Windows 7 not outpacing Windows 8 in terms of growth

Martin Brinkmann
Oct 2, 2013

If you follow other tech related websites you may have noticed the usual slew of operating system market share articles that get published at the beginning of each month. Some claim that Windows 7 outpaced Windows 8 in terms of growth, which is not entirely correct.

It first needs to be noted that the statistics come from third party companies who monitor only a fraction of the Internet. It is all we got though, as Microsoft does not reveal these kind of information to the public.

That's however no the main point. Before we dig deeper, lets take a look at the numbers for context purposes.

Net Market Share lists the following usage share numbers for September 2013:

  1. Windows 7 with 46.41%
  2. Windows XP with 31.38%
  3. Windows 8 with 8.02%
  4. Windows Vista with 3.89%
  5. Windows 8.1 with 0.87%

For August 2013, it lists the following numbers:

  1. Windows 7 with 45.63%
  2. Windows XP with 33.66%
  3. Windows 8 with 7.41%
  4. Windows Vista with 4.11%
  5. Windows 8.1 with 0.24%

And now the change in percentage:

  1. Windows 7 up  0.78%
  2. Windows XP down 2.28%
  3. Windows 8 up 0.61%
  4. Windows Vista down 0.22%
  5. Windows 8.1 up 0.63%

So, Windows XP lost the most this month while both Windows 7 and 8 gained usage share. It is likely that the drop of XP's usage share will continue in the coming months considering that it will reach its end of support date in April 2014.

If you compare the growth of Windows 7 to that of Windows 8, you will notice that Windows 7 grew faster than Microsoft's operating system. That is however only half the story, since you need to include Windows 8.1 in the equation as well.

It is likely that many Windows 8 users upgraded to Windows 8.1 when the new version became available. That moved usage share away from Windows 8 and moved it to Windows 8.1. If you combine the growth of Windows 8 and Windows 8.1, you come up with a total growth of 0.61% + 0.63% for the Windows 8 platform. And 1.24% is more than Windows 7's 0.78% growth.

It is not much though and it is very likely that at least some users who bought a Windows 8 PC have downgraded it to Windows 7.

valve hardware charts

Windows 8 continues to show a strong performance on Valve's hardware survey charts as well. It is placed second there with a market share of 15.79% for Windows 8 plus 0.69% for Windows 8.1 only trailing Windows 7 which has a combined market share of 64.24%.

Closing Words

The most usage share information can do is provide you with trend information. Which operating system is on the rise and which is on a decline. This may be great for marketing purposes, but that's about it.

What we can say for certain is that Windows 8's usage share is on the rise, that Windows 7 is holding up fine, and that Windows XP and Vista are dropping.


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  1. SteelCity1981 said on October 3, 2013 at 8:34 pm

    only trailing windows 7? LOL um 48.45% is not only trailing, that’s more like largely trialing..

    1. Martin Brinkmann said on October 3, 2013 at 8:56 pm

      Well, it is also 3 years behind.

  2. Jim said on October 3, 2013 at 5:06 pm

    I have joined the ranks of the Win8 statistics, but not by choice. It came installed on the new laptop I bought and I just wasn’t interested in going through all the hassle of installing Win7. It has taken some tweaking, but I’m actually pretty happy with it right now, which is something I didn’t think I would ever say. (I bought Win8 Pro for $40 when MS was nearly giving it away during the initial release, but it is still sitting in the shrink wrap.)

    However, saying that I’m a Win8 user is misleading and only correct on a technical level. I’m really one of the many that have modified Win8 to make it work like Win7 as much as possible. Modern interface? I rarely see it. I have installed one of the start menu replacements and have it set to boot straight to the desktop. I also removed all the “apps” and prevented them from reinstalling themselves. (It’s just a couple lines of powershell. Easy to find the instructions on the web.) That got rid of the junk and freed up the wasted space on my drive.

    The end result is a computer that works like an improved version of Win7. As I said, I’m pretty happy with it. I still get irritated looking for settings. Some are in the control panel and some are in the modern settings. Doesn’t seem to be any rhyme or reason to that, but now that I’ve got it running pretty much how I like it, I don’t have to deal with it much anymore. Still, I wish they were all in one place or even in both places so you don’t have to hunt for them.

    1. Xi said on October 4, 2013 at 10:01 am

      The Windows 8 can be changed to look or feel like Win7. However, you are making space for new vulnerabilities to enter your OS. With good built in UI, there is no way of new vulnerabilities to drop into the features in most cases. If the tool/software used to change the UI in Win8 is not been updated/fixed the bugs/vulnerabilities regularly, you’ll end up with hackers in your PC. Also many tools are full of bugs/adware. Also most tools track/steal your identity or anything from PC without permission, if you’re not good enough to know about the inner thing of the tools/apps/software.

  3. Xi said on October 3, 2013 at 1:13 am

    Windows 8 may show progress. But it may not be true. There may be some false ratings by cheating. Most people who are using Windows 8 or 8.1 are still having new trouble with the OS and also the corporates are still not accepting Windows 8/8.1 as a stable OS. However, once Windows XP goes offline, then the power of Windows 7 will emerge like a boon. Windows 8/8.1 is still an unstable product of MS. Only limited features are added as MS telling that they heed to the feedback of users. However, most needed features are removed/altered to haste Windows 8.1. Also PC’s are still there. Most people have moved to assembled PC rather than complete PC, and also moved to Linux versions. Let us wait till the XP ends its life-cycle.

  4. Gonzo said on October 3, 2013 at 12:48 am

    Gamers have always represented the extreme. If an OS claims to be 0.x% faster than another that’s enough reason for hardcore gamers to adopt it. Just like Vista vs XP.

    Steam is a very small subset and a niche one at that. Nothing useful with regards to broad usage metrics can be extrapolated.

  5. ilev said on October 2, 2013 at 11:52 am

    I don’t think Windows market share is important any more. Windows share in OS in the last 12 month is getting irrelevant, with 15% and falling on all devices sold.
    Microsoft has announced that the Nokia 520 is the best selling of all Windows products currently available, with sales exceeding those of all Windows PCs and tablets, including Microsoft’s own Surface range, which again shows just how irrelevant Windows 7 and 8 are.

    1. Martin Brinkmann said on October 2, 2013 at 1:47 pm

      I do not really think that you can compare mobile and desktop operating systems. While recent trends move them closer to each other or may even merge them, it is not really a fair comparison.

      1. ilev said on October 2, 2013 at 6:32 pm

        I think it is as Windows PC sales are dropping rapidly each month and users replace them with tablets, pablets and smartphones.

      2. Martin Brinkmann said on October 2, 2013 at 6:37 pm

        I do not really think they are replaced, at least not in all cases. The PCs are not updated though or bought anew.

  6. Marius T said on October 2, 2013 at 11:35 am

    I love Windows 8,it’s Windows 7 improved,never mind everyone is complaining about the start menu,it’s an issue easily solvable with Classic Shell;and I got used to the modern apps to!

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