Windows 11: Is It Really Less Popular Than Windows XP? (spoiler: no)

here we go again.

A small IT management company, Lansweeper, is trying to boost its name recognition with another shocking press release about the adoption of Windows 11. The title is pure catnip to tech editors: “More Windows XP PCs Than Windows 11.”

It has succeeded! Just take a look at these silly headlines:


The basic numbers are literally the same, unbelievable. According to the company’s press release, only 1.44% of PCs are running Windows 11 as of April 2022, six months after Microsoft’s latest operating system was released. Another 6.6% are running “End of Life Operating Systems”, mostly Windows XP and Windows 7.

This would be a stunning fiasco for Microsoft if these numbers refer to the actual adoption rates of Windows 11. But a closer look at the report suggests that these numbers don’t really prove much of anything.

For starters, where does the data come from? According to the footnote in the press release, the company “scanned 10 million Windows PCs from a mix of Lansweeper (20%, enterprise) and Fing (80%, consumer).

So, let’s unpack that. Lansweeper is an asset management tool designed to identify all “assets” on corporate networks, including servers, routers, workstations, printers, monitors, and associated software. Fing, which was acquired by Lansweeper in 2020, makes its own network scanner and says: “Hardware and fingerprint recognition technologies make it possible to see the entire digital environment, from consumers and industrial IoT to OT [Operational Technology]. “

Neither of these two products is exactly the type of analysis tool likely to be found in the average consumer’s home. You must be a network administrator, or at least play one in your local domain, to use this stuff.

The beautiful chart included in this press release has some extra red flags in it. For one thing, 9.15% of Windows devices sampled are running Windows Server products. None of those will be eligible for an upgrade to Windows 11, and it wouldn’t make sense to replace a server operating system with a workstation operating system.

also: One in three business computers is “unable” to run Windows 11. Here are the upgrades they need

According to another beautiful chart, this graphic on a company blog post, nearly 9% of the workstations surveyed did not meet the minimum RAM requirements for Windows 11. Seriously? This number is set at 4 GB, which is the standard for every consumer PC sold in at least the past seven years. If this number is to be believed, then at least 1 million of the 10 million workstations they sampled are running with only 2 GB of RAM.

Windows 11 FAQ

All you need to know

All you need to know

What’s new in Windows 11? What are the minimum hardware requirements? When will your PC be eligible for the upgrade? We have answers to your questions.

One possible explanation is buried in another puzzling paragraph, which states that only about two-thirds of virtual machine workstations have enough RAM to meet Windows 11 standards. (Spoiler: You don’t have to buy additional hardware to increase RAM on a virtual machine. You only need to Change the setting in the virtual machine configuration file.)

There isn’t enough data to know what any of that means, but this sample seems to lean much more toward industrial IoT applications meant for business networks and consoles in physical and virtual workstations – those that don’t need the kind of hardware found in a consumer or business computer small.

So what percentage of your currently installed computer base is actually running Windows 11? Microsoft may know, but they don’t say. The last number I found on the company’s press site includes “1.4 billion monthly active devices running Windows 10 or Windows 11.”

One problem for anyone trying to measure combinations of devices is that Windows 11 and Windows 10 report themselves with similar version numbers. A recent install of Windows 11 is version 10.0.22000.613, while the latest version of Windows 10 is 10.0.19044.1586. This makes it difficult for web-based analytics frameworks to tell the difference. In fact, the US government’s data analytics program, for example, shows that 93.55% of traffic over the past 90 days (representing 1.8 billion visits from Windows devices) came from devices running Windows 10; There is no separate number for Windows 11 traffic.

also: Windows 11 FAQ: Our Upgrade Guide and Everything Else You Need to Know

This company is not the first to try to bolster its reputation by circumventing a number of questionable sources. One Windows ad network sent out a press release last month insisting that adoption of Windows 11 was as high as 19.3%, a ridiculous high.

The biggest driver of Windows 11 adoption will, of course, be in new PC sales. OEMs have sold more than 150 million new PCs in the six months since Windows 11 was released. It’s safe to say that most consumer PCs come with Windows 11 preinstalled, while most commercial PCs ship with Windows 10 (typically Companies upgrade by replacing hardware, not by letting employees download upgrades from Microsoft servers).

Either way, that’s tens of millions of new PCs running Windows 11.

If history is any guide, PC replacement cycles will push the installed base of Windows 11 to roughly equal status with Windows 10 in about three years. But you won’t learn that from a press release.

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