As of April 11, when Microsoft officially launched Windows 10 Creators Update, another version of Windows was given its final marching orders, Windows Vista. Data from NetMarketShare for March 2017 shows that 0.72 percent of all desktop users worldwide are still on Windows Vista. Factoring a total global desktop presence of 2 billion devices, that’s a whopping 14.4 million desktop PCs still on the now defunct operating system.
With that many users still on Windows Vista and absolutely zero support in terms of security, updates and tech support, it’s likely that many will move to Windows 10 this month. And yet, many will choose to remain on Windows Vista despite the security risks they face.
Vista was not the best of operating systems, but it was more highly rated than the previous Windows XP, which still accounts for 7.44 percent of all desktops worldwide. Microsoft tried to bring it on par with Windows 7 with the Platform Update in 2009, and then the Platform Update Supplement in 2011, but it was never able to deliver the kind of performance that Windows 7 could. That’s not surprising in hindsight when you realize that nearly 50 percent of the world’s desktops still run on Windows 7 – actually, 49.42 percent if you want to nit-pick!
But Vista has seen better days. Believe it or not, Windows Vista received the “Best of CES” award at the Consumer Electronics Show in 2007. It was also loved by gamers, who benefitted from DirectX 10’s better graphics and overall gaming performance, as well as support for new GPUs and video cards that were launching at the time.
Barely a year or two after its release, however, it started showing severe ‘withdrawal symptoms’, with several reports of users actually downgrading to Windows XP. Pretty soon, consumer adoption fell, business user satisfaction dropped, and the downward spiral had begun.
At its peak, there were 330 million Vista users – a little less than the 400 million that Windows 10 currently has. But as it was failing, Apple Inc., then much smaller than Microsoft, used it to promote their own Macs, and even invested money in advertising against Windows Vista as part of its “Get a Mac” campaign.
But habits die hard. As we just saw, there are still about 15 million Vista users around the world. Somewhere. Even that might come to an end as Microsoft shuts the last door on the operating system that was.
On the positive side, Windows 10 should see stronger adoption rates this year, now that new devices will ship with Windows 10 Creators Update out of the box. Moreover, business usage should also pick up pace, since Windows 10 offers an array of enterprise management tools as well as migration and analytics utilities, not to mention a host of security features and tools. And users finally upgrading from Vista to Windows 10 should contribute to marginal growth as well. Very marginal.
Right now, security is the biggest risk staring Windows Vista users in the face. Unless they upgrade to Windows 10 – which could mean trading in their older desktops – there’s every chance that a significant pool of nearly 15 million users will be targeted by hackers looking for personal data.
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