Windows 10 upgrades continue at a torrid pace

More than two weeks after the worldwide launch of Windows 10, Microsoft is keeping quiet about how many upgrades it's delivered. But third-party data suggests that the upgrade pace isn't slowing. The next major milestone? 100 million installs.
Written by Ed Bott, Senior Contributing Editor

The day after Microsoft launched Windows 10 worldwide, the company announced that the new OS was running on more than 14 million machines. Since then, executives in the Windows division have been quiet about disclosing follow-up numbers for Windows installations.

But a check of third-party data sources suggests that the upgrade pace is not slowing down.

StatCounter, for example, reported that worldwide web traffic from devices running Windows 10 was roughly 0.3 percent of the total in the week leading up to the July 29 launch.

Two weeks after the launch, for the week ending August 16, the share of traffic from Windows 10 devices had soared to nearly 20 times that level, or 5.4 percent.

Data from StatCounter

It's no coincidence that other Windows versions were down an identical amount, with the share of traffic from Windows 7 machines dropping 1.4 percent and the Windows 8.1 share declining even more precipitously. If the StatCounter numbers are even close to reflecting real-world usage, then roughly one out of every six Windows 8.1 machines has already upgraded to Windows 10.

Internal traffic numbers at ZDNet suggest even more dramatic momentum for Windows 10 among our audience, which is more technically sophisticated than the general population.

In the full week that ended a few days before the worldwide launch, about 1.8 percent of unique visitors to ZDNet were running Windows 10. Two weeks after the launch, 12.6 percent of all unique visitors to this site (roughly one out of every eight, including mobile devices) were using Windows 10.

ZDNet unique visitors (internal data)

[Note: The ZDNet traffic numbers include both PCs and mobile devices, unlike StatCounter's figures, which are for desktop operating systems only.]

ZDNet readers are apparently more eager than the general populace to trade in their old Windows for the new one. Visits from devices running Windows 7 dropped sharply, but the exodus from Windows 8.1 was even more profound.

At Neowin, the usually reliable Brad Sams reported this morning that the total number of Windows 10 installations is over 53 million, according to anonymous Microsoft sources. And that pace will probably continue for a while. I'm still hearing from Windows 7 users who reserved their copy of Windows 10 but haven't yet received the upgrade notice, which suggests Microsoft is still throttling the upgrade servers.

For those who are scratching their heads trying to do the math, keep in mind that the initial 14 million figure included 2-3 million machines upgraded to the final build by Windows Insiders between July 15 and July 29. In addition, Microsoft trickled the initial Windows 10 download packages out over the course of several days before the July 29 launch.

Microsoft's reticence to disclose installation totals beyond those initial figures might be strategic, with the goal of saving the next announcement for a very big number, like 100 million installations. At the current pace, that magic number could well be reached before the end of this calendar quarter on September 30.

It's not a billion yet, but it's a pretty good start.

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