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Windows XP still hanging on as dominant OS

It's gradually been losing ground, but Microsoft's 10-year-old operating system is still the most popular version of Windows with a 47 percent share of the market.

After 10 years, Windows XP is still the most popular OS.
After 10 years, Windows XP is still the most popular OS.

Windows XP refuses to give up its top spot without a fight.

The decade-old OS has slowly been losing more users to Windows 7, but January marked a small resurgence in its grip on the market, according to stats out today from NetApplications.

For the month, Windows XP grabbed 47.19 percent of all OS users, inching up from 46.5 percent in December. At the same time, Windows 7 saw its market share dip to 36.4 percent from almost 37 percent the previous month.

Obviously, a fraction of a percentage point is nothing for XP to crow about, especially since its overall share has dropped from almost 58 percent a year ago. But it does point to the continued popularity of an OS that Microsoft would like to see kick the bucket.

The folks in Redmond have been pushing both consumers and companies to jump ship from XP to Windows 7.

As part of that push, Microsoft has been constantly reminding people that support for XP runs out in April 2014, at which time security patches and other updates will no longer be available. Though that gives individuals plenty of time to upgrade, enterprises face a longer path to migration, putting more pressure on them to switch to Windows 7 before too long.

Microsoft has even advised companies still on XP not to wait for Windows 8 and instead plan their moves to Windows 7 now.

Despite the minor drop in Windows 7's market share last month, more people may be following Microsoft's message.

The current flavor of Windows has seen its cut of customers rise from 23 percent a year ago to its present 36 percent.

Of course, as more people buy new computers outfitted with Windows 7, the percentage naturally grows, but probably not fast enough for Microsoft's taste.

Windows 8, which has been available as a Developer Preview since last September, saw its share of users actually dip to 0.2 percent from half a percentage point last month. Fewer people may be checking out the Developer Preview in anticipation of the beta version, which is due to launch sometime this month.

Among operating systems in general, Windows remains in top place by a long shot with an overall share of 92 percent. Apple's Mac OS X grabbed 6.39 percent of users last month, a minor increase from December and around a one percentage point bump from a year ago.