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Corporations start testing Windows 11 in bigger numbers. Good luck

Accensure and L'Oreal among biz users, yet general adoption still well behind predecessor

Large corporations are starting to run Windows 11 pilot programs in anger, potentially helping to boost adoption of Microsoft’s latest operating system – whose popularity remains way behind its predecessor.

According to figures from Statcounter, a web analytics service that has tracking code installed on 1.5 million websites, Windows 11 was running on 16.93 percent of global PCs in December. This compares to 16.12 percent and 15.44 percent in each of the prior two months. The desktop version of Windows 10 was on 68.01 percent.

Steve Kleynhans, research vice president of Digital Workplace Infrastructure and Operations at market researcher Gartner, told The Reg the numbers collated by Statcounter are in the “right ballpark” and where he’d expect them to be.

“Most businesses have avoided making any substantial move to Win 11 so far, waiting for the first significant update. Now that 22H2 has shipped and we have gotten past the year end, I see a lot of enterprises planning fairly quick uptake,” he said.

“A lot of organizations are in or starting pilots this month, and planning to move new purchases over to Win 11 in the next few months once they are comfortable. Upgrades of existing systems are likely to take longer as there isn’t really a huge need until later in 2024 when the end of life for Win 10 starts looming,” Kleynhans added.

Microsoft will continue to support at least one Windows 10 release until October 14, 2025, though as Reg readers know, customers can continue to pay for custom support to keep receiving patches, firmware updates and more but it gets pricier.

Corporations tend to adopt a wait and see attitude before widely adopting a new OS, typically this is 12 to 18 months after launch. Consumer adoption hasn’t exactly set the world alight and some of the design choices possibly deterred folk, as did the hardware requirements.

Kleynhans told us "most users [in businesses] are not nearly as invested in the UI changes as a lot of tech people are.

"The feedback we get from most IT shops who have started testing is that their users settle in pretty quickly and are pleased that it looks more like their phone with the icons instead of tiles. And they do notice the generally better consistency across the UX which provides a more polished feeling," he added.

Microsoft launched Windows 11 on October 22 2021, even though it was never supposed to happen: Microsoft advised in 2015 that Windows 10 would constantly evolve with new features added, negating the need to wait for the next major release. It was described by Microsoft as "Windows as a service."

When it landed, Microsoft talked up the new security features in Win 11, including hardware root of trust via Trusted Platform Module (TPM) 2.0, Secure Boot, hypervisor-protected code integrity, and lest we forget, hardware-enforced stack protection.

Yet the hardware requirements Microsoft opted for meant it would not install on devices that didn't incorporate the latest TPM-equipped processor. Workarounds helped but weren't an elegant solution. Lansweeper said more than 40 percent of the devices tested across 60,000 organizations failed to pass the CPU test.

Microsoft reckons it is already seeing some wider adoption of its latest OS by corporates. Speaking in October on a Q1 earnings calls covering the three months ended September, CEO Satya Nadella said: "Accenture, for example, has deployed Windows 11 to more than 450,000 employees' PCs, up from just 25,000, seven months ago, and L'Oreal has deployed the operating system to 85,000 employees."

Windows 12, anyone? Expected release date is next year. ®

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