Windows 10 has surpassed Windows XP to become the second most-used operating system in the world. NetMarketShare figures from January show Microsoft’s latest version is running on 11.85 percent of global PCs, edging out Windows XP, which runs on 11.42 percent of machines.
The news will be a boost to Microsoft as it aims to get as many people to upgrade as possible. Microsoft wants 1 billion devices running the operating system globally in 2018. To reach this goal, the company is offering free upgrades to customers running Windows 7 and Windows 8.1 for Windows 10’s first year of availability.
Windows 10’s market share has grown quickly since the OS launched in July. Last month, Microsoft revealed that Windows 10 is the fastest-growing version of Windows ever, with over 200 million installations complete.
Windows 7 is still far ahead in first place, in use on 52.47 percent of the world’s computers. The 6-year-old OS may not stay on top forever, however. Gartner predicted in November that Windows 10 would beat even Windows 7 to become the most widely installed version.
There are plenty of reasons for users to upgrade. The release refines many of the concepts introduced in Windows 8, like a touch-friendly interface, while ditching some of the more confusing aspects that left keyboard and mouse users befuddled. It also introduces new features like a voice-activated personal assistant, known as Cortana, that runs on the Bing search engine.
Windows 10 is also boosted by its system requirements. New versions of Windows typically demanded better and faster hardware to run the new features. In Windows 10’s case, the requirements match Windows 8.1 and only marginally increase from Windows 7.