Over 100 million PCs still run Windows 7 a year after Microsoft ended support

Windows 7

Microsoft pulled the plug on general support for Windows in January 2020, ending what had been a 10-year run. But instead of withering away and settling into the footnotes of OS history, it is estimated that Windows 7 is still running on more than 100 million PCs, and perhaps way more.

Remarkably (or oddly, depending on your perspective), Windows 7 actually increased its share of the Windows OS market in December, according to data pulled by NetMarketShare. It went from holding an 18.78 percent share of all PC OSes in November to 19.71 percent in December.

That's just shy of a full percentage point. It also amounts to one out of every five PCs running an OS that is no longer generally supported. However, enterprise customers can still pay for extended support through January 2023 as a "last resort option," as Microsoft calls it. Unfortunately, NetMarketShare does not discern between enterprise/business and home consumers in tallying market share figures, so there is no way of knowing the split.

It's also tricky business converting market share figures into actual usage figures. Be that as it may, Ed Bott at ZDNet ran some calculations and concluded "it's clear that at least 100 million PCs are still running Windows 7," noting that the actual number might even be "significantly higher."

No doubt a large number of Windows 7 installs are enterprise systems in settings where performing wholesale upgrades would either be too expensive, or too headache-inducing, in terms of running legacy software. Perhaps even the majority.

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What about consumers who are concerned about privacy in Windows 10? They undoubtedly account for a portion of Windows 7 holdouts as well, but probably not nearly as much. That's certainly true among gamers. Taking a peek at Steam's latest hardware and software survey, the percentage gap between Windows 7 and Windows 10 is much wider—just 3.74 percent run Windows 7, versus 91.84 percent who are running Windows 10.

That amounts to nine out of 10 gaming PCs running Windows 10. Of course, Steam's survey has its flaws, just as any survey does. But it is the best metric we have for the PC gaming segment.

Are you still running Windows 7 on any of your PCs? Let us know in the comments section what OSes you run these days. And for those of you who are sticking to Windows 7, we'd be curious to know your reasoning.

Paul Lilly

Paul has been playing PC games and raking his knuckles on computer hardware since the Commodore 64. He does not have any tattoos, but thinks it would be cool to get one that reads LOAD"*",8,1. In his off time, he rides motorcycles and wrestles alligators (only one of those is true).