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Windows 8.1 picks up steam as consumers adopt latest update

The share of PCs running on Microsoft's latest operating system jumps in October.

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Roger Cheng Former Executive Editor / Head of News
Roger Cheng (he/him/his) was the executive editor in charge of CNET News, managing everything from daily breaking news to in-depth investigative packages. Prior to this, he was on the telecommunications beat and wrote for Dow Jones Newswires and The Wall Street Journal for nearly a decade and got his start writing and laying out pages at a local paper in Southern California. He's a devoted Trojan alum and thinks sleep is the perfect -- if unattainable -- hobby for a parent.
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Roger Cheng
2 min read

A little more than a year after Windows 8.1 was made available, the update to Microsoft's PC operating system is finally seeing some progress.

Microsoft

The market share of PCs that run Windows 8.1 jumped to 10.9 percent in October, up from 6.7 percent in September and 7.1 percent in August, according to Net Applications, which tracks activity through analyzing the browser hits of specific websites.

The share-gains suggest a small bit of momentum as Microsoft seeks to upgrade all users to the latest version of its marquee Windows operating system. Though consumers didn't respond to Windows 8, which was the first to emphasize tiles as part of its user interface, the company has added back features with 8.1. In August, it added small touches like a Shutdown button on the Start screen and the ability to run modern apps from the desktop.

Customers, however, have been more keen to hang on to their existing version of Windows. Windows 7 had the largest share with 53.1 percent, followed by Windows XP at 17.2 percent. The share of XP users is falling consistently after Microsoft cut off support for that version of Windows in April. (The share of XP users was at 23.9 percent in September.)

There may be users who are hanging on and waiting to see how the next version of Windows will run. Microsoft unveiled Windows 10 last month. The update moves away from the tiled "Metro" interface, replaced by live tiles and a more classic Windows experience, addressing a primary complaint with Windows 8.

Microsoft declined to comment.