Microsoft: Windows 10 on 39% of all PCs

Martin Brinkmann
Aug 30, 2016
Updated • Jul 5, 2017
Windows, Windows 10

You have several options if you want to know how well -- or not -- an operating system is doing. One option is to use usage tracking companies and their data.

Firms like Netmarketshare release stats every month publicly that are based on hundreds of millions of user interactions.

While that is useful to a degree, it lacks precision. This becomes apparent when you compare stats put out by different companies.

If Netmarketshare states that Windows 10 is at 21.13% in July 2016, W3Schools that it is at 25.4%, and Steam that it is at 44.67%, there is no way of telling who is right and who is not.

While you could calculate the average, or pick the source you trust the most, it is clear that this is not exact science but an approximate value of the operating system's market share.

windows 10 share

Microsoft publishes its own statistics, and they paint a very different picture than most usage tracking services.

If you open the Windows Trends page on the Microsoft developer site, you will notice the following values for June 2016:

  • Windows 7: 46%
  • Windows 8: 2%
  • Windows 8.1: 13%
  • Windows 10: 39%

Microsoft's data is based on telemetry data that Windows devices report to the company.Microsoft counts active installations only furthermore; this should end the argument that the company counts licenses or any re-installation of Windows 10, or downgrades of Windows 10 systems in its stats.

This is different to how companies like Netmarketshare track usage, as they track usage by monitoring connections to websites.

Still, 39% is quite high and comes close to Steam's value of 44%. It is interesting to note that Microsoft reports the same 44% if you switch to gamers only.

While I have no explanation for the numbers, some observations need to be made:

First, Microsoft does not include XP or Vista, or other operating systems that are not Windows in its stats. If you would throw out those on third-party services, Windows 10's usage share would be higher as well. This does not explain the full difference though.

It is furthermore unclear how many users opted out of sending telemetry data. Windows 10 ships without options to opt-out completely for instance (Enterprise editions can, the rest cannot), which may contribute as well.

If you sort the stats by region, you may get even higher figures for Windows 10. The stats for the US show 50%, those for the UK 51%, and for Western Europe 48%.

The information at the top reads September 2016, but the latest month listed is June 2016.

Now You: What's your take on those stats?

Microsoft: Windows 10 on 39% of all PCs
Article Name
Microsoft: Windows 10 on 39% of all PCs
Microsoft's latest Windows trends show that the company's new operating system Windows 10 is installed on 39% of all PCs that report telemetry data.
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  1. Xircal said on September 2, 2016 at 7:50 pm

    @ Michel,

    OK, in Windows 7 go to Control Panel —> Backup and Restore —> Create System Image.

    In 8.1, go to Control Panel —> File History and click the link to System Image Backup in the bottom left hand corner. Include the UEFI partition in the system image if there is one since that’s where the Windows boot loader resides on 8.1

    In both cases, you’ll need to attach an external hard drive with at least 45GB of free space available. The amount of free space required depends on the number of applications installed.

    Here’s an easy to follow illustrated tutorial which some might find useful:

  2. Wayne Ruppersburg said on September 1, 2016 at 6:15 pm

    To many negative Nancy’s, whiners, and complainers out there…indicative of trolling personas. Many of these people upgraded to Windows 10 for free anyway. Just try reinstalling Windows 7 or 8 and you will quickly discover the folly of your ways… waiting forever to download all the updates associated with reinstalling an old system…but enjoy your folly!

    1. Xircal said on September 2, 2016 at 11:54 am

      Create a system image and then you’ll never have to reinstall 7 ot 8.1 or even Windows 10.

      A system image contains all the drivers and updates valid at the time of its creation. It also includes all your own data. I create a new one after every Patch Tuesday.

      When you restore to a system image, the procedure reformats the HD and then installs the image which you’re restoring to. The whole procedure takes less than 30 mins and your computer will be up to date.

      1. Michel said on September 2, 2016 at 6:34 pm

        You could include an explanation for how to create and use the system image. After all, it isn’t certain that all readers would know how to do this.

    2. T J said on September 1, 2016 at 9:34 pm

      @ Wayne Ruppersburg

      This blog is a discussion about which sources regarding installation figures for Win 10 are correct and/or believable.

      What the hell does your post contribute to the subject ??? You are completely off topic.

      Not only that, your post “To(o) many negative Nancy’s (Nancies), whiners, and complainers out there…indicative of trolling personas” is typical of the sort of comment a TROLL makes in order to denigrate other posters.

      Engage your brain before engaging your typing finger (or can you use more than one ?).

    3. Khidreal said on September 1, 2016 at 6:40 pm

      windows 8.1. 30MB/s connection. 30-40 minutes to download all the updates (without counting the time restarting the PC and without the time you spend downloading windows 10 – yeah, even after the free upgrade is finished, some people (like me – unlucky) still download windows 10 as a free upgrade.

      and, on your windows 10 – which I already had installed but now using 8.1 because it’s better in my opinion – try now download all updates – including cumulative updates. happy 2-3 hours (30MB connection) waiting for it!! and this with peer to peer transfer activated. if you disable it, at least here where I live, happy 4 to 5 hours downloading all updates just through MS servers!

  3. Khidreal said on September 1, 2016 at 2:55 pm

    I understand this is misleading… windows 10 CAN’T be on 39% PC’s. it is missing MAC, all versions of windows since windows’s first version till 7, chromebook, linux, and all the other custom OS’s out there. so the title is misleading, microsoft is trying to fool the users. if you go make a REAL grath, WITH ALL OS’s, windows 10 will be installed on what? 30% max? on the above grath it should say: windows 10 on 39% of all windows PC. and windows 10 has 2 years. 39% only? with all the push they made, forcing users and all that… 39% is basically nothing for me, and knowing how MS tryed and forced, I won’t change my red bar and my 13% for anything.

    1. Michel said on September 2, 2016 at 6:29 pm

      I think you mean “graph“ rather than “grath“.

  4. Xircal said on August 31, 2016 at 2:42 pm

    Actually, does that chart represent how Microsoft is structured internally? Like chaotically since the first column on the left is dated April 2015 while the second one is April 2016. That’s OK since it presumably shows the increase over a one year period.

    But then the third column is dated August 2015 while the next one is December 2014. Eh?

    And then we have December 2015 followed by February 2015. Does Microsoft work on a different calendar to the rest of the world? I always thought February came before December.

    A little later on we have November 2014 to November 2015. But if the intention is to demonstrate Windows 10’s lead, why include any date in 2014 when nobody except Microsoft presumably had even heard of Windows 10?

  5. fena said on August 31, 2016 at 6:00 am

    Here in Thailand when you go to high-end computer stores the main OS installed is either Freedos or Linux. I am not kidding yes it’s 2016 here too.

    1. Xircal said on August 31, 2016 at 2:09 pm

      Very true, but the price you see advertised for the the machine is a barebones package. You have to pay extra to have an OS installed along with whatever software you want in addition to that. Since Microsoft instructed vendors to cease installing Windows 8.1 or lower the only choice left now is Win10.

  6. Earl said on August 31, 2016 at 2:56 am

    You mean 39% of *Windows* PCs, since your chart only shows Windows systems.

  7. Anonymous said on August 30, 2016 at 10:26 pm

    My opinion is Microsoft should be very prudent annoncing huge numbers like that. Ask to Apple about the cost of such outbidding:

  8. Tony said on August 30, 2016 at 9:48 pm

    Trusting a for-profit corporation to provide accurate statistics? No way.

  9. Bobo said on August 30, 2016 at 9:46 pm

    Then there’s the option that Microsoft are LYING. They have become experts in that field in recent years, so that’s the most certain reason for Windows 10 sudden, amazing fairytale success. Emphasis on the word fairytale..

    1. Michel said on September 2, 2016 at 6:23 pm

      MS didn’t become an expert in lying over only recent years. It’s been “cheap“, say, from the start. A cie as rich as MS is and has LONG been has no credibly good excuse, imo.

  10. Xircal said on August 30, 2016 at 8:16 pm

    Martin, how about amending the headline to: “Windows 10 not working on 39% of all PCs” ?

    Just kidding :)

    1. T J said on August 30, 2016 at 8:45 pm

      @ Xircal

      “Just kidding :)”

      You only wrote that in case MS send the Death Star storm troopers to eliminate you :P

      1. Xircal said on August 31, 2016 at 2:12 pm


      2. Tom Hawack said on August 30, 2016 at 9:04 pm

        It’s all my fault, I mentioned the aliens first then roughly 30% of the readers bounced on the word :)
        Maybe 20%? 10? – TJ did! meepmeep did, Malmack as well. But I’d bet all readers who didn’t comment had a higher ratio of aliens in their thoughts than those who did post. It’s my stats, after all!

  11. Yuliya said on August 30, 2016 at 7:23 pm

    According to statcounter it’s got like 23% worldwide. It’s interesting to look at different countries, in some W10 seems to be the most used OS with over 30% share. Which makes the average a lie, in Ukraine for instance it has around 16%.

    Many people install Windows 7 and not enable updates at all. I wonder if they (can) count those users too. By default 7 has CEIP disabled as well.

  12. meepmeep said on August 30, 2016 at 7:13 pm

    Does this mean that aliens only drive Fords?

    1. Gary D said on September 1, 2016 at 1:03 am

      @ meepmeep

      No, but coyotes chase road runners ! meepmeep :-)

    2. Malmack said on August 30, 2016 at 7:58 pm

      No, you Dummy. Aliens drive Linux GTI AWD. No costs, easy maintenance and lots of accessoires for free, too. Fixed or repaired daily ?? No, thanks. I am an Alien and have heard about some of the humans are driving it. Why ? No idea. Maybe they enjoy their sparkplugs flying out of the hood. Must be the same ones who use Windows10. Well, you people down there do have a strange kind of taste and you are so easily to manipulate. On the other hand, please continue. Up here we are having so much fun with your performance. Thank you all from the bottom of our glibbery statistics immune hearts.

  13. C0M said on August 30, 2016 at 7:03 pm

    Hyped numbers in my opinion.

    I went to Mediamarkt today and asked about an Huawei phone with Windows 10 mobile.
    The girl looked at me as an alien.

    Then went to the PC store and asked about Surface: they have it exposed, but it is greatly ignored (as per Mediamarkt worker opinion).

    It seems to me that some Point of Service are heading the customers towards other options.

    1. T J said on August 30, 2016 at 8:38 pm

      @ COM

      “The girl looked at me as an alien”. That’s because you were not driving a Ford.

  14. Jeff said on August 30, 2016 at 7:02 pm

    In the end, Windows 10 might be another forced “success” but I don’t see the Universally Failed Platform taking off against Win32 aka Desktop apps except for Games and online service-apps like Facebook, Pandora, Netflix etc.

    1. Gary D said on August 30, 2016 at 8:33 pm

      @ Jeff

      “Games and online service-apps like Facebook, Pandora, Netflix etc”.
      My Laptop has a huge tantrum and shuts down if I try to load any of the above ! :- (
      It must be an AI machine that believes it is too superior and sophisticated to run such stuff. :-)

  15. Henk van Setten said on August 30, 2016 at 6:55 pm

    And here’s a news flash from Ford:

    “Since the successful 1957 introduction of the Edsel, we’ve worked hard to keep making it a better experience for everyone all the time. People really did appreciate our efforts, and many did upgrade their Ford to a new Edsel.

    And we never ignore the feedback of our insider program supporters and our regular consumers! For example, in 1960, to satisfy a tiny group of whining consumers, we removed the much-too-conspicuous Edsel badge from all our Edsel models. As a result since then our Edsels have become even better: they now all look exactly like any other regular Ford. All Fords are now in fact Edsels; all Edsels have become Fords. Consequently, the sales of Edsels exploded!

    So we’re happy to tell you that today, in 2016, 97% of all cars sold by Ford dealerships are Edsels.”

  16. RG said on August 30, 2016 at 6:51 pm

    You can hate MS all you want, there is justification for it, but 15 year old OS version is still a point of contention? Neither MS nor users should care for XP, it’s far past the point of being silly to talk about.

  17. Chakra said on August 30, 2016 at 6:31 pm

    Is nobody going to address the fact that the x-axis seems to be completely randomized?

    1. MrHandsome said on August 30, 2016 at 7:07 pm

      Its alphabetically sorted….

  18. Tom Hawack said on August 30, 2016 at 5:55 pm

    100% of the planet’s population are composed of human beings if aliens hide correctly.
    I had a teacher who’d tell us “there are two means to express anything and its opposite : stats and dialectic”. I think I agree. Numbers, even if correct to what they apply can be instrumentalized when compared to others and localized in inappropriate points of reference. Not my cup of tea as a basis of decision.

    1. Michel said on September 2, 2016 at 6:12 pm

      There’re three types of “averages“, mean, median and mode, and they can wildly differ.

      Understand the differences and you’ll then be able to easily see how stats, using so-called averages, can drastically provide different results. The results can be very similar, maybe even all working out to be the same; but, expect even wild differences.

      Often-times, we’re reported average … (bla bla), but the reports don’t specify which of the three averaging measures are used! Etc.

    2. T J said on August 30, 2016 at 6:02 pm

      Tom, when I see percentages listed I recall immediately the quote “there are lies, damned lies and statistics”.

      1. Oxa said on August 30, 2016 at 7:53 pm

        That’s about all that most people know about statistics. Sigh.

      2. pHROZEN gHOST said on August 30, 2016 at 7:17 pm
  19. Gary D said on August 30, 2016 at 5:49 pm

    DVDRambo, I agree with you 100 %.

    MS can fool some of the people all of the time, al of the people some of the time BUT can not fool all of the people all of the time.

    For example, the Metropolitan Police in London still has 25,000 PCs with XP installed. The situation is the same in the 40 + UK Police areas.
    Before someone posts about the Met and the other Police areas being a Hackers Paradise, the Servers and Firewalls were installed by GCHQ (the equivalent of America’s NSA).

    Can I have a large slice of disbelief (in MS stats) with my coffee please.

    1. silat said on September 4, 2016 at 6:09 pm

      Metro Police are changing……Slowly for the moment.
      But they are changing.

    2. Michel said on September 2, 2016 at 6:02 pm

      Are you sure about “the Metropolitan Police in London“?

      I might be wrong in this judgment but think it’s surprising that police forces using Windows aren’t upgraded to Win 7, which I read is good.

      I’m not a Windows expert and am only speaking based on what I think to have gathered, right or wrong.

      1. Gary D said on September 2, 2016 at 6:46 pm

        @ Michel

        I am 100 % sure about this. The reason UK Police, Local Government, National Health Service, etc., have not upgraded is because the Legacy software they are all using plus the hardware peripherals (MRI, X-Ray, printers, etc) would cost a huge amount of money to replace. Not only that, all staff would need to be retrained on replacement software and hardware.

  20. Corky said on August 30, 2016 at 5:43 pm

    What i find most interesting about Microsoft’s numbers is the relation between the numbers and percentages, for June they report 39% and they also announced in June that Windows 10 was on 350 million devices.

    I’ve not done the exact maths but doesn’t that mean Windows is only on something like 1 billion devices in total, if so it makes their claim of Windows 10 being on 1 billion devices by 2018 rather laughable as that would mean 100% of their customers running it.

    1. Jeff-FL said on August 30, 2016 at 9:36 pm

      I’m pretty sure MS conceded in July that they won’t achieve the 1 billion goal by 2018. They won’t come anywhere close to it. It was a pipe dream – and once again they horrendously misjudged the market. There is no market desire for a unified OS (Apple doesn’t bother trying to unify OSX and iOS).

      This was all just a grand scheme to get a strong foothold in the ‘app market’, and try to make the Windows Store a thing, trying to get desktop users to use mobile apps.

    2. Martin Brinkmann said on August 30, 2016 at 6:17 pm

      Corky, the 1 billion goal includes all device types (mobiles, Xbox, IoT..).

      1. Corky said on August 30, 2016 at 7:19 pm

        Indeed, even so it still seems laughable, like i said I’ve not done the exact maths and added up everything but given Windows phones are all but non existent and the Xbone has sold around 20 million we’re still talking something close to 100%

  21. DVDRambo said on August 30, 2016 at 5:26 pm

    Vista and XP are still on roughly 10% (both combined) of computers. I find it amazing that Microsoft chooses to provide a fake number by “ignoring” the fact that “old” Windows is ~10%, Linux is ~2%, Chromebooks ~2%, Macs ~5%. They choose to ignore 19% of desktop/laptop OS’s to show that Windows 10 is a success. Their statistically wrong number, and Wikipedia’s report that in 2015 Windows was only 11.8% of the operating system on ALL deivices, serviers, phones, etc., show that Microsoft is really working hard to make their fading glory look better than it is.

    1. Tim said on August 30, 2016 at 6:16 pm

      These stats are for developers, not some sort of p*ssing contest. How many developers do you think are still interested in developing for Vista or XP? Even Free and Open Source Software developers have been removing support for Windows XP and Windows Vista in their software and concentrating on Windows 7 upwards.

      1. Michel said on September 2, 2016 at 5:50 pm

        I didn’t notice that the article by Mark refers to Windows in other than general terms. Iow, I didn’t notice him referring to general or developer Windows users. If I’m mistaken about that, then, svp, respond with an appropriate quote from the article. Otherwise, it seems, to me anyway, that he’s referring to all Windows users.

        He says the following, however.

        Quote: “If you open the Windows Trends page on the Microsoft developer site, you will notice the following values for June 2016: ….“

        That’s for the usage stats noted and reported by “the Microsoft developer site“, but do these only reflect use by developers, or all Windows users, combined; I wonder? After all, the stats that Mark is reporting from “the Microsoft developer site“ might be only or else mostly relevant for Windows software developers, whereas not for Windows usage in general.

        If not mistaken with this guess, then I think that developers are going to be working with new versions of Windows, maybe any OS, much more than general users will be switching to upgrade their OS. Proportionally speaking, developers who’re active with their work surely will prepare for new versions of OS’s, so changes in their software will happen sooner than general users will seek to upgrade. After all, and unlike with many Linux distro’s, upgrading Windows becomes costly.

        Maybe not a majority of XP users have upgraded, but plenty would like to continue to use XP, saving plenty of $, esp. when MS frequently upgrades, seeking more profit, endlessly.

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