Users abandon Windows 7 as 2020 time bomb nears

Windows 7 users are beginning to abandon their ageing software and finally upgrade their devices to Windows 10 in greater numbers.

According to data from NetMarketShare, the number of users still running Windows 7 worldwide has decreased dramatically over the last month.

The trend over the past year has been the slow decline of Windows 7’s market share in favour of Windows 10, but this has accelerated recently.

One major factor which could have contributed to the sharp decline of Windows 7 user numbers is the looming end-of-life deadline set out by Microsoft.

The company has stated on numerous occasions that it will officially end support for Windows 7 on 14 January 2020.

Despite this quickly-approaching deadline, however, almost a third of all PC users in the world are still using the older operating system.

Big drop

While the percentage of Windows 7 users is decreasing, it is not falling quickly enough to prevent potential widespread security vulnerabilities in January 2020.

More users seem to be catching on to the potential risks of using an unsupported operating system, with the market share of Windows 7 decreasing by almost 4% this past month.

Windows 10 saw a proportionate rise in market share, with almost 50% of all desktop users now using the latest Windows operating system.

Below is the market share of the top five desktop operating systems over the last month.

Operating System March April May June July
Windows 10 43.62% 44.10% 45.73% 45.78% 48.86%
Windows 7 36.52% 36.43% 35.44% 35.38% 31.83%
Mac OS X 10.14 5.40% 5.23% 5.34% 5.31% 5.38%
Windows 8.1 4.13% 4.22% 3.97% 4.51% 5.29%
Windows XP 2.29% 2.46% 2.22% 1.81% 1.68%

Time bomb

Historically, it has been difficult to migrate a large number of Windows users to newer operating systems, and many are inevitably a few years too late in switching over.

The same thing happened with Windows XP, and attackers were able to exploit vulnerabilities years after Microsoft had urged users to change over. Many victims of these hacks were companies who did not have the knowledge or resources necessary to complete a system upgrade.

In addition to issuing regular statements urging customers to upgrade, Microsoft has also listed warnings on its website aimed at convincing customers to buy a Windows 10 licence.

“While you could continue to use your PC running Windows 7, without continued software and security updates, it will be at greater risk for viruses and malware,” the company said.

“Going forward, the best way for you to stay secure is on Windows 10.”

Like the 1.68% of people still using Windows XP, it will still be possible for users on Windows 7 to continue without upgrading, but this will leave their systems vulnerable to potential exploits in the future.

Now read: New cloud reinstall option for Windows

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Users abandon Windows 7 as 2020 time bomb nears