Microsoft Claims 200M Users Running Windows 10

John Lister's picture

Microsoft claims 200 million devices are now running Windows 10. Independent estimates suggest the figure may be credible, but a variety of factors make it hard to label the number as a clear success or failure.

The 200 million figure is said to be based on devices connecting to Windows Update. It represents the number of different devices that have connected - and thus shown they are switched on and running the system - at least once over a one-month period. (Source:

Independent Estimate Suggests 164 Million

While it's impossible to independently verify the statistics, the figure is at least plausible. Net Applications, which measures traffic to the websites it monitors, says that 10.9 percent of the machines it tracked in December were running Windows 10.

Based on an estimate of 1.5 billion Windows PCs in the world, that would equate to 164 million Windows 10 PCs. The difference could easily be explained by a combination of errors with sampling and estimates, and the fact that Windows 10 is also installed on some portable devices and Xbox consoles not classified as PCs.

Microsoft also claimed that Windows 10 is on "the fastest growth trajectory of any version of Windows - ever." That's definitely not borne out by independent estimates, which put it slightly behind Windows 7. In any case, by all rights Windows 10 should be way ahead of Windows 7 at the same stage given that it's available as a free upgrade for most users.

Average Device Used For 55 Hours A Month

Another intriguing statistic is that Microsoft reports people spent a total of 11 billion hours on Windows 10 during December. While that sounds impressive as a raw figure, that would work out as around 55 hours a month for each device, or less than two hours a day. Even that figure may be misleadingly high if it counts the time the Windows 10 device is switched on, rather than the time the user is actively doing something.

In theory, the growth from zero to 200 million users in five months would put Microsoft right on course to hit its target of a billion devices running Windows 10 by some point in 2017. That's assuming constant growth, which is by no means guaranteed.

Windows 10 to Become "Recommended" Upgrade

What's more significant for that goal is the fact that Microsoft plans to make Windows 10 a recommended upgrade on its Windows 10 Update program, meaning that it will automatically install for anyone who hasn't set their PC to await manual confirmation before downloading and installing updates.

Given that an estimated 1.1 billion machines are running Windows 7 or 8, it seems highly likely there will be a billion machines which run Windows 10 at least once, even if the user takes advantage of the 30 day deadline to roll back to the old system without using data. (Source:

What's Your Opinion?

Do you buy Microsoft's claim of 200 million Windows 10 devices? Is this an impressive figure given the upgrade is free? Do you expect the company to hit its one billion user target?

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Dennis Faas's picture

I'm more inclined to believe the lower estimate given Microsoft's track record of trying to convince people otherwise. Windows 10 is nowhere near as stable as Windows 7, especially with hardware compatibility. My server that runs Windows 10 crashes once in a while with an IRQL_NOT_LESS_OR_EQUAL error whenever I try to sign in to Windows.

clay_3833's picture

Win 10 is indeed still unstable. After several disasters I've rolled back to Win 7 and plan to stay there until the Spring. By then hopefully the bugs will mostly have been exterminated.


anniew's picture

My settings allow me to choose what and when to download and install updates. Given MS's penchant for making the descriptions obscure, I would sure like to know what the update number is (KB #) so I can wait to download it. I agree with Clay. My plan is to wait on W 10 install.