Windows 11 adoption appears to be stagnating

Windows 11, which launched six months go, appears to be flatlining in terms of uptake in the month of March, according to one data source. It's being used on one in five systems, and Microsoft says adoption has been faster than with Windows 10.

win11 workarounds 04 centered taskbar
Eric Geier / IDG

Windows 11 adoption rates have apparently tapered off to a trickle, according to recent data from computer monitoring software provider AdDuplex and others.

Adoption for Windows 11, which Microsoft released in October 2021, reached an “overall usage” of 19.4% last month, an increase of more than 10% since the beginning of December 2021. An additional 0.6% of users are on a Windows 11 Insider build, according to AdDuplex.

For all of March, Microsoft’s latest OS only achieved a 0.1% market share increase over other Windows editions, according to AdDuplex.

Windows 11 install rates AdDuplex

Data from AdDuplex indicates Windows 11 uptake has slowed.

In December, AdDuplex indicated that Windows 11 uptake had reached nearly 9%; that number, however, contrasted sharply with a figure released by Lansweeper at that time that showed the new platform with a less than 1% adoption rate.

Microsoft has pushed to get users to upgrade to Windows 11, but the overwhelming majority have chosen to remain on the previous edition.

Of the 80% using Windows 10, the largest number of users are on the two most recent updates, Windows 10 N21U (21H2), released in November 2021 (28.5%) and Windows 10 M21U (21H1), released in March 2021, (26.5%).

The remaining 25% are on five other older iterations of Windows 10.

“For the most part, commercial customers are not really diving into the new OS, and we don’t expect to see much uptake there until 2023,” said Steve Kleynhans, a vice president of research at Gartner.

Even so, Kleynhans said it’s “a bit” early to draw any conclusions about Windows 11's success.

“While technically the OS update is six months old, a very large percentage of machines weren’t being offered the update until just a couple of months ago,” he said. “The current [install rate] is likely just normal market evolution during the early stages of any new OS version and not a sign of anything really problematic."

The situation around Windows 11 uptake is very similar to the first year of Windows 10, “and Windows 7 and Windows XP for that matter,” Klaynhans said. 

For consumers, OS uptake has more to do with PC sales, including those that come natively with Windows 11.  

“For most consumers who aren’t PC enthusiasts in some way, this is not really a high priority, and they won’t actively seek out the upgrade. Until Microsoft starts forcing the upgrade, or at least more aggressively marketing it to users on eligible machines, things are bound to stall out a bit,” Klaynhans said. “I suspect we will see Microsoft start marketing the update more aggressively over the next few months and really start to push it in the fall. 

For its part, Microsoft said it has seen strong demand and preference for Windows 11 with people accepting the upgrade offer to Windows 11 at twice the rate the company saw for Windows 10, according to a January blog post by Panos Panay, Microsoft’s chief product officer for Windows and Devices.

Windows 11 is being offered as a free upgrade to eligible Windows 10 devices. Users can check to see whether the Windows 11 upgrade is available by using the PC Health Check app.

Copyright © 2022 IDG Communications, Inc.

It’s time to break the ChatGPT habit
Shop Tech Products at Amazon