Windows operating systems control 87.9% of all computers, with 40.4% of those being run with Windows 10. This figure is still rising, whereas its predecessor, Windows 8.1, is steadily declining in the number of users. This is as new machines are installed with Windows 10 as standard, and its rollout featured a strong push to upgrade users from Windows 8.1 to Windows 10. However, another player still dominates the market.
Windows 7, first launched in 2009, has been the operating system of choice for many users, and still holds 47.3% of all Windows devices. However, Microsoft is withdrawing support for this version in January 2020. This means that security updates will not be distributed, leaving those running this operating system vulnerable to cyber-attacks and exploitation.
Although the mainstream support for Windows 7 was ended at the beginning of 2015, the extended support is still in effect until 14th January 2020. Therefore, the 820 million computers relying on this outdated programme will need to upgrade to Windows 10 or face being unprotected from attack.
Windows Mainstream Support is where Microsoft is still maintaining the service, providing security updates, design updates and warranty claims. This is usually run for five years after launch.
Windows Extended Support follows the Mainstream Support but provides no more new features. Extended Support is simply to maintain older operating systems, providing bug fixes and security patches.
Windows 10 is still to overtake Windows 7 in the number of individual devices it is running on, and with currently around 700 million connected devices, it is far from Windows’ one billion devices target. When announced in April 2015, then head of Microsoft Terry Merson confidently claimed that there would be one million Windows 10 connected devices within two or three years.
However, more than three years later and with the end of Windows 7 support looming, Microsoft are far from their target. ‘Connected devices’ encompasses not only PCs and laptops, but also Xbox consoles, tablets, mobile phones running on Windows.
The number of users remaining on the earlier version of the operating system is a result of a number of factors. The lack of success with Windows 8 led many people to refrain from upgrading, and therefore are reluctant to move to Windows 10 through fear of an inferior user experience. This is similar to the resistance that many users felt when transitioning from Windows XP to Vista.
Our goal is that within two to three years of Windows 10’s release there will be one billion devices running Windows 10
– Terry Myerson
Another factor in businesses is software support. Many programmes cannot run or run less effectively on Windows 10 systems than on Windows 7. This means that a blanket upgrade would take time and may prove costly to the business through downtime and software issues. As the old saying goes – if it’s not broken, don’t fix it.
So, why upgrade to Windows 10? There are a number of reasons, but one of the biggest is that Windows 10 in set to be the last major Windows operating system upgrade. With two regular updates per year to counteract any security vulnerabilities and implement small changes, this version should be sustainable enough to last through technological changes. Windows 10 is faster and uses memory and disk space more economically.
Either way, you should upgrade to Windows 10 before 2020. SeaBro IT can provide network support for businesses during upgrades, and as we are a Microsoft Partner you can trust in us to source and install a new operating system professionally and with minimal disruption.