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Windows 10 beats out 8.1 for installations, closes in on Windows 7

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While some users have been complaining about their OS prodding them to upgrade to Windows 10, it looks like the nagging has actually paid off. Windows 10 is now the second most-used version of Windows (with 8 and 8.1 counted separately), trailing just behind Windows 7 in use, according to the newest data from NetMarketShare.

Of course, Windows 8 and 8.1 are very similar, as the latter is a free update to the initially release Windows 8 that adds back in some important functionality. Still, whether you count it in second or third, it’s impressive that the newest OS has taken such a commanding position across sampled systems.

And Windows 10 boasts even stronger adoption among gamers. Even though it hasn’t been updated to include January’s data at time of writing, 31.25 percent of Steam users participating in the hardware survey are running the 64-bit version of Windows 10. It’s second only to Windows 7, which holds a higher 34.81 percent of systems sampled. Among that crew, Windows 8.1 adoption is low at just over 15 percent, and Windows 8 is down at just two percent.

Windows 7 still remains in a strong lead across most sites that keep track of this sort of data. Its simplicity, lasting power, and versatility mean a lot of users are hesitant to upgrade. That’s particularly true after the disastrous Windows 8 launch, which took a lot of the features that users relied on (the Start Menu) and revamped them for touch usage.

We’re slowly creeping up on July, when Microsoft will cut free upgrades to Windows 10 from Windows 7 and 8. Whether that deadline will encourage users to upgrade remains to be seen, but the Windows 10 has been slowly sapping users from all other versions of the OS since its release, with little sign of slowing down. If you’ve been on the fence about upgrading, which we do recommend, then better do it before time runs out and you have to pay again.

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Brad Bourque
Former Digital Trends Contributor
Brad Bourque is a native Portlander, devout nerd, and craft beer enthusiast. He studied creative writing at Willamette…
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