Survey: XP Users Aren’t Upgrading to Windows 7

By  |  Wednesday, November 11, 2009 at 6:00 pm

Windows Vista users are flocking to Windows 7, but a considerable number of holdouts are resistant to upgrading from Windows XP, according to an InfoWorld survey that was taken over the past several weeks.

The survey found that Windows 7 now has approximately 4 percent market share among 20,000 systems that it monitors through the The network is administered by Devil Mountain Software, and tracks users who have chosen to opt in.

The new Windows 7 users don’t seem to be Windows XP defectors–that OS’s share is holding steady at 64 percent. And almost three years after Windows Vista’s release, its market share has barely cracked 30 percent. InfoWorld noted that Windows Vista appears to be losing market share as Windows 7 increases in popularity. However, I’m hesitant to accept whether there is any actual correlation without having seen the data.

Another recent survey by NPD Group reaffirms Windows 7’s popularity over its oft-criticized predecessor. It found that Windows 7’s initial boxed upgrades were up 234 percent over Windows Vista.

Microsoft offered significant pre-sale discounts for Windows 7. There has also been pent up demand for upgrades, because many businesses eschewed Windows Vista.

Windows 7 had a long beta cycle, and has received generally good reviews. In fact, I have not heard any real horror stories since it launched last month. That could be in part because there is no direct upgrade path from Windows XP to Windows 7: XP users must perform a clean install to upgrade to Windows 7, and I suspect many still have machines that are too wimpy for Windows 7, and will therefore get the new OS only when they buy new PCs.

We’d like to hear from you. Are you planning on upgrading to Windows 7, or are you sticking with what you’ve got (or looking for an alternative such as a Mac or Linux machine)?


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36 Comments For This Post

  1. John Baxter Says:

    Many XP users should not “upgrade” to Windows 7. They should, and over time will, retire or semi-retire the old machine that has XP and replace or mostly replace it with a new machine (bigger, faster, larger drive, fewer dollars than what it replaces) running Windows 7.

    Given sufficient space (not always the case) the XP machine won’t stop running just because it sees the new machine in the house.

    XP users who haven’t–and don’t work for companies that forbid it–should dump IE6 in favor of IE8 (and if they wish, Firefox for routine use–but many of them don’t know how to switch to Firefox).

  2. Jim Says:

    I can’t speak for anyone else, but I’m a Windows XP user (who skipped Windows Vista) and I’ve decided to setup my first Windows 7 PC. So far, so good.

  3. josh Says:

    I will not go from XP to Windows 7. I will wait until I get another PC that comes with Windows 7. It is easier that way. It gives me an excuse to buy a new PC. It is a matter of convenience rather than holding out for Windows 8 train-of-thought. I’ve heard nothing but positives about Windows 7. The issue of drivers in Vista is a non-issue as Windows 7 did not reinvent anything in that area.

  4. Tech Says:

    XP users probably think the hardware they are using is too old for Windows 7.

  5. razor Says:

    XP users don’t want to upgrade for a few reasons. From Vista to windows 7 you can upgrade. Without wiping everything out. From XP to windows 7 you cannot. You must erase everything. Backing up for some is a pain. USB drivers are slow. etc. some of the hardware is way to old. I know because my computer is 10 years old. on windows 7 it would just be sluggish. The same is probably true for windows vista from xp. It is a huge step. It wasn’t a smooth transition. It took too long. 5 years and vista was not a significant improvement. Nor did it do much.
    windows 7 is an improvement but also not significant but much better than vista.
    We should have gotten it for a little less than it was charged for.

  6. weatherbill Says:

    Many of us do not want to “upgrade” to windows 7 becasue we are so used to windows XP and know where everything is.

    Many of us are content and not buyng the hype of needing more….. our computing needs are met….. pitching us windows 7 is for corporate MS profits, thats all it is….its hype

    plus, windows 7 removed movie maker which xp has, so that was a really cheap thing to do Microsoft! Windows 7 is all about corporate greed and driving up stock prices

  7. gedion Says:

    windows 7 has more problems than it is worth. I bought win 7 family pack version with hopes of upgrading all win XP machines. Almost in all it failed. Mainly due to lack of hardware drivers for various cards that were automaticaly supported by XP. further more I would not recomend this for students with low budget. Many math, science and engineeing softwares that worked perfectly on XP, will not run on win 7. Maple, Autodesk or Autocads, many scsi drivers for laptops and desktops are missing leading to system freez. Microsoft did not say XP supported hardwares and softwares will not work on win 7. Win 7 also has the tendency to fail like NT4.0 in to blue screen.

  8. GlossGreen Says:

    I was an XP user and I agree with what the people here are saying. I don’t think that my laptop had the power to handle the new OS, so I was going to wait to get Windows 7. Coincidentally, my XP machine’s DVD drive and power brick died leaving me with a great reason to get a new laptop. I now have a new Sony Vaio with Windows 7. First impressions are that it’s an improvement over Vista and XP.

  9. AJ Says:


    Do us a favor and don’t troll. “Win 7 has the tendency to fail like NT 4.0 into blue screen?” Oh, please, get real.

    I will now give you the benefit of the doubt and pretend you are simply misinformed instead of a troll:

    Did you ever run the Windows 7 Upgrade Advisor software? You seem to have a lot of specialized software on your computer. From what you write, you should have gotten the Professional version which includes XP Mode. It sounds perfect for your situation, as the Family Pack is Home Premium only.
    What specs do your PCs have?

  10. Fessic Says:

    I’ll most likely run Windows XP until Microsoft stops supporting it. At that point, around 2014, I’ll probably migrate over to Ubuntu. If necessary, I may dual boot with ReactOS (for legacy XP games & apps).

  11. Jim Says:

    The hardware is too old on many Windows XP computers.

  12. John Says:

    Meh thier loss, I’m Liking Win 7 So far

  13. Drift Says:

    I’m not upgrading my XP machines (a desktop and a laptop) because their specs are simply too low for Windows 7, the former having 384MB of RAM and the latter being simply “too slow” with 7 (yet blazing fast with 1GB RAM and XP).

    I firmly believe there’s no point in upgrading from XP to 7 as machines designed and sized for XP won’t likely have enough resources to properly run 7, which is marginally less demanding than Vista.

    It’s quite obvious people are migrating from Vista to 7 as there are some obvious benefits (novelty, eyecandy, improved performance) not to mention the opportunity of leaving behind a “failed” OS (as perceived), and no significant performance hit, as almost all Vista machines can run 7 without issues.

  14. whbuild Says:

    No problems installing 7 on a 2004 Dell 4600. I prepared my pc for vista but decided to pass. Upgraded my video card to a fully supported card. Running flawless. Give it memory, dvd-rw, good graphics card and save money vs. a new pc.

  15. Chris Says:

    People can’t use xp forever, they need to move on. And, from what i’ve read, you don’t need to wipe your data to upgrade, it just gets moved into a folder called windows.old

  16. dale Says:

    as noted, when i need new hardware i’ll upgrade. I know what i run wont work, not about to reinvest everything to leave something im comfortale with.

  17. Michael Says:

    Hi David,
    I agree with your assessment that the lack of a clear upgrade/migration path from XP to Windows 7 prevents many users from moving.
    I ran into this problem myself since I’m thinking about buying a new shiny computer with Windows 7 soon, and I started doing some research about software products that should assist in the migration process.
    Most solutions I ran into – like the built-in Easy Transfer wizard, and various backup solutions all seem to have the same problem – they don’t transfer programs, only documents and files and there is always the possibility to leave something behind.
    I did, however, find a product called Zinstall ( ) that simply moves the entire old Windows XP into the new Windows 7 ( I think they use some VM technology to do that ) and lets you use both your new and old Windows at the same time.
    Once I buy my new PC I will give it a try and post my comments

  18. tester Says:

    there are plenty of people who are trying to derail msft business. InfoWorld is one of them. if anybody remember it, look at InfoWorld’s first review of Win 7. Those people are plainly mean spirited. I have no respect to behavior like that.

  19. George Says:

    Well I started to prep my XP desktop for the upgrade and about 45 minutes into backing up my hard drives I decided it wasn’t worth it. I’m not worried about the computer running Windows 7 but the hassle of moving all my files ugh. Not to mention how confused my wife would be with the new OS. I’ll be holding to XP ’till my hard drive dies.

    I did however upgraded my Vista laptop and so far I am happy with that.

  20. Rober Says:

    I have win7 and I tried to downgrade to XP but I had problems with the screen brightness. At work 20000+ computers still with XP and no plans to upgrade even though they are win7 capable laptops. XP is a good OS!

  21. william Says:

    What is the compelling reason for an XP user to spend money and time to upgrade to Windows 7?

  22. Rob Says:

    I plan to upgrade a Vista laptop to Win7 because the latter is superior in most respects and because the former is often problematic. My son wants one of our XP machines, used for PC gaming, upgraded because it needs an OS reinstallation — either XP or Win7 — and Win7 gives him DirectX 11 support and some of the pretty features he keeps trying to add to XP. My computer will soon be running Linux rather than XP, because XP is getting too old for Internet exposure and is too fragile, while Linux does all I need without fuss. The XP box for the youngest set will remain as is to support their edutainment titles. (Our file server is Linux already, running on what was once a Win98 box!)

    Vista to Win7: absolutely.
    XP to Win7: one in three.
    XP to Linux: one in three.
    Staying with XP: one in three.

  23. Dave Says:

    I purchased Windows 7 – it came with both 32bit and 64bit install options. I backed up my documents and settings using Easy Transfer and then installed Windows 7 64bit on top of the same partition as my Windows XP 32bit. The install process was smooth and successful, I then reinstalled Office 2007 and then performed a restore again using Easy Transfer – again it all went smoothly applying my Outlook settings and mail files. Windows 7 automatically found updated drivers and installed them – all hardware working as it did on Windows XP.

    The spec of my Windows XP PC despite being several years old easily supports Windows 7 and I experienced no learning curve and no confusion at all going from XP to W7 – its very easy to understand. Being confused going from XP OS to W7 OS is really not a valid argument, shame someone has so little respect for his wife.

    Movie Maker is part of a free download from Microsoft (Windows Live Essentials) so it not being part of Windows 7 is a non issue and therefore cannot understand weatherbill’s erroneous comment.

    Bottom line – as an XP user I am very happy to have installed Windows 7 on my PC. A decision I haven’t regretted.

  24. frank Says:

    Trashed vista, installed linux mint.
    Laptop works better and is more stable.
    Never looked back.

    So long Microsoft….

  25. justjimi Says:

    Just perhaps given that we’re in the middle of a major recession with untold numbers unemployed people don’t have the money to shell out of a new operating system no less brand new hardware that’s capable of running it. That “old” XP box seems pretty sufficient when your dollars are already competing for things like food or heat.

    And if individuals don’t have the money to spend, you can bet that business won’t be throwing much of it at Windows 7 right now, either.

  26. the cricket Says:

    if I have to do a clean start on my 15″ laptop I might as well move to a Mac, it’ll be perfect for my application.

    As far as my 8.9″ netbook goes, I have to stick with xp cuz it’s the only thing that’s going to be able to handle without glitches.

  27. JessicaD Says:


    You are correct in stating that there could be several application compatibility isses when migrating from Windows XP to Windows 7. To get your questions answered on the most common challenges around application compatibility when coming from a legacy operating system, why changes were made along the way, compatibility technologies inside the OS and methods for getting incompatible applications to run on Windows 7, please go here:

    Microsoft Windows Client Team

  28. David Worthington Says:

    Great comments folks. Thank you.

  29. Jeff B Says:

    I am a XP holdout, having never willingly migrated to vista, although 2 years ago I purchased a laptop that had Vista on it and loaded it with xp in dual-boot to run an older (and expensive) CADD program. I love XPs rock solid mature virtues and the fact that it’s more stable than my friends Mac too.
    I’m a computer tech and needed to know Vista and after using it I kinda liked it, but not enough to switch. So I kept my main workstation in XP… until Win7.
    After studying the Win7’s features I decided to configure my workstation in a dual-boot XP/Win7 64 config (which is a snap).
    The install was the easiest 35 minutes I’ve spent installing any OS and it works splendidly (ignore the Mac Ads). Finally, the 4GB memory limit is gone.
    I still need XP for a few games and that CADD program, but for a power user Windows 7 is well worth considering.
    2 weeks running, zero problems, zero crashes.

  30. Mike Gray Says:


    I’ve been on the Beta and RC since the beginning. No question that I’ll move to the RTM before next March. I circumvented Vista (spit)and came directly from XP. ‘7’ has matched XP for me and exceeded it but a shame that MS has made a balls up of the the upgrade process!

  31. rl1856 Says:

    XP works and Vista didn’t. While 7 seems to be everything Vista was supposed to be and wasn’t it is still too early to commit to what is essentially an unproven OS. While our desktops are only 3 years old, they are not powerful enough to fully exploit all of the features of 7. Therefore to upgrade to 7, I would also have to upgrade to new computers. That said, I may be in the market for a new laptop, which means I will probably receive 7 as the pre-installed OS. But 7 is definately not the reason for a potential laptop purchase.

  32. Balwindersingh Says:

    People must use windows xp more because windows xp is almost out of the road and will stop and windows xp will be a mith use windows xp, trust it

  33. Ed Says:

    What a lot of people have not noticed, is that if you look at the build numbers for XP, Vista, and Windows 7, they are all built on the NT platform. It appears that Vista was a mod to XP, and Windows 7 is still Vista with an upgrade. So where is this NEW operating system? It is just another patch, that quite frankly I found, IE still crashes on, even IE8. So there is no real reason to upgrade to 7, since XP is STILL the most stable Os since DOS 3.3…!!!!

  34. Kurtrix Says:

    A) The fault dear Brutus is in not in our stars, but in Microsoft. I don’t think they could have made the “upgrade” process; XP- Win7 any harder.
    B) As an engineer who has worked with “computers” since 1975. I’ve learned one thing. The average Joe/Jane doesn’t want to deal with pre-evaluating configurations, saving data, cleaning disks, resetting BIOS, traveling to Lords. They just want to flip in a disk, press go and restart the machine.
    C) I agree, XP users should just buy a new PC w/ win7.
    D) I’m not paying $ 0.000000000001 for upgrades to my XP machine. I’ll let it go extinct like the Dinosaur.
    E) Last year bought a 24″ iMAC, this year a Macbook Pro ! I am migrating away from the “Dark Side”

  35. Mark Says:

    The story and all of these comments have genuinely got me confused a bit. What if I’m running an Athlon x2 @ 2.6GHz, 2GB DDR2-800, and Nvidia GTS250 on an XP sys. I’m using SATA2 everything and the mb supposedly is made for vista. Now I know that the gfx card isn’t DX11, but wouldn’t I be able to upgrade to Win7?

  36. techwoo Says:

    Oh! Thank for nice post about Survey: XP Users Aren't Upgrading to Windows 7. If you want share more about this topic, you can read it at

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