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Sluggish adoption of Windows 11 with more devices on unsupported OSes

With Windows 11, existing Windows 10 users have until October 2025 to update. Until they do, they will only get one OS update a year

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Just 0.52% of devices are running the latest Windows 11 operating system, according to data from Lansweeper based on an analysis of 10 million devices.

While the majority of devices checked (81%) run Windows 10, Lansweeper’s analysis found that 5.8% of machines are running the unsupported Windows 7 operating system, and 4.6% continue to run Windows 8 unsupported.

Despite the new Windows 11 operating system being available for three months, take-up has been extremely slow. The low adoption rate shows there are over 20 times more systems running unsupported versions of Windows compared with the new OS.

Even during the peak season around Christmas 2021, when people often upgrade to new devices, Lansweeper noticed an increase of only 0.3% in take-up of Windows 11.

“Although we can’t track previous adoption rates of Windows operating systems, it is fair to say that Windows 11 upgrades aren’t going as fast as Microsoft had hoped, especially within the business environment,” said Roel Decneut, chief marketing officer at Lansweeper. 

Decneut said the low adoption of Windows 11 may be due the complexity of upgrading and the fact that many devices do not meet the minimum hardware specification required for an automatic update. In fact, Lansweeper estimates that less than 45% of devices are capable of being upgraded.

“There are still devices being released to the market today that don’t have the hardware requirements to run it, and as Windows 10 will continue to be supported until 2025, there simply isn’t an urgent need to upgrade,” he added.

“If enterprises want to start adopting Windows 11, the main thing is to figure out which of their existing devices are capable of upgrading. The first step is to run a device audit to figure out how many devices can move to Windows 11. From there, organisations can review the urgency and need of new systems and start creating a migration plan for the coming years.” 

The availability of Windows 11 starts the clock ticking on end of support for Windows 10. Although more than four-fifths of the devices Lansweeper analysed are running Windows 10, Microsoft will officially support it until October 2025.

But because it is no longer the most current version of the Windows operating system, Microsoft is only committed to provide one update a year, compared to the bi-annual updates that Windows 11 users will now get. This means that the next update after the Windows 10 November 2021 update will not happen until the second half of 2022.

In a blog posted on 16 November 2021, John Cable, vice-president, program management, Windows Servicing and Delivery, wrote: “The next Windows 10 feature update is slated for the second half of 2022. We will continue to support at least one version of Windows 10 through 14 October 2025. As a second half (H2) of the calendar year release, Home and Pro editions of the November 2021 update will receive 18 months of servicing and support, and Enterprise and Education editions will receive 30 months of servicing and support, beginning today.”

Read more about Windows 11

  • Looking cynically at the fact that Windows 11 will be available as a free upgrade from 5 October, the timing of the new operating system release coincides with the need for to boost the PC industry.
  • One can see the reason why Microsoft saw a need to update Windows 10. Apple has been updating MacOS and has now moved its hardware away from the Intel x86 processor family to focus on its M1.
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