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Windows 10 usage overtakes Windows XP (by one count)

Windows 10 usage overtakes Windows XP (by one count)

It took four months to get there, but Windows 10 is now more popular than its 15-year-old ancestor.

Windows 10 usage has moved into third place among desktop operating systems according to StatCounter, overtaking both Windows XP and Mac OS X in November.

The metrics firm, which measures pageviews on a large sampling of websites, puts Windows 10 usage at 10.18 percent over the last month. OS X claimed 9.36 percent of usage in November, followed by Windows XP with 8.5 percent. Windows 7 and Windows 8.1 are still in front, with 49.27 percent and 13.02 percent usage in November, respectively.

Windows 10, Windows XP, and Mac OS X were all neck-and-neck in October at around 9 percent usage share, though XP and OS X maintained slight leads. With Windows 10 usage growing, OS X usage staying about the same, and XP continuing to fade away, Microsoft’s latest operating system now has the clear lead.

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However, rival metrics firm NetApplications tells a different story, showing Windows 10 with 9 percent usage, Windows XP with 10.59 percent, and Mac OS X with 6.98 percent. Whereas StatCounter measures pageviews, NetApplications measures unique visits and weights its numbers by region. Because StatCounter tends to represent more active users by counting multiple visits to a site, it has led to major discrepancies in web browser share between the two firms. (Of course, a computer that isn’t on the Internet won’t be counted in either case.)

In the past, Microsoft has shown a preference for NetApplications data, which unlike StatCounter still shows Internet Explorer to be ahead of Google Chrome. Perhaps Microsoft is changing its mind now that StatCounter looks more favorably on uptake of Windows 10.

Why this matters: Windows XP has proven resilient for a 15-year-old operating system, but the drop behind Windows 10 was inevitable. The bigger question is whether Microsoft can take meaningful usage away from Windows 7, as the company begins making upgrades automatic for many users starting next year.

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