The State of Windows 7 Two Years After Release

Martin Brinkmann
Oct 12, 2011
Updated • Jun 15, 2014
Windows, Windows 7

Back in October 2009 Microsoft released the long awaited and highly acclaimed Windows 7 operating system. Unlike Windows Vista, the operating system's immediate predecessor, Windows 7 managed to do what where Vista failed: Snag away market share from Windows XP. Depending on which statistics you look at Windows 7 is installed on 39% (Statcounter), 42% (W3CSchools) or 32% (Net Market Share) of all computer systems. In comparison the same companies see Windows Vista at 11%, 5% and 9%, and Windows XP at 40%, 36% and 50% respectively.

If you look at the statistics you will notice that Windows 7 has surpassed Windows XP in one already (W3Schools) and that the operating system is about to surpass XP in another in the coming month (Statcounter) if current trends continue.

Only Net Market Share sees Windows XP still in the lead by a large margin.

One of the interesting things here is that Windows 7 managed to surpass Vista's market share in less than a year in all three statistics. If you project the rates at which Windows 7 grows in market share you will come to the conclusion that the operating system may gain another 15% to 20% of market share in the coming 12 months. Why is that period important? Because after that time Windows 8 will be released. An earlier release of Windows 8 may slow down the rise of Windows 7, but it won't halt the market share drops of Windows XP and Vista.

There will still be plenty of users working on Windows XP and at least some that use Windows Vista. When you look at global operating system brands and their market share, you will notice that Microsoft with Windows is still the big fish in the pond. Depending on the statistics service used the company has a worldwide market share between 85% and 93%.

Can Windows 7 be called a success because of this? I'd say yes it can, especially when compared to Windows Vista. The biggest feat in my opinion is that Windows 7 turned around the perception of Windows from a bloated slow operating system to something that people love to work with.

It will be interesting to see how the public perceives Windows 8 once it comes out. Will Microsoft be able to break the good OS bad OS cycle (Windows 98 good, Windows ME bad, Windows XP good, Windows Vista bad, Windows 7 good) and deliver two great operating systems in a row, or will the new operating system fail to impress with its new Metro start page and design changes.

What's your take on this?


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  1. Raj said on October 15, 2011 at 7:45 am

    I think the cycle will go on. It is similar to the tick tock with microprocessor chips. Xp was good, vista bad, win 7 is good. I personally would not have used windows 7 as windows xp was good enough. But once I have started using it, I have to say that I did not have much to say against it. So, by the looks of it, maybe windows 8 could be bad. However, Microsoft is focussing on reducing the memory footprint and making it leaner. Windows 8 – a meaner leaner “windows 7”. Maybe the cycle will break.

  2. Anonymous said on October 15, 2011 at 1:06 am

    Had no choice to get Win-7 with a laptop.
    Hate it mostly because it is incompatible with S/W I’ve already invested in and which works fine with Win-XP (but guess this really started with Vista?) – wish I could have gotten Win-XP, but could not (wondering why not?). Now I have to look into VM workarounds.

  3. Sam said on October 14, 2011 at 2:57 pm

    As a personal and relatively non-technical user I can say after a year that my experience with W7 is completely positive. No crashes, the background repair function has been a-1 and I was even able to install a completely functional Corel Print Ship [circa 1996] which I like because of its simplicity.

    I also like Microsoft Security software, and the auto updating.

    I think I can say that for the average user, they got it right.

  4. lookmann said on October 13, 2011 at 5:50 am

    o.k. but one glitch!
    According to reports quoting MS, SUPPORT for win 7 is likely to end in 2013. i read it in some blog. it is sad if it’s true!

    1. Rafał Pastuszak said on October 13, 2011 at 12:39 pm

      I don’t think so – Windows / Office / Internet Explorer are supported 10 years after release.
      That’s cool in this case, but this solution brings about many other issues, for instance: by 2020 Microsoft will have to support more than 8 versions of it’s web browser. As a web designer I hope THIS will change:)

      There’s an interesting article describing the issue on Paul Irish’s Blog:

    2. Martin Brinkmann said on October 13, 2011 at 9:07 am

      I highly doubt that support for W7 is ending in 2013. For Windows 7 Professional for instance, mainstream support ends in 2015 and extended support in 2020. You can look it up here:

  5. André said on October 12, 2011 at 6:40 pm

    Vista was never bloated and slow by default. This happens because of OEMs who install tons of useless software.

    1. Steve said on October 12, 2011 at 7:58 pm

      “Vista was never bloated and slow by default” lol ever since the early builds its been a pile of crap, even now its still a major fail!

  6. Sekoasa said on October 12, 2011 at 5:07 pm

    I consider Windows 7’s stability as its principal asset over XP.

    On the other hand, with Windows 7 and 8, the User Interfaces are designed to move the user where Microsoft wants him to go; as an example, Microsoft trimmed and dispersed XP’s set of logical links, renaming its standard folders with no logical benefit.

    Libraries are a good example of an addition of a completely useless set of tasks which can be accomplished with a more thorough default search engine.

    Ever since the arrival of Windows OS, I have used a hierarchical filing system which allows for flexibility and focus in managing my usage of computers..

    The “Metro” interface in Windows 8 may well suit a flashing media addicted public. I like a clean desktop without any shortcuts other than those I choose to include in my task bar.

    I know where I want to be or to go; I do not need to be pushed or interfered with in my interaction with the OS.

    1. fokka said on October 12, 2011 at 9:27 pm

      i couldn’t agree more!

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