Take Windows 11... please. Leaks confirm low numbers for Microsoft's latest OS

Time to rethink Windows 10 support cycle then?

Windows 11 is consistently failing to capture hearts and devices, if recent figures are to be believed.

First reported in WindowsCentral, active device usage of the operating system has apparently inched past the 400 million mark, according to an internal Microsoft document that leaked. This is far behind that of Windows 10 at the same point in the operating system's lifecycle.

While Microsoft has yet to formally comment on the number – this hack is currently at the company's London Envision event, which is swarming with staffers, none of whom want to talk about the success, or otherwise, of Windows 11 – it follows the same trend seen in other usage statistics.

Earlier this month, Statcounter figures put Windows 11 usage still some way behind Windows 10. As a reminder, Windows 10 took approximately two years to overtake the previous dominant player, Windows 7. Windows 11 (launched October 2021)… not so much.

Apologists for the operating system's performance would point to the very different conditions under which the software was launched. Windows 10 came on the back of the disastrous Windows 8 and 8.1 editions – as Windows 7 followed the self-inflicted catastrophe of Vista – and benefited from all manner of user encouragement from Microsoft. Occasionally, this included the OS slithering, unwanted, onto user devices.

Other than occasional nags, Windows 11 has not been forced down the throats of users of Windows 10 in quite the same way.

Windows 11 isn't a particularly bad version of Windows by any stretch of the imagination. Some elements of the user interface might grate a little, and there will always be users for whom one design choice or another will be loudly rejected – there were those, after all, who raged at the imposition of the Start Menu over the Program Manager of old. But the operating system itself is... fine.

Which, in a nutshell, is the problem. Windows 11 is simply OK. There's nothing particularly wrong with it except for its hardware requirements.

Indeed, with a vague assurance that things would be more secure, Windows 11 at launch required updated hardware – including recent CPUs – that necessitated many users to purchase new kit. When faced with choosing between the perfectly acceptable Windows 10 or splashing the cash on new hardware for Windows 11, users shrugged, and so Windows 11 has languished.

It has been some time since Microsoft released official figures around Windows usage, but the latest leak has confirmed the operating system continues to trail its predecessor. Windows 10 has just under two years left of updates before Microsoft intends to pull the plug, meaning Windows 11 has considerable ground to catch up in a constrained hardware market.

Unless the company blinks and keeps Windows 10 support going for just a little longer. ®

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