21st February 2024

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Windows 11 struggling to escape the shadow of Windows 10 • The Register

Many users are still steering clear of Windows 11 as Microsoft continues to shovel AI into its flagship operating system and prepares updates to mollify regulators.

The latest figures from Statcounter – there are no official numbers from Microsoft itself – paint a grim picture for the Windows vendor. Windows 10 does not appear to be going anywhere: in December 2022 it accounted for 67.95 percent of the market share and by December 2023 the figure was 67.42 percent.

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Despite the updates lavished on Windows 11 during that twelve-month timeframe, Windows 10 still reigns supreme.

Windows 11 grew from a market share of 16.97 percent in December 2022 to 26.54 percent in December 2023, although it is debatable how much of that came from Windows 7 hardware being retired. The obsolete operating system’s share dropped from 11.2 percent to 3.35 percent in the same period.

Hardware refresh remains a challenge. Microsoft’s stringent hardware requirements are a blocker for some users who might otherwise consider moving from Windows 10 to Windows 11. A PC capable of running Windows 10 would likely be just as capable of running Windows 11 if not for Microsoft’s insistence that a recent CPU and other hardware are necessary.

As any number of guides on bypassing the hardware requirements make clear, there needs to be more justification from a technical or performance perspective for Microsoft’s stance. Without much in the way of tempting new features in Windows 11, users are voting with their feet.

Looking ahead to 2024, other than the expected appearance of something that might or might not be called Windows 12, the most immediate update for both Windows 10 and 11 will be to make the operating systems comply with EU law.

Microsoft has promised to update Windows 10 22H2 and Windows 11 23H2 in the European Economic Area (EEA) with the ability to uninstall Edge and web search via Bing by March 6, 2024. EEA users will also get new interoperability feeds and be asked if they wish to sync their Microsoft account with Windows.

However, other than stripping out some failed experiments – such as the recent sunsetting of Windows Mixed Reality – there seems to be precious little in Windows 11 to tempt users away from Windows 10, and it does not look like this will change dramatically in 2024.

Even Microsoft appears to be facing up to Windows 10’s unwanted longevity. In November last year, it announced that it would bring its AI-infused assistance, Copilot, to Windows 10.

Shortly after, the company said yes – there would be Extended Security Updates to keep the lights on a little longer, as is custom. As usual, this is expected to come at an as-yet unspecified fee. ®

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