The Ghost of Windows 10 Past shrinks back as Microsoft's axeman tiptoes ever closer

Usage of The-Update-That-Must-Not-Be-Named continues to tumble as May day approaches

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A fresh set of usage figures has the notorious Windows 10 October 2018 Update withering on the Redmond vine as uptake of November's jumped-up patchfest climbs.

There was good news today for pretty much everyone as Microsoft's disastrous 1809 update for Windows 10 saw its usage drop from 22 per cent in January to a mere 16.4 per cent in February, according to figures released by ad-slinger AdDuplex.

Over the 90,000 PCs surveyed by AdDuplex, last year's March update continued to top the leaderboard, although the November update strode from 15.2 per cent to 22.6 per cent. The data is culled from the 5,000 Windows Store apps that run the company's SDK and, in the absence of official stats from Microsoft itself, are a handy pointer to where things are at.

Support for 1809 for most editions is due to come to an end on 12 May 2020, and we really can't see any sort of life extension being granted. Support for the previous edition, 1803, ended in November last year for all but Enterprise, Education and IoT Enterprise license owners, but it still commands just under 5 per cent of PCs surveyed.

1809 might, of course, linger a little longer. Known also as the Windows 10 2019 Long Term Servicing Channel (LTSC), enterprises can keep getting mainstream support for the OS until 2024, with the plug finally being pulled on 9 January 2029. As a reminder, 1809 was infamously re-released on 13 November 2018 after a catastrophic debut and "support dates have been adjusted accordingly".

The figures are evidence that, following the hubris of 1809, a more cautious hand is at the Windows 10 tiller these days. Recent releases (particularly the November 2019 Update) have not been rammed with features that the majority of users neither know nor care about. This trend looks set to continue with the next update, due in the coming weeks, which includes a tweaked Linux kernel to please some developers, but otherwise is mostly free of the fripperies that blighted the operating system in previous years.

And that cautious approach has extended to the release cycle – the hysteria in 2018 that saw 1803 (the April 2018 Update) garner nearly 90 per cent of the survey are long gone. A slow, more measured rollout of updates on which users have the option of slamming the brakes means that any one version of Windows 10 is unlikely to trouble the 60 per cent mark before the next update arrives.

Things will start getting a tad more interesting again when Windows 10X finally puts in an appearance. ®

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