Windows 8 grows slow, XP just won't go

No good news from April's usage share numbers for Microsoft as Windows 8 continues to underwhelm and XP resists retirement

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Microsoft was hit with a double whammy last month as it made scant progress in either boosting the usage share of Windows 8 or depressing the share of Windows XP, data published today showed.

According to Internet analytics company Net Applications, Windows 8 gained just over half a percentage point of usage share in April -- virtually the same as the month before -- but again fell further behind the pace set in 2007 by Windows Vista, the edition most see as Microsoft's last dud.

Windows 8's April share, including what Net Applications labeled as "touch" for Windows 8 and Windows RT -- in other words, browsing from the "Modern" user interface (UI) rather than the mouse-and-keyboard UI of the traditional desktop -- was 4.2% of all Windows PCs, up from March's 3.6%.

Even with that increase, the gap between Windows 8's and Vista's adoption trajectories again widened.

By the end of its sixth month, Vista powered 5.8% of all Windows PCs, or 1.6 percentage points higher than Windows 8 at the same point in its post-release timeline. April's difference between Vista and Windows 8 was several tenths of a point larger than the month before, and the biggest so far in Computerworld's year-long tracking.

Windows 8's performance was not the only bad news for Microsoft last month: Once again, Windows XP's usage share resisted meaningful erosion, dropping by only half a percentage point.

XP's elimination has become a top priority for Microsoft, as the 12-year-old OS faces a support retirement deadline of April 8, 2014, when the company will serve up XP's final security update.

In April, Windows XP accounted for 41.7% of all Windows systems worldwide, down from 42.2% the month prior, Net Applications said.

Projections of Windows XP's remaining share in April 2014 did not change. Based on its average monthly loss over the past year, XP will power 30.5% of all Windows PCs when the retirement deadline arrives.

Net Applications also reported on usage shares for Windows 7 and Vista.

The former remained flat at 48.7% of all Windows PCs, again illustrating that it hasn't been affected by the launch of Windows 8. In fact, most experts believe that Windows 7 will continue to gain share as enterprises abandon XP for it rather than the more radical Windows 8.

Vista slipped slightly in April, but still accounted for more than 5% of all Windows' editions.

Net Applications measures operating system usage by tracking unique visitors to some 40,000 websites operated by its customers.

Gregg Keizer covers Microsoft, security issues, Apple, Web browsers and general technology breaking news for Computerworld. Follow Gregg on Twitter at @gkeizer, or subscribe to Gregg's RSS feed . His e-mail address is

Read more about operating systems in Computerworld's Operating Systems Topic Center.



  • zedeyejoe I have Windows 7 awful my system crashes every day with a little tweak introduced in Vista I want a reliable system that I can run my old software on
  • blessyz I didnt work when it first came out Compatibility sucked
  • thefalcon No the Lenovo hinges failed after 17months Its fast enough its the software Im talking aboutIts like driving a tractor after the Apple software which is altogether more refined intuitive and thought through to make tasks pleasanter and usually quicker The way the folders are organised is just one example how the word processor functions is another Its a class act trust meI resisted Apple for years and wasnt prepared to spend money on Windows 8 which as far as I can see is an Apple imitation in many ways Id bet good money that its nowhere as good and still full of annoying bugs and clunkinessThe Apple system is pure class as a user experience and thats it Good luck with your Windows 8 and your Lenovo hinges
  • GG Zaphod Win 8 is just trying to turn the humble pc into a giant mobile phoneHaving the same platform on desktopslaptops and tabletsphones just does not work they are too different for the platform to be able support both properly When you see computer shops openly talking of upgrading windows 8 pcs to windows 7 for a fee then you realise that win 8 is far more of a dead horse than vista ever was and that is saying something Microsoft need to ditch the whole idea before they become a laughing stock again Vista destroyed their reputation - 7 went some way to restoring it and now 8 is destroying it again
  • Bigjacobs Youre comparing very old Windows machines with a 1000 top of the range laptop Mac This is hardly a fair comparison I purchased a new Lenovo with Win8 for a little less than a MacBook and find it loads instantly and works well similar to your experience
  • thefalcon Its madness I have two old laptops with Windows XP and since March a MacBook Pro The Lenovos hinges broke making new hardware a necessity After 20-odd years of Microsoft I moved over to Apple and the difference is startling The chips etc are similar spec but the Mac wakes up in seconds rather than long laborious minutes waiting often for interminable Windows upgrades to sort themselves outEverything works sweetly and smoothly The terrible infuriating clunkiness of Windows is replaced by a product that is a delight to use Its like having moved from hell to heaven in one bound I will not be going back
  • Carfilhiot Windows 7s 64-bit version is miles better than XPs one and more backwards compatible So if like me you have a real need to access more than 3Gb of RAM 7s the only game - well apart from 8 but we wont go there
  • In A Flap I still keep a desktop PC running XP as it seems to handle some video conversion tasks far better than windows 7 I will not upgrade to windows 8 as it means an entirely new office pro suite at a cost of several hundred pounds to use it as it does not handle office 2000 which I have been using happily since 2000 surprisingly enough
  • Ray Reynolds Even Currys PC World still use XP in their POS computers so why would anyone want to change from it Even Windows 7 is not as user friendly as XP and what company wants to spend loads of money changing from an OS that works and is compatible with all their hardware to something that is less user friendly and doesnt offer any improvement that anyone wants
  • Anteaus people dont wish to replace something if it still worksTrue although the major issue is that the cost of ownership of Windows 7 is much higher Being so unnecessarily complex makes tasks like setting up a LAN so much more time consuming Then if you need to transfer or backup user profiles you have all those problems with re-entrant junctions And so on
  • Jack Jones As a home user with 4 desktops and 2 laptops in the house I cant see ANY reason to upgrade any of them to Windows 8 Some of them run Vista perfectly happily the rest are on Win 7Ive tried Win8 and find it counter-intuitive unpleasant and distracting and offers absolutely nothing more than Ive already gotIts also stopped me buying any new PC hardware for a while I normally get a new machine every year and when we built my sons PC last summer we bought a copy of Win 7 for it instead Microsoft appear to have completely lost their minds over the whole Windows 8 fiasco
  • ron why get rid of xp that works the fact that 30 of the market still have it use your thinking tank add a special up grade to all xp windows for a small price keep xp windows
  • Rudy Rene Andre Maertens windows 8 only makes sense if you have touch screen i have upgraded my touch screen devices but i dont see the point of windows 8 on a non-touchscreen device
  • Colin McCormick This article would be so much clearer with a chart
  • Solarific Yep My XP driven Dell Optiplex GX620 still does what I want it to do and my AutoCAD 2008 likewise so why should I have to upgrade either just to give Microsoft and Autodesk more profitEventually I guess Ill be forced to renew my PC but its 7 years old and counting
  • Rowan Gonzalez I honestly didnt expect Windows XP to stay for such a long time I guess many people dont wish to replace something if it still works
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