Windows 10 Momentum Slows, Adoption Rate Still Outpacing Windows 7

During today's morning keynote at Microsoft Ignite we finally got to hear about the progress of Windows 10 across consumer and enterprise devices.

Richard Hay, Senior Content Producer

September 26, 2016

4 Min Read
Windows 10 Momentum Slows, Adoption Rate Still Outpacing Windows 7

During Microsoft's opening Ignite Conference keynote, Yusuf Mehdi, the Corporate Vice President for the Windows and Devices Group, shared that Windows 10 is now running on over 400 million monthly active devices. He added that this rate of adoption is outpacing Windows 7 by 115% overall.

This is the first momentum update we have heard from the Redmond company since June 29, 3016, just one month before the free upgrade offer ended for Windows 7 and 8.1 users.

That the number of monthly active users dropped following the end of the free offer should not be a surprise for anyone. That is the nature of cutting off a freebie, then offering the same item for $119 (Windows 10 Home) or $199 (Windows 10 Pro).

Of course, the momentum numbers Microsoft has been providing is a combined number that includes active devices on Windows 10 and no differentiation of whether those devices are in corporate environments or in your Aunt Sally's living room. 

Beyond the enterprise customers that are migrating to Windows 10, the spigot for increasing the monthly active users for Windows 10 from this point forward on the consumer side will now come primarily from new PC and tablet purchases.

So let's take a closer look at the last 14 months worth of progress for Windows 10 and see what the trends have been and just how much adoption dropped with the end of the free upgrade offer.

  • 14 million upgrades in first 24 hours of availability (July 29, 2015)

  • 75 million devices in the first month of availability (August 26, 2015)

  • 110 million devices (October 6, 2015)

  • 200 million active devices (January 4, 2016)

  • 270 million active devices (March 30, 2016)

  • 300 million active devices (May 5, 2016)

  • 350 million active devices (June 29, 2016)

  • 400 Million active devices (September 26, 2016)

Here is a look at the percentages of increase and decrease between each of these cycles:

  • 26 August to October 6, 2015 (41 days)

    • 2.2 million installs per day to 854K installs per day

    • Decrease of 38%

  • October 6, 2015 to January 4, 2016 (90 days)

    • 854K installs per day to 1 million installs per day

    • Increase of 15%

  • January 4, 2016, to March 30, 2016 (86 days)

    • 1 million installs per day to 814K installs per day

    • Decrease of 19%

  • March 30, 2016, to May 5, 2016 (36 days)

    • 814K installs per day to 833K installs per day

    • Increase of 2.5%

  • May 5, 2016, to June 29, 2016 (55 days)

    • 833K installs per day to 909K installs per day

    • Increase of 9.4%

  • June 29, 2016, to September 26, 2016 (89 days)

    • 909K installs per day to 562K installs per day

    • Decrease of 38%

Some key observations for these numbers:

  1. Not counting the change between the first 24 hours and the first month, the first drop off was 38% - the same percentage as the last cycle of numbers we just received.

  2. The steady increase over the period of 05 May and 29 June 2016 shows the final efforts of users grabbing the free upgrade offer before it was expected to expire. That was also the period that Microsoft got very aggressive on letting users know about that upgrade and there were reports of forced upgrades.

  3. The 38% drop in user adoption over the past three months is not a surprise, because when you stop offering something for free then people are going to stop taking advantage of it in droves. However, I actually thought the drop off would be higher in this case and so just under 40% drop off is not too bad overall.

So the job of continuing adoption of Windows 10 and feeding this monthly active users number now falls to the corporate environment. The question is whether there are enough corporate Windows 10 upgrades to meet the 1 billion device goal originally stated in 2015.

For instance, Mehdi mentioned the United States Department of Defense and their plans to eventually move 4 million devices to Windows 10, but you can see those kind of adoptions, while very big and impressive, do not move the monthly active user needle very far at all.

Of course, we will continue to keep an eye on these and other numbers from Microsoft so stay tuned for more.

Make sure you keep up with all of our Microsoft Ignite coverage both here on SuperSite: Windows and ITPro: Windows during this week.

But, wait...there's probably more so be sure to follow me on Twitter and Google+.

About the Author(s)

Richard Hay

Senior Content Producer, IT Pro Today (Informa Tech)

I served for 29 plus years in the U.S. Navy and retired as a Master Chief Petty Officer in November 2011. My work background in the Navy was telecommunications related so my hobby of computers fit well with what I did for the Navy. I consider myself a tech geek and enjoy most things in that arena.

My first website – – came online in 1995. Back then I used GeoCities Web Hosting for it and is the result of the work I have done on that site since 1995.

In January 2010 my community contributions were recognized by Microsoft when I received my first Most Valuable Professional (MVP) Award for the Windows Operating System. Since then I have been renewed as a Microsoft MVP each subsequent year since that initial award. I am also a member of the inaugural group of Windows Insider MVPs which began in 2016.

I previously hosted the Observed Tech PODCAST for 10 years and 317 episodes and now host a new podcast called Faith, Tech, and Space. 

I began contributing to Penton Technology websites in January 2015 and in April 2017 I was hired as the Senior Content Producer for Penton Technology which is now Informa Tech. In that role, I contribute to ITPro Today and cover operating systems, enterprise technology, and productivity.

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