Windows 11 remains an unloved OS – but why won't people upgrade?

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Windows 11 is still struggling to attract folks to upgrade, going by the latest stats on the desktop OS market from a major analyst firm.

TechSpot noticed the new figures for last month from StatCounter, one of the main outfits that keeps tabs on Windows versions and their relative levels of adoption.

So, on the cusp of two years after its release (technically, it was released two years ago, but the adoption figures are for September 2023), Windows 11 now holds a 23.6% market share.

For almost two years of existence, that’s not a very impressive inroad carved into the desktop OS world. What makes it worse is that the needle has barely moved for Windows 11 since April 2023, when it was at 23.1%.

In other words, over the past five months, Windows 11 has managed to gain 0.5%, which is a pretty poor show. Half a percent in almost half a year…

Windows 10 still holds a 71.6% share of the desktop market, with Windows 7 having dwindled away to 3.3% of diehards at this point.

Analysis: Why might people be avoiding Windows 11?

If we draw a comparison to what Windows 10 managed to reach in just under two years of its life, that was 36.6%, a good deal more than Windows 11 has achieved now. Indeed, at the two-and-a-half-year point, Windows 10 overtook Windows 7 – and clearly Windows 11 taking the desktop OS top spot isn’t going to happen in six months’ time.

Why is Windows 11 struggling so much compared to its predecessor? There are a few likely reasons, but a primary one is that it makes life more difficult in terms of upgrading.

New system requirements for Windows 11, most notably TPM (security) and ruling out older generations of processors, have left many folks with somewhat older PCs unable to upgrade even if they wanted to. At least not without modifying or upgrading hardware, which many PC owners aren’t keen on doing, frankly, especially not to get access to an operating system which isn’t all that different to Windows 10 at its heart.

That’s another major issue here. Yes, Windows 11 does make a good number of changes, but under the hood, deep down, it remains much the same OS as Windows 10 in many ways. So, there isn’t as much of a drive to upgrade in that respect.

Except maybe for gamers, who do get some interesting goodies with Windows 11 – and there’ll be more important stuff to come, certainly when DirectStorage gets wider support on the PC gaming scene – and that’s reflected in the current Steam stats for Windows 11. Those show Windows 11 securing a 37.4% market share with gamers on Steam, which is a good deal higher than StatCounter observes with everyday PC users.

Coincidentally, that level is about where Windows 11 should be for non-gaming users, if it had managed the same pace of adoption as Windows 10.

Other reasons folks may give Windows 11 a swerve include adverts sneaking into the OS more, privacy issues bound up in that, and some odd design decisions with the interface (like removing the ‘never combine’ taskbar option, though that choice has now been corrected). A steady stream of bug reports popping up and weirdly persistent problems like sluggish SSDs probably don’t help, either.

At any rate, it looks like Windows 11 adoption is going to continue to be a sluggish affair for Microsoft, and perhaps the only factor that’ll really speed it up is when the end of support starts to come into view for Windows 10. (That support deadline is October 2025, incidentally, so still two years away).

Via PC Gamer

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Darren is a freelancer writing news and features for TechRadar (and occasionally T3) across a broad range of computing topics including CPUs, GPUs, various other hardware, VPNs, antivirus and more. He has written about tech for the best part of three decades, and writes books in his spare time (his debut novel - 'I Know What You Did Last Supper' - was published by Hachette UK in 2013).