Microsoft says there are now 500 million Windows 10 devices worldwide

Windows 10 Wallpaper
Windows 10 Wallpaper (Image credit: Microsoft)

Microsoft has just kicked off Build 2017 with the unveiling that Windows 10 is now in use by over 500 million Windows 10 devices, up 100 million from the last major milestone back in September 2016.

As a reminder, Mirosoft counts not only Windows 10 PCs and tablets, but Xbox, HoloLens, and even Windows 10 Mobile in that number too. Unfortunately, Microsoft hasn't detailed how many of those users are using Windows with a Microsoft account, or how many people out of that number are using universal Windows Apps on the regular.

Microsoft did reveal that 141 million users are now using Cortana, which is a bigger number than we were expecting. In an ideal world, all 500 million users would be using Cortana, but 141 million active Cortana users is still an impressive feat.

Of course, Microsoft's original goal was to have Windows 10 in use by one billion users around about now, but the company is 500 million users short. Microsoft has been open about this in the past, saying they knew they wouldn't be able to make it several months before their deadline of 2 years since the Windows 10 launch.

What do you think about the rate of new installs? Let us know.

Zac Bowden
Senior Editor

Zac Bowden is a Senior Editor at Windows Central. Bringing you exclusive coverage into the world of Windows 10 on PCs, tablets, phones, and more. Also an avid collector of rare Microsoft prototype devices! Keep in touch on Twitter: @zacbowden.

  • And I'm one of them!!
  • and I am the one who is NOT and wont be until my i7 sky lake,16gb RAM and 1080Ti with 1TB SSD gets too old :-)
  • Why?  
  • Nor me at the moment, still running windows 8.1 and hopefully will be able to carry on running it when I update to the new ryzen, other people have been running 7 and Windows 8 fine on it.  
  • No wonder Cortana numbers are low, outside the US it is a painful POS that I would delete if I could.
    The tragedy is, on 8.1 three years ago she was awesome but today is a pain in the ass.
  • I m three of them !😁
  • This was quite predictable. The 1 billion number was bound to fail the moment they didn't continue with the free upgrade. That played more to the objective flop than the death of Windows Phone / 10 Mobile.
  • It would have failed anyway. The vast majority of people who wanted the free upgrade got it that first year. I think they were surprised at how many people were reluctant to leave Windows 7, and that’s why their prediction was so far off.
  • If we're being honest though, the initial release of Windows 10 wasn't appealing for Windows 7 users. But I agree, they did underestimate the amount of people who weren't interested in leaving Windows 7. However, by cutting the free upgrade, they lost the chance of proving with the following updates to Windows 10 that the OS was getting better. Now, even if someone on Windows 7 likes Windows 10 more than they did, they are likely not willing to just pay for an OS upgrade. They'll upgrade only when they exchange computer.
  • they failed because the privacy concerns. I know at least 20 people who wont upgrade from 7/8 jsut because the privacy settings
  • Really unfounded. Plenty of privacy settings now in latest Creators edition. If you set everything off with basic setting then can't see how that's really much different from 7/8. But certainly lots of misinformation.
  • Still not enough, need an off button and a Kill cortana button.  
  • 20 tin foil hat wearers. Microsoft released in painstaking detail the information they gather, and how it isn't personally identifiable information? (even if they reduced the data they collect in the CU) I'm also willing to bet those same 20 luddites use Chrome, or Google services or other brands that do indeed gather and correlate personal information whether they share it with 3rd parties or not.  
  • Why do you have to insult people just because they have different opinions than you?      
  • Google collects information if you get emailed from a Gmail account, and Apple collects information if a person using iMessage texts you. Honestly, privacy is dead. You are screwed 20 different ways, no matter what. And unless you want to break down the code and look through it line by line for all the devices you use, you will never be secure.
  • You might want to let them know they are missing out for no reason - MS backported all the telemetry stuff to 7 and 8.x and they have zero privacy settings they can change.
  • but you can get rid of it in windows 7 and 8 just by not downloading the update and also, it is not as intergrated into Windows 7 and 8 because it can't be.    the telemetry in Windows 10 is far too intergrated. Also what do you think we are missing out on?.    
  • No normal consumer gives two sh*ts about the "privacy concerns". The only ones with those concerns were European authorities. The regular consumer never even bothers with the Terms & Conditions let alone the rest.
  • @pappale
    20 people only because of the privacy issue.
    What absolute BS !
    With your toxic personality I would be stunned if you even knew 20 people well enough to know their last names.
  • An indefinite free upgrade wouldn't make their OEM partners very happy. And hardware sales were already in decline. I think the one year free upgrade was fine.
  • I think free upgrade offer should be there for 18 months, ie, till Creators update. Cause 1: Many people wait for at least 1 year to move on to a new OS. Cause 2: ONLY If people moves to Windows 10 they will find that there are numerous features available in Windows 10 which is not possible(or not good) with older machines and HW. So they will end up buying new machines. That would not affect OEMs. Cause 3: Windows 10 is far more superior now than compared to 1st W10 build and next big build. So if free upgrade was there for another 6 months then there was chance for the 2nd time who goes back to win 7 after 1st try of W10. So may be there should be another 100-150 million users. Also if Microsoft solved the Privacy settings in the November Update then as of now the number would have been quite higher than now.
  • Their OEM partners aren't in the business of selling OSs, they sell hardware. If they want people to upgrade the hardware it is their job to present consumers with reasons to do it instead of waiting for people to be forced to do it.
  • @DJCBS, the free upgrade path is still available and quite easily. You just do it through the Accessibility path. I've recently used this to upgrade a family member's system. That said, I know the counter-argument is that's not as easy as the automatic update MS was providing (pushing even) back in the first half of 2016 and that a typical user won't go that route. Fair point. :-)
  • Most of the devices launched with Windows 7 were left behind in terms of drivers which is making them to stick to Windows 7. I know a lot of people who are still using Windows 7 solely due to the graphics or WiFi drivers being not supported in Windows 10. I also have a laptop which came pre-installed with Windows 7 and has dual-graphics (Intel + ATI Radeon) but, the drivers are not available for Windows 10 and the ones available crashes the whole PC so, am running that laptop with Windows 10 without graphics acceleration.
  • Enterprises are only just starting to roll out Windows 10. They have been waiting for branch for business to go to the Anniversary Uldate. We are just rolling out 200,000 Windows 10 systems.
  • Most businesses change Windows version, when the version they are on falls outside of support (mostly extended). There is no value in spending money on Windows for your average MS office, email sending cubicle dweller most of the time.
  • Well to add to that - I work with local government so colour me completely shocked when some of them updated to Windows 10!
  • @hwangeruk, I've seen a shift lately to more rapid updates as businesses are embracing Office 365. This seems to be driving a willingness to go with MS' recommended updates across the board, including to Windows 10. Certainly not universal, and some companies will still hold out as long as they can, but definintely the overall movement has been toward more rapid updates rather than holding out longer.
  • What? You don't think it will hit 1 billion??? Lol. You know there's over 2 billion Windows users right now? And you know they will all migrate to Windows 10? Especially now Windows 7 has finished its support. Windows 10 will be over 1 billion within the next 5 years. Especially considering Windows 10 is the last Windows just updated forever.
  • You clearly can't read. Nowhere did I say it won't reach.
    I said it DIDN'T reach. Because according to Microsoft's original plan, they should be hitting those 1 billion NOW. They aren't and they won't in the foreseeable future. It will take a lot of time for that to happen.
  • Windows 7 has finished mainstream support but it is still in extended support (security fixes only) until 2020.
  • I know that they had already said that they weren't going to make it. But I thought that they had aimed for 1 billion users within 3 years. Since Windows 10 launched in 2015, I thought that 3 years would be 2018.
    Surely they will be a lot closer to 1 billion by July 2018 than they are now - especially with AU now being the Current Branch for business version.
  • Agree with you and @Richard Loveridge. I believe MS initially was shooting for 1 B users within 2-3 years. I think 2 years is a little optimistic, but 3 years is reasonable. I think by this time next year they will reach that 1 B mark. So, as far as I'm concerned, MS is still on track.
  • They hit 500 million in two years. Even if they kept the pace, which they aren't, they would only be at 750 million next year. 
  • They will still get pretty close.
  • In 8 months, it was 100 million gain. Not bad, not bad at all.
  • They'll be no stopping the Windows 10 juggernaut folks!
  • So Cortana's attachment rate is 141 million out of 500 million. For comparison, do we have any information on what the attachment rate is for Siri on iOS or Google Now on Android?
  • Android has over 1 billion active users. Google Now is available EVERYWHERE (not just in select markets). There are no official numbers that I'm aware of. But the number of active users, under this scenario, is bound to be way higher.   (It doesn't help that Google keeps changing the name...Google Now, Now On Tap, Google Assistant etc)
  • Hi, In my country, the use rate for Google Now is close to Zero even it is available in my local language. Don't forget that the Android group mainly do not have shiny devices and they don't even know it exists.
    I have never seen anyone in my country use it and whenever I asked, they would look at me blankly. But I would say more than 50% of iPhone owners have used Siri at least once. Many of them talk to it once in a while. FYI.
  • so where do you live? Because in some countries, Google is BANNED so its not hard to "avoid it" :))))
  • No, it's not banned in my country. And yes, I know how to use Google now. I stated the fact around me. How do you interpret it is up to you.
  • Where do you live? Somalia?
    Also, please know that just because YOU don't use it or see it being used it doesn't mean people don't use them. I've never seen ANYONE use Cortana, even in the US. That doesn't mean people don't use her. Same for Siri.
  • Has to be higher than 28%.
  • Google Now and just Google search on Android are one and the same, so I think Google Now will be much higher %.
  • I am 4 of them 😭😂😂😂
  • Me 2 :) My gaming PC, my laptop, my Xbox and my Windows Phone :)
  • Anroid has more user because an ordinary person can have a phone but not his own laptop or Pc
  • I'm an Android user but I'm also Windows 10 user, so could these statistics be more accurate if it tell how many users reagardless of the ecosystem they use, make use of Microsoft sofware.  I was a Windows fan many years ago, but now I see both Windows (on the desktop) and Android (on Mobile) part of my life and I could not live without them. 
  • So still a 6.5 billion untapped W10 market. Fail.
  • They should have strived for one billion.
  • You do know that many households share a single PC among members, and about 67% of the estimated 7.5 billion global population is under 17 years most of whom are dependents who technically cannot afford to own a PC by themselves.
  • Well duh, it was free. It would be drastically lower if you had to pay for it.
  • And would be higher if they didn't start charging for it. Not the brightest move by Microsoft.
  • And only a very small handful can use the MS Wallet app.
  • I chuckle when I see MS brag about the number. My dad went to the bathroom and came back with Window 10 installing all by itself.  He was on windows 7. I had been trying to get him to upgrade and he wouldn't. MS just did it, and he can't go back lol  point being, half of those half billion probably didn't even ask for the update. ;p 
  • Point being, never EVER go to the bathroom!
  • Fake news! Lol j/k
  • Well, considering me, my wife and mom & dad have:
    - 3 Windows 10 Lumia phones
    - 1 Surface 3
    - 4 Windows laptops
    - 1 Windows tablet 8"
    Not bad, eh?
  • My terminal at work runs Windows 10, I use Cortana everyday at work for scheduling appointments. I absolutely love her for that.
  • She loves you too
  • WRT to the 1 B #. I've learned over the course of my time on this planet that it's very hard to make predictions, especially about the future.
  • It would be nice to tell how many Android and iOS users are OneDrive, Office 365, Outlook, OneNote users, I'm sure these users don't use Windows, they might use Mac OS and are also important for Microsoft as consumers of their consumer services.
  • "Unfortunately, Microsoft hasn't detailed how many of those users are using Windows with a Microsoft account, or how many people out of that number are using universal Windows Apps on the regular." If those numbers were remotely good they would have announced those for sure. Windows 10 (minus UWP crap + store) is awesome though.
  • Halfway there.
  • This is nothing compared to the number of iPhone user or Android users. MS is still a far third in comparison.
  • So 100 million new users out of 150+mln new PC's sold.
    That's somewhere inbetween fail and win. Gains could be lower, could be higher.
  • not me. staying on xp(1 computer), 8.1 (surface pro), and windows 7 pro forever..   will never upgrade to windows 10, due to incompatibilities with software, and no improvement in any area or software that i use.   later -1
  • ok enjoy xp and all it's security holes as it gradually becomes even more incompatible with current software
  • I'm two of them 😍
  • So a couple more years to a billion. Nice :)
  • I have five.  I have two 640 WP's, two Windows 10 PC's, and a Xbox One. 
  • Even though they said they were not going to reach their goal, half-way is still impressive, considering how long time ago the threw the towel in the ring. I mean... 100 MILLION active users just since 26th of SEPTEMBER 2016 :)
  • "Unfortunately, Microsoft hasn't detailed how many of those users are using Windows with a Microsoft account" Implying that there aren't many of them, which is awesome! Windows 10 is already a stupidly privacy invading haven as it is now ( ), tying all of that with another personally identifiable skynet account just makes things a whole lot worse in terms of privacy.
  • Let me guess you are happy to give your data to google.
  • Easy there with the asinine assumptions...
  • I'm in the count since Windows 95...
  • Windows 95 rocked ! :)
  • No it did not, it was unreliable and buggy. windows 98Se rocked :) for a Microsoft Operating system and then it wll went downhill from then on.  
  • And how many Windows 7 / Windows 8 / 8.1 devices are out there ?
  • even with 10 billion, still same
  • For any one serious thinking to throw shade on MS - lets just look at the installation figures for macOS, Linux (on desktop/laptop/tablet/consoles).
    Pretty certain Windows still craps all over macOS and Linux on the desktop/laptop even though the latter is free.
  • My 3 kids, wife and me are 18 of them
  • Microsoft says there are now 500 million Windows 10 devices worldwide ... And, only 30 of them are Windows 10 Mobiles. Guess they have to inflate something beside their ego, 500 million devices. I suspect somebody may have loaded the windows 10 on the same device 500 million times. It is Microsoft after all.
  • 240,237 are Windows mobile.
  • Four Windows 10 PCs in my home. Happy users! :) Kids love it too!
  • Since cortana isn't available worldwide, it'd impossible to reach that 500M. So 141M is rather impressive considering facts.
  • They failed to reached one billion by August 2017, because of boomers who are afraid of change, and news media outlets that never explained to users that Microsoft might die, if we don't all consolidate on ONE OS. Upgrade people!  The free offer still exists! Don't let Microsoft die... Or buy the CHUWI 10 dual boot tablet at $149.