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Windows 10 overtakes Windows 7 as most popular OS in the world, says Net Applications

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

The new year has brought some good news for Microsoft. According to the latest data from Net Applications (via The Verge), Windows 10 has surpassed Windows 7 as the most popular operating system in the world.

Currently, Windows 10 holds 39.2 percent of the desktop OS market share, which tops Windows 7's 36.9 percent share. This marks the first time Windows 10 has overtaken the nearly 10-year-old Windows 7, which has remained quite popular even through the releases of Windows 8 and Windows 10.

The news of Windows 10's rise comes at the end of a year in which Microsoft revealed the OS is now on more than 700 million active devices. That's well short of the 1 billion threshold Microsoft was hoping to have reached by this point when it originally launched Windows 10, but it's up from 500 million active devices the company said it had achieved in 2017.

As for Windows 7, mainstream support for the aging OS ended in 2015, and extended support is set to come to a close in 2020.

Dan Thorp-Lancaster is the Editor in Chief for Windows Central. He began working with Windows Central as a news writer in 2014 and is obsessed with tech of all sorts. You can follow Dan on Twitter @DthorpL and Instagram @heyitsdtl. Got a hot tip? Send it to daniel.thorp-lancaster@futurenet.com.

52 Comments
  • It did a year ago. Statcounter > NetMarketShare
  • It's the most commonly used, most popular I'm not sure about...
  • The staying power of Win 7 is testament to the fact that most ppl don’t care about new OS features anymore. What they want from their OS is stability, so they can get to the things they care about... apps.
  • True. Plus expect that number to get much higher much faster as extended support runs out for Windows 7 and businesses rush to upgrade to 10 this year.
  • Agreed that number will spike nearer the end of 2019. For example one of my old workplaces still were running XP in 2014...they only started upgrading to 7 that year - prior to XP support ending in April 2014. The alarming thing is that many hotels still use XP.... yikes!
  • I know that it's splitting hairs, but I think that it's probably safer to say that IT departments don't see any pressing need to upgrade their fleet. Rather than people upgrading their personal computers. From a business perspective, Windows 10 doesn't bring much to the table that Windows 7 doesn't already do extremely well. And by "apps", you mean "software, right?" because Fortnight isn't an app.
  • Apps is the same as software. App = Application. Back in the old days - which you clearly do not remember - we had DOS Apps. Then we had Win apps. It all meant Application Software. Not to be confused with System Software or Utility Software. App is just short for application, as OS is short for Operating System. The stores are called “App Store” because it rolls off the tongue easier than “Application Software Marketplace”.
  • I got tired of this OS Envy thing long ago. I don't need affirmation of my OS choices by dissing somebody else's. The market eventually solves it all. I suppose its cool to satisfy curiosity.
  • For you (and me too) it is... For others it isn't. That's why it's good to have little OSes to choose from.
  • Well I know people who would not agree with you on that, people who use Macs all the time and Linux for that matter. The reason why they have gone with what they have gone for is that they do not like windows.
    I would use Linux more if the software was available and I can not justify the price of a MAc, also I prefer a computer I can update
  • OTOH, Windows 10 drove me to a Mac. I got a used i5 Mini with 8GB ram and a new 512GB SSD. It runs fine. I have been using Windows since 2.11. I even used Vista and 8.1. 10 is the first version I did not want, do not use now and will never use. I had Windows Phones too. My remaining Windows machines are staying on 8.1, but I use them less each day. Now I am using Macs, iPhones and iPads. Choice is nice.
  • Talk about being out of touch with reality...
  • Your average Joe the Plumber consumer sticks with the OS that came on their machine.
  • Windows 10 is the most popular DESKTOP operating system. You have to qualify that statement. The most popular operating system in the world is Android. It massively outsells Windows 10 and has a much larger user base.
  • it's actually not by much, and it especially doesn't outsell it since android isn't sold.
  • Really? Post quarterly numbers for Android and Windows. It isn't even close.
  • People refresh their phones more than their PC, and it's common for people to have multiple phones. So it's not that easy to compare the numbers as it might seem.
  • People had a choice for Windows on their phones. Android was more popular.
  • It was not a fully fledged Windows OS like W7, 8.1 or 10 however, more like a lite version so bad comparison.
  • Bleached, I'm not going to dispute your assertion that Android is more popular than Windows. I will challenge your language though when you say Android 'massively outsells Windows '. According to the latest StatCounter data Android devices are 37.93% of internet connected devices, while Windows are 37.91%. That's not a massive difference....
  • Huawei Android devices alone come close to outselling all Windows machines combined. Android outsells Windows 5 to 1 (~60million vs ~300). Website traffic doesn't change that.
  • What a useless statistic that ignores current install base. What do you get out of bashing Microsoft on a daily basis. That's a sad life to live.
  • Current install base of Android is nearly 3x Windows 10. Try again.
  • Yes, but that includes IOT devices, and devices where Android is hidden in the background. Android streaming boxes, Android digital cameras, and so on. I even have an alarm clock with Android embedded on it to manage web radio playback. If you include Android on those devices than you shouldn't you also include Linux on routers and switches as an OS, or the OS in engine management systems?
  • So? Those are all devices with operating systems. People didn't choose Windows versions.
  • You forget that most of the people using a device with android don't even know they have Android as OS.
    The majority just buys a phone or tablet based on price and that's it. Also the article is talking about Windows, PCs, computers, that it's completely another target.
    You cannot use Android for 3D, special effects, professional audio, painting, factories proprietary softwares, banks, security systems etc. When you talk about Android you are talking about Facebook, Instagram, google, YouTube, games (based on the power of the device), and apps.. Of course you think people are "choosing" because you sound like you are far from what is the real usage of an OS..
  • Number sold doesn't mean most popular, phones have a quicker replacement cycle than computers, so if a person buys five android phones over the course of five years, while another person buys one windows machine which they use over the same five years, neither product is more popular as they still have the same number of supporters.
  • They aren't buying Windows devices every year. They are Android because they prefer Android.
  • Hey bleached, isn't there a very large golf course you could be mowing right now?
  • Yes but they kicked him there for bashing on golf too much 😎
  • I didn't bash anything. Just correcting this article's false claim that Windows is the most popular operating system. Windows sales are significantly less than Android. You have no argument so you have to attack.
  • @bleached You are not actually reading the article, though. It specifically states Windows 10, sourcing Desktop/Laptop market share from Net Applications, not the whole of Windows compared to all other OSs. If you actually were to spend some time looking at the source page, netmarketshare.com, and include the mobile space, it shows that Windows 10, the most used Windows OS makes up 16.93%, while Android 8, the most used Android OS, makes up 8.97%. Windows 10, 8.1, 8, 7, and XP combined make up 37.12% of the desktop/laptop and mobile market. The combination of Android 8.1, 8, 7.1, 7, and 6 all add to 31.45%, making a difference of 5.67% market share in favor of Windows. So, you will have to provide a source for market share (currently in use, not total purchased, there is a difference) of Android having a higher market share. Being fair, marketshare.com could differentiate the different versions of Windows 10, but a computer from 2015 can run the October 2018 update, but phones from 2015 cannot run Android 8.1
  • That only really covers the sale of new devices. A lot of computers are owned by businesses and not counted as new sales in the same way as phones are, particularly in the case of lease hires. A lot of PCs are also built from parts or are upgraded to the extent that they are essentially new PCs, but won't be counted as new PCs as they are recycling an existing copy of Windows that the user already owns. Those sales figures probably don't include PCs built from parts by small stores, or stores in places like Africa and India where it's common to use bulk OEM installs, or flat out pirate copies of Windows. This isn't to belittle Huawei, their sales fugures are incredible, it's just that the difference isn't as big as the numbers make out.
  • Android isn't sold. But I see you're still here with your pedantic comments.
  • He's got some pathetic need to preach about Android on every article, because he hates everything Microsoft, and is an Android troll. Now, spending time on WC trolling is seriously idiotic, but, then again, look who we're talking about here. Smdh
  • Preach what? The article made a completely untrue statement. I didn't preach anything.
  • Weird, because I bought a device with Android on it.
  • Nor was a lot of Windows, it was pushed as a free upgrade, if you wanted it or not and it is installed on computers, again where you want it or not unless you go buy a Mac or go to one of the few places that installed Linux.
  • Android is doing really well in developing nations. But Windows is still king in most developed lands.
  • Android outsells Windows everywhere.
  • Wow do you have an android powered vibrator as I think you need to get some pleasure off it it and calm down. Android is a mobile os Windows is a desktop os both very different but both sell millions in there own markets.
  • Both are OS. Android is much more popular though. It sells hundreds of millions while Windows sells tens of millions.
  • Except, Android isn't an OS. It's an OS family. Each version is technically a separate OS. If you include all versions of Android as a single OS then you'd have to include Windows XP, Windows 7 and Windows 10 together as well. I still have an old alarm clock with Android 4.0 on it kicking around somewhere, and in places like China and India it's common to have older Android devices, and it's common to find TV boxes with older versions of Android on them. I see Android 5 devices advertised all the time. That's like seeing a Windows XP machine on sale.
  • Nope. Android apps are compatible all the way back to several year old versions. Windows 10 apps are only compatible with Windows 10. It is a completely separate OS. Either way, adding them all together will not make up the difference. Android still outsells Windows 5 to 1 and has a much larger install base.
  • That is a huge false statement. Windows 10 can run more than UWP apps, it can also run Win32 apps all the way back as Windows XP. Second, market share, as posted in the article, are the percentage of active devices, not the total numbers sold. Otherwise, you would have to admit that Android is the most discarded OS ever made, with lots of people annually upgrading their phones, and discard their old devices, to never use again. Third, according to the info source from netmarketshare.com, Windows has a larger market share than Android by 5.67%. You will need to provide an objective source to counter.
  • At my new job I declined to get iOS computer (everyone has it), and got to chose anything Windows based within certain budget. I got one for $600+ with 10 Pro and since the moment it was all setup I started having issues with it. After 1h 18min with Dell Rep trying to fix issues with Start Menu (default tiles were coming back removing my tiles) I finally gave up and reset the whole thing. Then I was having issues with 100% Disk usage in Task Manager after installing Photoshop. After hours of trying to roll back to 'yesterday' it failed me again. Finally, turning off DiagTrack (what ever it is) it runs good now, but I wish it was Windows 7
  • W10 sadly doesn't run that flawlessly anymore ever since they laid off the dedicated QA team.... I still notice a cumulative update turn on the Superfetch service randomly.... on a SSD for crying out loud. It's the first thing I disabled when I installed Windows 10 pro on the desktop and looking back through all the issues... there is a definite correlation of issues encountered with the firing of the QA team. Sadly that was re-affirmed through the many high profile bugs that made it into the general release.
  • You can not get an IOS computer anyway, ok yes a Phone and tablet are computers as such, but they are not classed as computers. Mac OS is apple computer Os, but like Windows 10 it is getting more like a mobile OS
  • Like I cared to know what it's called. Let it be Mac OS then. I cant get used to it
  • Only because people have been pushed and tricked into installing it and also since there are no computers sold with Older versions of Windows it bound to catch up.
    It took long enough.
    As for the most popular OS, I would think that would be Android, a lot more Android products outr there than Windows 10 based products. Even if Windows 10 is the most popular OS, it is still a mess and needs to be sorted out.
  • Personally I think windows 10 is great, I have forgotten about Windows 7 except from using it at work.
    All my computers run Windows 10, I have had no issues whatsoever
  • Predominate does not equal popular, for that you'd have to ask people to vote.