Skip to main content

Windows 7 has replaced XP as the most popular version of the OS

Windows 7 retirement
Image used with permission by copyright holder
While Microsoft may be looking to the future, it seems that many PC users are still firmly entrenched in the past, as the most widely used version of the OS is still Windows 7. Despite being more than five years old, the software is still more popular than its successors Windows 8 and Windows 8.1 and its direct predecessor Windows XP, according to data from NetMarketShare.

In fact, Windows 7 is so popular that it accounts for 55.99% of all desktop operating systems — more than Windows XP, Windows 8 and Windows 8.1 combined. For years, Windows XP was the go-to choice for offices and schools, but that position has now been usurped by Windows 7.

It’s clear that a large proportion of Windows users are happier staying with the environment that they know, rather than updating to the latest version of the OS to enjoy the new features that come along with it. That can make it difficult for Microsoft to support its entire user base, given that they’re spread across drastically different versions of Windows.

Related: Check out our Windows XP end-of-support survival guide

Microsoft will be making Windows 10 a free upgrade, at least or a period of time, in the hopes that this will encourage PC users to bring their machines up to date. A larger userbase for Windows 10 means a larger potential audience for services like Cortana and the increased congruency between Windows Phone and Windows PCs, something that Microsoft will clearly be keen to pursue.

That said, it remains to be seen how quickly Windows 10 will catch on with the mainstream, even if it does turn out to be a free upgrade. While price is a factor to many users considering an upgrade, there are also considerations of compatibility and interface, particularly in a working environment. There are plenty of people out there who are simply used to Windows 7, and they’ll be the hardest to convince that an upgrade to Windows 10 is worth the sudden change.

Brad Jones
Former Digital Trends Contributor
Brad is an English-born writer currently splitting his time between Edinburgh and Pennsylvania. You can find him on Twitter…
Windows 11 tips and tricks: 8 hidden settings you need to try
Windows 11 on a tablet.

Windows 11 has been around for quite a while now. The operating system isn't as new as when it first came out in 2021, but many people are still updating it for the first time from Windows 10. Yet whether you're new to Windows 11 or have been using it since launch, there are a few things that you still might want to tweak to get a better experience. Microsoft doesn't have all these settings upfront, but we're here to surface them for you.
Move the Taskbar and Start Menu to the left

One of the biggest differences between Windows 10 and Windows 11 is the location of the Taskbar and Start Menu. On Windows 10, the Taskbar and Start Menu are positioned to the left of the screen. Windows 11, though, changes that by moving both to the center. If this annoys you, then you can easily change it back.

Read more
Microsoft may fix the most frustrating thing about Windows updates
Windows 11 updates are moving to once a year.

Most Windows users will agree that one of the most annoying things about the operating system is the updates. While Windows Updates are necessary, they often tend to come up at the worst possible time, interrupting work and gaming sessions with persistent reminders that the system needs to reboot. Microsoft might be fixing that problem in the upcoming Windows 11 24H2 build, but it's still too early to bid farewell to those ill-timed reboots.

As spotted in the latest Windows 11 Insider Preview Build 26058, Microsoft is testing "hot patching" for some Windows 11 updates. Hot patching refers to a dynamic method of updating that often doesn't change the software version and may not even need a restart. In the context of Windows 11, it's pretty straightforward -- Windows will install the update, and you won't have to reboot your system.

Read more
The macOS Sequoia public beta just launched. Here’s how to download it
Apple's Craig Federighi introducing the new window tiling feature in macOS Sequoia at the Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) 2024.

The public beta for macOS Sequoia is here, and that means anyone with a compatible device can install it and try it out -- no paid developer memberships needed. Here's how to get it.

First of all, you'll need a PC that can run macOS Sequoia. This is the list of compatible models:

Read more