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Windows 7 use surges, while Windows 8 and 8.1 popularity falls

The number of Windows 8 and Windows 8.1 users out there fell last month, while Windows 7’s base continues to surge. That’s according to Net Marketshare’s latest desktop OS statistics.

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In September, Windows 8’s desktop share was rated at 5.59 percent, while Windows 8.1’s was 6.67 percent. Both fell from their August rates, when those numbers were 6.28 percent and 7.09 percent, respectively. Combined, usage of Windows 8 and 8.1 desktops dropped from 13.37 percent in August, to 12.26 percent last month.

Despite the fact that Windows XP use has dropped steadily since Microsoft stopped supporting it in April of this year, it’s still about twice as popular with desktop users as Windows 8 and 8.1 are, even when put together. In August, Windows XP’s desktop share was rated at 23.89 percent. That fell slightly in September to 23.87. With the release of the free Windows 10 Technical Preview, we wouldn’t be surprised if this figure continues to fall further, and at faster rates.

Then, there’s Windows 7. Despite its age (it was first released in 2009), Windows 7’s desktop share rose from 51.21 percent in August, to 52.71 percent last month. Windows 7 is easily the most popular desktop OS in the world, and it’s as popular as it has ever been.

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Now that the Windows 10 Technical Preview is out and free to use, it will be interesting to see how these numbers will shift starting next month. Windows 10’s biggest selling point right now is its refreshed Start menu. Will that be enough to win over converts from Windows XP and 7, both of which already have a Start menu?

Also, will large amounts of Windows 8/8.1 users move to Windows 10? Time will tell, and we won’t have to wait too long to find out.