceivable.

Is this me agreeing with Dot Matrix over something? *pinches self*

Dot Matrix said,

What? Applications break all the time, especially when drivers are involved. Just look at XP -> Vista.


Yeah but proper written Vista drivers work on Windows 8(.1).

Shadowzz said,

Yeah but proper written Vista drivers work on Windows 8(.1).

Right, but the driver model has been improved and changed a bit since Vista.

Dot Matrix said,
What? Applications break all the time, especially when drivers are involved. Just look at XP -> Vista.

That's not an example of an operating system update.

jwoodfin09 said,

An OS update is not supposed to break the functionality of software.
Sometimes it just can't be avoided in order to progress but it's because of attitudes like this that Microsoft has to bend over backwards to maintain backwards compatibility and keep cramming in more and more shims into the OS. Also because the OS vendor is the one always blamed by clueless users, Microsoft has to provide fixes and patches for old, unsupported and plain badly coded software written by useless developers. I don't think there's any other OS vendor more concerned about backwards compatibility compared to Microsoft (in general, doesn't mean there'll never be any breaking API changes). There's always plenty of time for good developers to update their software and test with upcoming versions of Windows and be ready by the time the OS releases, or at least soon after. No excuses.

Romero said,
There's always plenty of time for good developers to update their software and test with upcoming versions of Windows and be ready by the time the OS releases, or at least soon after. No excuses.

Unfortunately, that's not always the case. Sony recently had some huge issues with the 8.1 update, as from my understanding, their VAIO laptop line would run into a wall if you did the 8.1 update prior to doing the system updates.

This led to a lot of Sony laptops coming back to us.

dead.cell said,
Sony recently had some huge issues with the 8.1 update
By "system updates" I suppose you mean some Sony firmware/BIOS updates? Can't be talking about Win updates because those were required before 8.1 was allowed to be installed.

So are you saying a huge OEM like Sony didn't have any time to test 8.1 before release? How come other OEMs managed the transition fine?

Simple - testing the store for deploy new version of the OS. Most probably Windows 9 will be available to buy in the store. Same way as Mac OS was available for years in Apple Store.

eiffel_g said,
Simple - testing the store for deploy new version of the OS. Most probably Windows 9 will be available to buy in the store. Same way as Mac OS was available for years in Apple Store.
If I can't still get a disc or ISO they can go **** themselves. Had it with repeatedly downloading the same damn 3Gb 8.1 update on multiple machines, sometimes with the connection getting terminated at their end after multiple gigs having been downloaded and then not even resuming.

Romero said,
By "system updates" I suppose you mean some Sony firmware/BIOS updates? Can't be talking about Win updates because those were required before 8.1 was allowed to be installed.

So are you saying a huge OEM like Sony didn't have any time to test 8.1 before release? How come other OEMs managed the transition fine?


Possibly. I would've thought they'd install via Windows Updater though, no? At least it should. It's hurting Sony big time when people update to 8.1. Of course, they have issues regarding quality as well, which you think for the money, it'd be more than mediocre.

If Windows 8 hadn't been so stupidly setup from the get go, NONE of this would have ever been an issue, to begin with!

Just keep on trying to force change on people Microsoft and see where it gets you!

And they wonder why XP's usage went up last month?!

cork1958 said,
If Windows 8 hadn't been so stupidly setup from the get go, NONE of this would have ever been an issue, to begin with!

Just keep on trying to force change on people Microsoft and see where it gets you!

And they wonder why XP's usage went up last month?!

Change happens, dude.

Bought 5 x Windows 8.0 Keys. Can't download Windows 8.1 ISO update because 8.1 is not accepting legitimate keys. Update from 8.0 to 8.1 screwed OS completely to non-boot state. One word about Microsoft handling updates - idiots.

Dot Matrix said,

Right, but the driver model has been improved and changed a bit since Vista.


Not the point. If people wrote decent software/drivers or anything following guidelines and proper API's. It wouldn't just break on OS upgrades.
The driver model has been updated and changed in Windows 7 and Windows 8. Not as drastic as from XP to Vista. But not far from it either.

Problem with many coders and whatever is, especially those people companies seem to find everywhere. Is that they do not code properly. They do not follow guidelines and use features that are part of a very specific OS and version of it.

The idea of "Meh API sucks, I'll just access the info I want right through such and such".
This path turns out to be a very common used exploit by malware and such... Microsoft goes "Well it aint officially the way to get such info, people can use the API do exactly the same, lets close this security hole."

And bwam, certain software stops working with an OS update.

dead.cell said,

Possibly. I would've thought they'd install via Windows Updater though, no? At least it should.
BIOS updates aren't pushed out via WU and never should be. Too many things that can go wrong and rarely needed in any case.

George P said,
At some point MS should just push 8.1 as a update to 8.0 users and mot let them sit on the older version, just send it out through WU like they plan to do with update 1.

No! At least not with RT. I'd be seriously ticked off if they pulled a stunt like that. One word: jailbreak.

domboy said,
No! At least not with RT. I'd be seriously ticked off if they pulled a stunt like that. One word: jailbreak.
Three words: hide the update.

Romero said,
BIOS updates aren't pushed out via WU and never should be. Too many things that can go wrong and rarely needed in any case.

No, they're definitely not BIOS updates. I think they're drivers for the touch screen capabilities and various other elements. Going by the reviews, people are complaining that after they do the update of having issues that range from battery, screen, WIFI card and so on.

dead.cell said,

No, they're definitely not BIOS updates. I think they're drivers for the touch screen capabilities and various other elements. Going by the reviews, people are complaining that after they do the update of having issues that range from battery, screen, WIFI card and so on.
Again I fail to see how this isn't Sony's fault exclusively. If in their testing 8.1 broke due to their own badly written drivers then they should have pushed out those updates in time, preferably via WU after getting them WHQL tested.

I'm not implying that it isn't their fault, but simply describing how an update forced on you could screw your system up if you aren't ready for it.

True, but my point is Sony should have been ready for it. They were plain incompetent and just didn't care until customers started complaining in large numbers. 8.1 was never forced anyway. In fact, many of us feel it should have been distributed through WU rather than via the Store, which explains why so many are still stuck on 8.

Romero said,
Three words: hide the update.

Of course! But I'd rather not have to. I'm ok with security patches being automatic, but a major system update should not be a forced update. It could be offered as an optional windows update that 8/RT won't automatically install, that would be fine.

If it's optional then what's the point of offering it via WU? The main problem now is low uptake precisely because it is optional via the Store, which many people avoid. Since the majority would want the update, the few who don't can always block it at their end.