Windows XP Still The Most Widespread Windows OS

After the reasonable success of Windows 7, and long after the train wreck that was Windows Vista, PC users are keeping it old school, sticking with Windows XP as their operating system of choice.

If you use a computer for anything other than gaming or to see how many hertz you can eek out of the latest Intel CPU, you know the pain of change. Change means uncertainty, and the one thing people want from a device their business or personal communications rely on is certainty.

As a nerd, Windows 7 is a modern, attractive and capable OS, but depending on the task XP is still more than enough for the majority of users.

Since the release of Windows 7, the install base of Windows XP has dropped only 10%, to 60%.

XP is actually a victim of it’s own circumstance. Microsoft kept XP around for five years before introducing Vista, a largely unsuccessful release that scared most regular users. While Vista floundered, XP gained strength, making it all the way to Service Pack 3.

Microsoft clearly now sees the value in regular and feature-rich updates, keeping users motivated to get to the latest updates. Lets just hope the quality remains.

Written by Toby Leftly

Toby is a Mac nerd, a hardware nerd and a web nerd, rolled into one. You can find him at accentmedia.ca or on Twitter.
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Comments
  • kyle

    It’s not “victim of it’s own circumstance.”

    It’s “its own circumstance.”

  • JohnD

    Can Windows 7 integrate into a Mac Open Directory environment? Nope! Can Windows XP? Yes.

    Are users familiar with Windows XP? Yes? Windows 7? Nope.

    Does Windows XP run nicely on a broad range of hardware without excessive driver difficulties for super expensive but older attached hardware (DVD imaging / medical systems etc). Yes. Windows 7. Hahah!

    The one area I like Windows 7 for is the deployment of the integrated kernel (those doing auto / image deployments will know this is SO NICE). If they could backport that to XP, heaven!

    • AC

      You’re welcome to think that way, but I must say it’s lazy logic. If you can use XP, you can use ANY Windows OS. From an IT standpoint, 7 is a godsend. Vista, not so much, but it was at least a great consumer OS. Given a strong enough system, nothing was wrong with it by SP1. I still would never deploy Vista in a network, too much horror from experience. Lessons learned!

      XP is archaic and far less resilient that 7. Not to mention the fact that more API’s are leaving XP in the dust. DirectX 11, even in 10 in XP? Not happening. (officially… I know DX10 can be hacked into XP)

      Finally, the main reason XP still dominates is because people really ride their computers till the end. As a repair tech, guess how old the average computer is? It’s usually 4-9 years old. And guess what they all run (and will continue to run)? X to the P.

  • Joe Power

    I suspect a lot of people using Windows could not care less how pretty it is – they just want to get things done. The longer a relatively stable version of the OS sticks around, the more productive people can be because a) they become familiar with the landmines and learn how to tap dance around them and b) more developers gain a thorough enough understanding of that version to create really useful applications. Why do you think it was so hard to kill off DOS (which went relatively unchanged for over a decade)? I bet if you took a poll of all the people who chose the 64-bit version of Windows 7 (to have access to memory beyond the 3G limit) you would find a surprising number have a Virtualbox/VM Ware/some other virtualizer installation of XP on the same machine because 7′s compatibility features just don’t cut it. Heck, I even have DOSbox installed to run a few old games I enjoy.

    Microsoft pushes new versions of Windows every few years because it needs the revenue stream – not because the new features actually increase user productivity all that much. Until they concentrate on what their users really want (well understood, stable platforms with good tools for putting together applications) people will have little incentive to switch.

    If you were a touch typist, would you have any incentive to switch to a new keyboard layout every couple years just because the keyboard manufacturer claims it’s better?

  • http://www.michaelshomes.com/ Michael Poczynek

    Maybe Microsoft should focus on making a product realiable and building on a good solid foundation, rather then bringing out the next piece of unproven crapware.

  • http://itarchitecturecoach.com Peter Bodifee

    I am with Joe: the OS doesn’t matter to it’s user.
    The stats shouldn’t be a suprise. And this is also not new.

    http://www.itarchitecturecoach.com/2008/03/next-step-in-operating-systems.html

  • antichrist

    why install something that works slower and you have to learn again how to use every tool you used to, just because they changed every user interface appearance for no good reason, except to make it look new.

  • david

    The article and the comments fail to acknowledge the dominant reason why XP still retains such a large market share. It has very little to do with individuals or their preferences, and everything to do with legacy web apps that only run in IE6. A breakdown of XP market share showing corporate installations vs. home users would make make this crystal clear. Until Microsoft gets off its ass and provides some kind of simple, easy to use IE6 compatibility switch, corporations will stick with XP. And no, virtualization solutions don’t count. Even the latest IE9 platform preview has switches to force compatibility modes with older browsers, but for some reason jumps from IE5 to IE7.