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Windows 10 is now the world's biggest OS, even though you hate it

Windows 10, which you hate, is now the world’s most widely-adopted operating system, according to a new report, even though you hate it. Despite the fact that you hate it, it has now dethroned Windows 7, which you don’t hate, as king of OSes. Not by a massive margin, admittedly – which is almost certainly because you hate it so much- but the graph’s only trending one way now, in flagrant ignorance of how much you hate Windows 10.

While the fact of this hatred-denying leapfrogging isn’t going to mean that a load of games suddenly become Win 10 exclusives overnight, in the long-term the certainty of 10’s dominance means we will see more and more software and drivers incline that way. In other words, give those clouds what-for while you’ve still got time, old man.

The Verge brings to light NetMarketShare‘s December 2018 report on desktop OS usage (based on visits to various websites – their claimed methodology is here, if you like). It posits that Windows 7, long-time OS overlord, now holds 36.9% of the worldwide install base, while Windows 10 has, as of last month, finally plucked up courage for a cheeky little overtake – it now sits at 39.22%.

I mean, sure, these numbers could flip again, but with new Windows PCs/laptops being almost exclusively sold with 10 pre-installed, software sellers generally pushing 10 over 7, and Microsoft due to finally end official support for 7 in 2020, it doesn’t look good for The Resistance. In fact, over in games-land specifically, Steam’s December 2018 hardware survey puts 10’s dominance as unassailable – 64.07% vs 7’s approx 27.69%. As with the worldwide install base figure, this is based on a sample rather than paints an exact picture for every single human on Earth

Win 10 negativity is, by and large, quieter than it used to be – the reality of using what is a relatively (but by no means completely) elegant OS is a fairly far cry from anxieties about Microsoft’s overly-aggressive pushing of it and its big, seasonal updates, privacy issues and whether it was even faintly necessary in the first place.

But, here we are. I don’t love losing a few hours every few months while it runs another more-or-less mandatory service pack (compare and contrast with how much more control Apple gives folk over when to update to a new version of OSX), having to irregularly fiddle with shenaniganised privacy settings again and work out how to shove some new and outrageously pointless frippery aside. By and large though, my day to day usage of Win 10 is issue-free, and I think it looks quite nice, apart from being exhausted by the ongoing divorce battle between Settings and Control Panel.

All told, Windows 10 is now installed on 700 million systems. This is not as good as it sounds because a) MS had originally intended to squeeze it onto a billion by now and b) a portion of that is phones, tablets and Xbones. This is all testament to the sheer staying power of Windows 7, now a decade old but which, yes, continues to do more or less everything it needs to, despite no longer looking particularly modern.

So, let’s raise a glass to Old Man Seven. He’ll be hanging around telling war stories for a few years yet (particularly to businesses, fearful of the logistical nightmares of upgrading all their systems), but those teeth’ll start dropping out soon.

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Alec Meer

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Co-founder of RPS. Dungeon Keeper & X-COM 4 Life.

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