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Windows 8 still a long way behind Windows 7, and XP too

New figures reveal Windows 8 is still a long, long way behind its predecessor Windows 7 -- not to mention the venerable Windows XP.

Windows 8 is growing, but is still a long way behind Windows 7. After seven months on sale, new figures reveal Windows 8 is still a long way behind its predecessor -- not to mention the venerable Windows XP.

The latest figures from Net Applications work out usage of the different versions by monitoring traffic on 40,000 websites. Windows 8 was used for 4.27 per cent of May's traffic, up slightly from 3.82 per cent in April. Meanwhile Windows 7's share rose to 44.85 per cent, up from 44.72 per cent the previous month.

But the dominant versions are Windows 7 and that old workhorse Windows XP. XP is on a very gentle decline, but the two are still roughly neck and neck -- while leading the rest of the field by a country mile.

Of course, no-one expects Windows 8 to be used by everyone, when there's hundreds of millions of Windows computers out there that have spent years using older versions -- up until a month ago I'd be typing this on an XP-powered HP, the same as pretty much every other office worker in the world. But for the previous version of the software to be growing at a similar rate doesn't bode well for the latest version.

Remember the roundly-mocked Vista? Still used more than Windows 8. Vista makes up 4.51 per cent of usage.

Windows 8 has been slow to start, with a bold new direction that has alienated many. The colourful square live tiles and touch-tastic interface are ideally suited to tablets like the Microsoft Surface, but have yet to win hearts and minds on desktop and laptop computers. If you're not convinced, check out our handy guide to making Windows 8 a little more familiar.

Microsoft has even decided to row back slightly from the audacious new design, reinstating familiar elements like the Start button in the forthcoming Windows 8.1 update.

What do you think of Windows 8? Is it a bold new direction, or do you prefer to stick with older versions? Tell me your thoughts in the comments or on our Facebook page.