Survey says: Almost a third of US consumers on Windows 10

Satisfaction with new OS higher still; 60 per cent give 10 the thumbs up

Windows 10’s Start menu

Windows 10’s Start menu

U.S. consumers have fallen for Windows 10, according to a just-published survey done for researcher IDC, with a larger fraction of those polled already running the OS than the predecessors, Windows 7 or Windows 8.

About 30% of the survey's respondents who confirmed they had a Windows PC said they were running Windows 10, compared to approximately 27 per cent who tapped Windows 8 and 28 per cent who named Windows 7.

And Windows 10's user satisfaction was impressively high: Of those who said they have the new operating system, just over 60 per centpicked "favorable" or "very favorable" when asked their take. (The former outpolled the latter of the two responses by a ratio of 4:1.). About 1 in 10 said Windows 10 had left an "unfavorable" or "very unfavorable" impression.

The online survey was conducted in September for IDC by Survata, and polled 1000 U.S. adults who owned a consumer personal computer about their attitudes toward Microsoft's new operating system.

IDC's numbers for Windows 10 adoption were substantially higher than those produced by Internet analytics sources, which measure OS usage by mining data culled from Web traffic. For example, Irish vendor StatCounter pegged Windows 10's September usage share in the U.S. at 9% of all OSes, or less than a third of the IDC survey result.

Another source, the Digital Analytics Program (DAP), put Windows 10's share for September at a slightly higher 9.2 per cent of all operating systems. DAP collects and collates visits to more than 4000 websites on over 400 different domains maintained by U.S. government agencies, including some, like the US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), that attract non-US residents. The bulk of the traffic DAP measures, however, is domestic.

Tom Mainelli, one of two IDC analysts who authored a report on the survey results, acknowledged that online polls like Survata's typically skew more toward early adopters -- who would presumably be likelier to snatch up Windows 10 - than one conducted through phone interviews. But he defended the findings. "What the report shows is that 30 per cent of the respondents in this survey claimed to be running Windows 10," Mainelli said in an email reply to questions [emphasis in original]. "As with any consumer survey, it's not possible to verify what they're claiming."

Almost half - about 45 per cent - of those who said they had a Windows 10-powered machine said they had obtained the OS by clicking on the notification app Microsoft planted on their current PC. An amazing 37 per cent said they had been part of the public beta program Microsoft runs, dubbed "Windows Insider," and upgraded to the final code when it became available in late July.

Mainelli said it was impossible to know whether the consumers who claimed to have been Insiders had actually been participants, or simply thought they were because they had downloaded the upgrade soon after its launch.

In early July, about four weeks before Windows 10 debuted, Microsoft claimed that there were 5 million registered users in the Insider program.

Only about 5 per cent of those surveyed said they had bought a retail copy of Windows 10 and used that to do a "clean" install - wiping the system's hard drive, then installing the OS - while the same percentage said they'd gotten Windows 10 on a new PC they had bought or been given.

The latter figure, as well as other results from the poll, confirmed the suspicions of most analysts, including IDC's, that Windows 10 wouldn't spur new PC sales. Fewer than 3% of the respondents told the pollster that their upbeat opinion of Windows 10 meant they had accelerated their timetable to buy a new system. Meanwhile, more than half said that Windows 10 had had no impact on their purchase plans, and that they weren't planning on buying a new PC.

"The poll shows that people using Windows 10 like it, which is a positive," Mainelli said. "And this survey shows that while many consumers have embraced Windows 10, they're not necessarily buying new systems to get it."

IDC's end-of-year PC shipment report, released Tuesday, estimated that the global industry contracted another 10 per cent in 2015, although the decline was substantially less - about 3 per cent - in the US for the year.

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