Skip to main content

Windows XP is old and insecure, yet is still more widely used than Mac OS X

windows xp install disc
Image used with permission by copyright holder
Despite support and security updates ending for Windows XP two years ago, the hugely popular operating system still has a 10.9 percent market share.

This is still a drop from the near 30 percent of market share that it had in 2014 before end-of-life, but it marks a significant number of users with an unprotected OS. Windows XP is more popular than the last three editions of Mac OS X combined, and remains nearly ten times more popular than Linux.

Online security company ESET, which calls XP the “zombie” operating system, points out that most the remaining Windows XP users are in emerging markets, where upgrading might not be economically feasible, and organizations are slower to upgrade software for compatibility with new operating systems.

Microsoft is pushing hard to get everyone on to Windows 10, and for the most part it has been successful. Yet there are still many hold-outs stuck on the older operating systems.

Today also marks the beginning of the end for Windows Vista. Microsoft will totally end support and security updates for the not-so-popular successor to Windows XP on April 11 2017, and is giving Vista users a year to make the switch. Don’t expect as many loyal users, like XP. Windows Vista barely even registers in the latest OS market share figures with about one percent total market share.

Vista users don’t qualify for the free update to Windows 10, but their negligible numbers aren’t likely a huge concern for Microsoft. The real challenge lies ahead in getting the remaining Windows 7, 8, and 8.1 users to move over to the newest OS, as well as convincing that stubborn 10 percent still on Windows XP to fork out money for a new system. For example, there have been several reports of Windows 7 users being updated to Windows 10 without permission, which has drawn the ire of many Windows users.

Frequent update reminders are just one of the tactics that Microsoft is using to persuade users over to the 10 side. Windows 8 security updates have ended, and in January the company also ended support for many older versions of Internet Explorer in a bid to get everyone on board with the latest and greatest. But as these latest figures show, some people will still take the security risk of using their preferred OS.

Editors' Recommendations

Jonathan Keane
Former Digital Trends Contributor
Jonathan is a freelance technology journalist living in Dublin, Ireland. He's previously written for publications and sites…
Why using Android apps in Windows 11 is still a pipe dream
Android Apps on Windows 11

About a week ago Microsoft launched one of the most hotly-anticipated Windows 11 features to Windows Insider beta testers. After Windows 11 launched without it, it finally became possible to run Android apps in Windows natively, thanks to the Amazon App Store and the Windows Subsystem for Android (WSA).

I was quick to try it out and get it running on my Surface Pro 8, and I truly thought it was a game-changing experience. After a few days of playing with Android apps in Windows 11, though, there's a need to step back and look at the bigger picture.

Read more
More than 60% of PC owners haven’t even heard of Windows 11
One of the wallpapers from the Windows 11 sunset theme.

Microsoft has a big change coming soon in the form of Windows 11, but that doesn't mean word has spread to the masses just yet. According to a survey by, 62% of Windows users are unaware of the existence of Windows 11. recently carried out a survey to “gauge awareness and excitement for Windows 11." A total of 1,042 current Windows users were asked about their awarenessof  and eagerness to upgrade to Windows 11.

Read more
Why Windows 11 is more than just a Windows 10 reskin
Windows 11 on a tablet.

Windows 11 is, for the most part, a visual update to Windows 10. It's the same operating system under the hood, just with new features and an updated look. Despite being built on the same OS, Microsoft has said that Windows 11 will feature various optimizations, and now, we know what those optimizations are.

Windows 11: The Optimization and Performance Improvements

Read more