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Windows 10 has finally overtaken Windows XP in businesses

More than half of companies now have at least some Windows 10 PCs, says research.

The use of Windows 10 in business has now overtaken that of Microsoft's ageing and out-of-support Windows XP, according to a survey.

In March this year, Windows XP, which went on sale in 2001, was running on 14 percent of laptops and desktops in businesses across the globe, according to data from Spiceworks, and Windows 10 had a share of nine percent. Now Windows 10 is at 13 percent, while XP has slipped to 11 percent of desktops and laptops, according to the company.

The operating system to beat remains Windows 7 which, according to the survey, is running on 68 percent of PCs in business. Windows 8 has a share of five percent and macOS is at two percent.

According to Spiceworks, as of the end of July, 60 percent of global organisations were using Windows 10, which launched almost two years ago. This is perhaps not as impressive a statistic as it sounds because Spiceworks includes any company that has one or more PCs running Windows 10, although Spiceworks said that 60 percent adoption rate put Windows 10 ahead of XP, Windows 8, and Windows Vista. And it suggests that the majority of businesses are at least testing Windows 10, ahead of further deployment.

Spiceworks' data comes from companies that use its software to create an inventory of their organization's laptops, desktops, servers, and other network devices.

Peter Tsai, senior technology analyst at Spiceworks, said high-profile security issues like the recent ransomware attacks have put businesses under pressure to upgrade unsupported operating systems.

"While Windows XP is still running in some businesses, it's evident that more companies are beginning to recognise the security risks and prioritise upgrades in order to better secure their networks," he said.

According to Spiceworks, 42 percent of companies still have some Windows XP machines, 35 percent some Windows 8, and seven percent are still harbouring Windows Vista. The vast majority (84 percent) have Windows 7 running on some PCs too, although that is down slightly, by three percent, in the last three months.

Businesses with 100 to 500 employees were most likely to be running Windows 10, while both bigger and smaller companies were the least. Small companies may well lack the money or expertise to upgrade quickly, while large corporates often move very slowly on operating systems upgrades while checking for compatibility issues with legacy software.

And when examining the results by region, Spiceworks network data shows the proportion of businesses running Windows 10 is at its highest in EMEA, at 62 percent, followed by North America (61 percent), Latin America (58 percent), and APAC (55 percent).

The Spiceworks data is just one snapshot of how Windows 10 is doing, and there are a number of others: for example, according to Net Market Share, which looks at worldwide usage, Windows 10 has long overtaken XP (27 percent versus seven percent), while Windows 7 has just under half of the market at 49 percent.

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