In early 2020, Microsoft officially ended support for the Windows 7 operating system. However, millions of Windows 7 users refuse to upgrade to Windows 10.
Prior to the end of support, ZDNet journalist Ed Bott consulted with some analytics experts and estimated that approximately 200 million PC owners worldwide would ignore the end of support date and continue to use the Windows 7 operating system. Admittedly, this was a rough estimate.
During the holiday lull at the end of 2020, the author decided to return to this issue and re-analyze the available reports in order to determine the approximate number of Windows 7 users.
Let’s start with the US Government’s Digital Analytics Program, which reports the current, unfiltered total number of US website visitors in the previous 90 days. One of the datasets includes a report of visits from all computers with any version of Windows, making it ideal for answering the question.
A year later, by the end of December 2020, the share of computers running Windows 10 grew by 12% to 87.8%; the number of Windows 7 users fell by more than 10 points – to 8.5%, and the number of people who abandoned Windows 8.x decreased even more, to a paltry 3.4%. The former PC operating system champion, Windows XP, is now nearly invisible, with its device count only a fraction of a rounding error.
If the author’s calculations are correct, it means that over 100 million Windows computers have been decommissioned or upgraded in the past 12 months.
Statistics from other sources show roughly the same result.
For example, on NetMarketShare, figures for the end of 2020 show that Windows 10 usage rose by 11 points, from 63.0% to 74.0%, and Windows 7 usage fell by 9.5 points, from 31.2% to 21.7%.
Likewise, StatCounter statistics showed that the number of computers running Windows 10 increased by more than 12 percent, from 64.7% to 76.0%, and the number of computers running Windows 7 fell by almost 10 points to 17.7%.
Microsoft has been telling us for years that the Windows user base is 1.5 billion, but a year ago, a ZDNet journalist argued that the number of Windows PCs is likely much smaller, even with the resurgence in PC sales fueled by the pandemic.
Even with this uncertainty in mind, it is clear that at least 100 million PCs are still running Windows 7, and that number could be significantly higher.
Let me remind you that the My Digital Life forum community has found an illegal way to extend support for Windows 7.