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Windows 11 may be enough to convert Windows 7 holdouts, says survey

Windows 11 Start Surfacepro
Windows 11 Start Surfacepro (Image credit: Daniel Rubino / Windows Central)

What you need to know

  • Windows Report's latest survey asked people about their thoughts on the upcoming Windows 11.
  • 65% of participants that run Windows 7 say they will upgrade to Windows 11.
  • Almost one in ten people polled expressed concern about losing data when upgrading to Windows 11.

Windows 11's official announcement is less than 24 hours away. Before Microsoft's livestream to showcase the new operating system, Windows Report held a survey to gauge people's thoughts. The survey covers if people are concerned about updating to a new operating system, what people expect from Windows 11, and if people have heard about the OS at all.

Results consist of responses from over 6,000 participants. Over 31% of results come from people in the United States. In total, Windows Report received responses from 152 countries.

Windows Report highlights five takeaways from the survey:

  1. Windows 7 users are thrilled about the new OS, with 65% willing to finally upgrade
  2. A third of users are actually expecting Microsoft to release a full, separate version of Windows
  3. Half of polled readers want a fast interface and a design overhaul
  4. Losing data while upgrading is a big fear factor, with 9% of users refusing to upgrade because of that possibility
  5. Windows 11 might bring a boom in sales, as 8% of users are willing to buy a new device to upgrade

The most surprising takeaway may be that Windows 7 users seem excited about a new operating system. Three versions of Windows have rolled out since Windows 7, so people holding onto the now out-of-support OS don't seem like the demographic that'd be keen to upgrade. But that may not be an entirely accurate perception, given the figures from the survey.

While many seem excited about the concept of Windows 11, 9% of polled participants expressed concern over losing data when upgrading. While upgrades to new versions of Windows are supposed to be seamless, there have been issues with Windows 10 updates over the last six years, including deleting people's files.

In addition to these highlights, it's interesting to note that 23% of polled participants haven't heard of Windows 11. Those results are a good reminder that while Windows Central readers are likely up to date on the latest Windows 11 scoops, a large portion of people haven't even heard of the OS.

Sean Endicott
News Writer and apps editor

Sean Endicott brings nearly a decade of experience covering Microsoft and Windows news to Windows Central. He joined our team in 2017 as an app reviewer and now heads up our day-to-day news coverage. If you have a news tip or an app to review, hit him up at sean.endicott@futurenet.com (opens in new tab).

38 Comments
  • lol at anyone still on Windows 7.
  • my windows 7 installation has been running without any problem for 10 years (orig. install date july 2011) fully patched up (jun 2021) currently on a ryzen 5800x, 64GB RAM & RTX3070.
    have fun with win 10 bricking you pc every third update.....
  • Never had a problem with Windows 10. I'm on the Insider Dev builds too.
  • Same here on 2 tablets, 1 game rig (Ryzen 7X) and 1 laptop
  • such a waste for that hardware. too bad. I've never had Win10 brick on me and that's even swapping between Insider and Live. This also includes cloning drives and moving them to newer hardware on multiple machines. Zero issues. Also, better enjoy it while you can, since Nvidia is ending driver support for Win 7-8.1 this October.
  • nvidia stops releasing game ready drivers in oct. they will continue to provide security updates. the amount of work that i have put in to keep win 10 in a usable state is ridiculous. disabling telemetry alone, then getting win 10 stay on a certain version (1909, education), but no it wants to upgrade, although 1909 education is supported through 2022. All so MS can claim that X million users a using the latest version at their next investors call. it's a shame how MS demoted their customers/users to beta testers, for their business branch.
  • Seems like you're more of an edge-case than anything. If you're having that many issues with it, maybe you're the problem or what you're doing is? NO judgement and genuine questions. Because just like some of the other comments, we've had the total opposite experience than you. Also, what does 1909 give you that 21H1 doesn't?
  • Good luck with all those viruses.
  • You have a decent virus checker no problems.
  • Windows 7 was End of Life January 2020, your "fully patched June 2021" means it's patched up to January 2020. So it's insecure. It's insecure even without Windows Update. Windows 10 has security mechanisms not in Windows 7 Besides you can make Windows 10 look like Windows 7 so there's no benefit to sticking with a 12 year old operating system and being based on Vista it's really 14 years old.
  • windows 7 gets security patches till end of 2022. just google "win 7 esu" before you propagate such ill-informed non-sense. the question is, what benefit does windows 10 have over windows 7 ? whats my gain ?
    i see how Microsoft benefits from me upgrading, but i fail to see my mine.
  • Support until 2025 seems like a good starting point. That and being on thr ESU plan means that you (or more likely your employer) should have paid $50 for year 1 and $100 for year 2 of support, assuming Win7 Pro, and half that is Win 7 Enterprise. And from what I can find a year 3 will be available for $200. So an extra $350 for 3 years support. And that's only legally available to enterprise or business customers. For the average home user, Win 7 isn't supported. Bit unfair to not mention that, just to make your point that for home users isn't an option.
  • No problems with windows 10 updates or installations since they've released it officially. This includes multiple surface devices, a lenovo AIO, and most recently a self-built computer.
  • My Win7 has been running fine (except for having to replace the hard drive after about 5 years) since April 2010. It still plays my music library (fb2k) with no problem, and it still has Microsoft Hearts (and the other Win7 games not on later Windows releases), so I've had no reason to replace it and every reason to keep it going. Win7 still has the best Windows UI out of all Microsoft UIs.
  • good luck. Nvidia and AMD dumped Windows 7...
  • Why? Windows 7 works fine for many people, and they see no reason to change., which is why I take these surveys with a pinch of salt, since Windows 11 is still windows 10 with a different look, I can not see how that will get Windows 7 users to update.
    I know a few people still use WIndows 7 and a couple that use Windows 8.1, and they are certainly in no rush to update to Windows 11. Myself, if windows 8.1 would work on this machine correctly, I would still be using it. , I think Windows 8.1 is far better than Windows 10, just change the start screen to a start menu.
  • It's because that Windows 7 is no longer supported and is risky to use now-a-days. I like Windows 7 too, but I won't use it anymore because of that fact. Besides, Windows 11 is much more responsive than Windows 10 on my second desktop and even my $300 laptop as well.
  • Up to people at the end of the day, and maybe they don't have newer hardware that will run Windows 11 or Windows 10 for that matter.
    I keep hearing about Windows 11 being more responsive or better benchmarks than Windows 10, Maybe to a certain extent it is, but then Ms have not put a load of bloat in it yet, and I do wonder if people are not imagining that it is more responsive. Benchmark tests could be for any amount of reasons and from what I have seen it is not by much anyway. I am not going to rush to Windows 11, there is nothing there for me, but then to be honest there is nothing on Windows 10 I want. all I need is an OS to run the software i want to run, not bloat./
  • What hardware runs Windows 7, but not Windows 10?
  • Some CPUs from the early 2000s. We had a Pentium based computer at work (possibly a P4 from around 2003) that ran Win 7 32bit fine, but it flat out refused to install Win 10 because the CPU lacked SSE2 or one of the required instruction sets built into the CPU. It's probably irrelevant since we're talking very old hardware but there definitely are computers that can run 7 but not 10.
  • P4 for a start, and no doubt there are others.
  • windows 7 gets security patches till end of 2022. just google win 7 esu.
  • Windows XP "works fine" too. Why not just use Windows XP then?
  • I know someone who did until he passed away last year, granted the machine was not connected to the net, but it still use XP. the problem with using XP is a lot of modern software will not work with it and also Xp is a 32 bit OS, yes I know there was a 64 bit version, but it was not available to most people
  • Yeah, and a LOT of people are staunch defenders against change and the very thought of a new OS. REally. It's perplexing to see.
  • change for the sake of change, is in deed undesirable. i prefer change for the better.
  • Because sometimes they don't want to upset the apple cart while things are working fine. My mate had a recording studio, lots of software on his machines and some of them getting on as he liked the software and did not want to change, some software would not work on Windows 10 correctly, I tried them on my machine. Also there is a lot of mucking around after the update. Other people just like what they use and are used to the way it works. Windows 10 start menu put people off from changing from Windows 7 and windows 11 may do the same thing, Windows 11 start menu looks worse than Windows 10 if that is possible. windows 10 spyware also put people off, while telemetry was put onto windows 7 and 8, it was easy to get rid off.
  • Many Big corporates , Education Institutions , Government Offices
    Will keep using Either Windows xp or Windows 7 for Eternity XDD Most of them , especially in third world countries use outdated and Pirated copy of Windows 7.
    Specially educational institutions install Pirated Softwares that are important like MS Office XD Though i wish everyone transitions to Windows 11 , It would be awesome
  • The company I work for updated to Windows 10 about 5 months ago, I can not see then changing to Windows 11 any time soon.
  • Yeah man , they are justified to be hesitant when it comes to change XD Unlike regular users they have important files which they cannot risk to loose in an update process.
    Getting used to a different workflow in a new OS scares them. Windows 11 will probably release in October, i am excited to check it out
    See ya at the event :)
  • 7 come 11... it's a crapshoot. (I'll keep my Win7 PC as is; just get a new one with a new Windows.)
  • "Results consist of responses from over 6,000 participants. Over 31% of results come from people in the United States. In total, Windows Report received responses from 152 countries." Do you have a way to know how many VPN switchers were in the 152 countries you noted
  • It literally doesn’t matter.
  • "Windows Report held a survey to gauge people's thoughts." You already lost me at "survey of Windows 7 users" but you double lost me there.
  • Windows 10 is Amazing and works absolutely like charm for me.
    But you know what , Windows 11 is gonna be the BEST Those who take pride in sticking with old ,outdated and unsupported OS
    are just missing out on something amazing
  • So 35% will stay on an unsupported OS ... good choice.
  • 65% is about the same number of those whose hardware won't make the cut, and can't upgrade even if they wanted to.
  • Agreed. My 10 year-old desktop is missing the UEFI / Secure Boot and TPM features. The application for checking whether my hardware / software is compatible refuses to run, anyway, since I am not on Windows 10. It seems to me that Microsoft missed an opportunity by not allowing the app to check Windows 7 and 8.1 computers for compatability.