Windows 10 appears to be their destination
According to recent statistics, the userbase of Windows 7 has decreased significantly, almost by half, since the complete discontinuation of support for the operating system. This abandonment is accompanied by the end-of-life for Windows 8.1, which has also experienced a similar decline in user numbers.
According to Statcounter’s data for February (available in a new tab), the global market share of Windows 7, among all Windows versions, has experienced a significant decline from 9.55% to 5.39%. In parallel, Windows 8.1’s market share has also decreased by half, from 2.28% to 1.15%.
It is worth noting that the timing is significant as Windows 8.1 recently reached the end of its support in January 2023. Although Windows 7 lost official support in January 2020, it was granted a period of Extended Security Updates (ESU) which expired in January 2023.
Windows 8.1 is not receiving support through the ESU program, which means that both Windows 7 and 8/8.1 are now completely obsolete in terms of security updates. As a result, it is no longer safe to use these operating systems. The consequences of this are becoming increasingly apparent, as evidenced by the statistics from February.
To what locations are these individuals migrating? It appears that the majority are transitioning to Windows 10, which experienced a 4.39% increase in February, bringing its market share to 73.25%. While the number of Windows 11 users also saw some growth, rising slightly above 1%, the operating system’s overall market share now stands at 19.13%. However, it is evident that Windows 10 was the primary beneficiary of this shift.
Analysis: A long slow goodbye, most likely
One could argue that the current situation was foreseeable, as both outdated Microsoft operating systems have lost support and security updates. However, this does not fully explain the phenomenon.
People tend to stick to their preferred operating system, even after it has surpassed its security expiration date, and Windows XP is a prime example. Remarkably, two years after the end of support (and 15 years after its initial release), Windows XP still maintained a 10% market share.
It’s hard to believe that even after 20 years since its release, there were still some XP users (albeit a small but noteworthy fraction of just over half a percent). This is why Windows XP gained the reputation of being the OS that refused to die.
However, it seems unlikely that Windows 7 will achieve similar levels of longevity, given the sharp decline it experienced in February. Nevertheless, we do anticipate that the rate of its decline will slow down considerably after the initial loss of users.
It’s important to keep in mind that these are only statistics regarding desktop operating systems, so we shouldn’t jump to conclusions based solely on them. However, this data is a strong indicator, and it would be difficult not to infer something meaningful from it.