New stats make it clear: Windows 11 has a real problem getting Windows 10 users to upgrade

Statcounter shows Windows 11 has flatlined over the past few months in terms of adoption, and Windows 10 users aren't being tempted into upgrading.

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If you've been following Windows 11 in terms of its battle with adoption, you'll have doubtless noticed that Microsoft's desktop operating system has very much struggled to recruit fresh users - and some new stats underline exactly how wonky progress has been in one major aspect.

Windows 10 didn't shed users over the course of 2023 (Image Credit: Microsoft)

Windows 10 didn't shed users over the course of 2023 (Image Credit: Microsoft)

We're talking about attracting upgrades from Windows 10 users, in the light of the latest monthly figures for December 2023 which have just been published by Statcounter.

Those stats show that Windows 11 has basically remained flat for its market share in terms of worldwide Windows versions (for the last three months, in fact).

That alone isn't good, of course, particularly seeing as that final quarter of 2023 witnessed the launch of Copilot, which was initially exclusive to Windows 11 - but raised little interest. (It's now coming to Windows 10, as well, mind, after Microsoft decided Copilot user numbers are more important than Windows 11, evidently).

At any rate, that isn't the most worrying figure here for Microsoft. If you look at the adoption rates of Windows 11 and Windows 10 over the past year, the latter operating system hasn't actually lost any users.

As The Register pointed out, in December 2022 Windows 10 was on 67.95% adoption, and that only dropped by a tiny amount to 67.42% going by Statcounter's report for December 2023.

Now, Windows 11 did go up over the year - as you would expect - from 16.97% in December 2022 to 26.54% in the final month of 2023, but crucially, those gains didn't come from Windows 10 users.

Rather the rise for Windows 11 has been driven by Windows 7 and 8 users (mainly the former) migrating, with Windows 10 actually rising in market share throughout 2023 towards the middle of the year, before dropping back a bit later on.

Caution first

While this is just one set of figures - so we must be cautious about reading too much into it - Statcounter is painting a broad picture of a distinct lack of upgrades from Windows 10.

That said, the end of support deadline for Windows 10, which is due in October 2025, will soon feel like it's coming in fast, no doubt - and that could encourage considerably more upgrades.

We wouldn't bank on that too much, though, as Windows 11 has a problem with its system requirements ruling out a number of old PCs, due to them either lacking TPM, or having an older processor that isn't supported by Microsoft's newest OS.

We'll just have to see how the situation plays out, but given how things have gone lately, we're not expecting any meaningful change until later in 2024, most likely - and even then, the jury's out to some extent.

Darren has written for numerous magazines and websites in the technology world for almost 30 years, including TechRadar, PC Gamer, Eurogamer, Computeractive, and many more. He worked on his first magazine (PC Home) long before Google and most of the rest of the web existed. In his spare time, he can be found gaming, going to the gym, and writing books (his debut novel – ‘I Know What You Did Last Supper’ – was published by Hachette UK in 2013).

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