Windows by the numbers: Windows 7 hits the accelerator as support cliff nears

“Friends, users, countrymen, lend me your ears.
I come to bury Windows 7, not to praise her.
The evil that software does lives after it;
The good is oft interred with its bones.
So let it be with Windows 7.”
– Windows 10

Orating the funeral of a venerable predecessor is what Windows 10 does these days. And it’s happy to do so.

According to data published Friday by analytics vendor Net Applications, Windows 10’s share of all personal computers jumped 1.9 percentage points – the fourth consecutive month with gains of a full point or more – to end October with 54.3%. Meanwhile, Windows 10’s portion of the user share of all Windows PCs rose to 62.7%, closing in on the major milestone of two-thirds.

(The percentage of Windows PCs is larger than the percentage of all personal computers because Windows does not power every desktop or notebook. In October, Windows ran 86.8% of the world’s systems. Of the remainder, all but a quarter of one percent ran macOS, Linux or Chrome OS, with Apple’s operating system the largest of the trio.)

As always in the zero-sum struggle for user share, Windows 10’s advance foretold Windows 7’s retreat. In October, Windows 7’s share dropped by 1.3 percentage points to 26.9% of all PCs and 31% of those powered by Windows of one flavor or another. Last month’s decline was the smallest in the last four months, but still represented a 25% increase over the average of the last 12.

There’s no question that Windows 7’s decline has accelerated. Over the last six months, Windows 7 has shed more than 9.5 percentage points, or three-fourths of all losses in the past year. The six-month number was a record for the 10-year-old operating system. And Windows 7 rang up losses of 4.9 points during the past three months, a slightly faster clip yet.