Windows 11 lost users this month – should Microsoft be worried?

Windows 11 has slipped with its market share over the last month, at least going by a report from one analytics firm.

According to Statcounter’s figures for May, Windows 11 fell to a market share of 22.95% (across all Windows versions). That’s only a touch lower than April, during which Windows 11 stood at 23.11% – but it’s a real surprise to see Windows 11 effectively stall at this point (we’ll discuss why shortly).

Windows 10 rose very slightly to hit 71.9%, and it remains by far the most dominant version of Windows, even though Windows 11 has been around for a year and a half now.

Microsoft’s newest operating system has made slow progress, and particularly with this latest small stumble, that must be something of a concern for the company.

Elsewhere in the stats, Windows 7 remains fairly static on 3.6%, and Windows 8 versions amount to 1.09%.

Windows XP, believe it or not, still has users out there, holding a 0.32% niche market share. (There are reasons some might be forced to use Windows XP, as we chewed over recently – that said, though, if you are running the ancient OS, you really should be keeping it fully offline for obvious reasons).


Analysis: Trouble ahead for Microsoft?

The reason why Windows 11 slipping slightly for adoption is so surprising is because recently the operating system has been taking some sizeable strides forward (with Statcounter’s figures for earlier this year).

Now, granted, some of that was due to Windows 7 finishing its extended support period, meaning a bunch of users were then forced to migrate – initially more to Windows 10 than 11, but both platforms saw a boost.

However, even after Windows 7’s userbase settled at its new lower level (just under 4%), where it’s been for a few months now, Windows 11 has been up by a significant market share over the last two months – about 2% for both March and April in fact.

This led us to believe that the OS was having something of a surge, and would finally start making serious headway towards that 30% mark – but now, in May’s figures, we see Windows 11 having stalled.

Why might that be? The irony is that Microsoft announced the end of feature updates for Windows 10 at the close of April, a move that was clearly designed to persuade folks to migrate to Windows 11 (if they want any new features at all – except for minor tweaks). And yet during May, Windows 11 has suddenly floundered compared to the rest of 2023.

Is that an element of pushback, people digging their heels in – rather like our reaction to the end of feature updates for Windows 10? Perhaps there’s a touch of that here.

Windows 11

(Image credit: Unsplash)

More likely, though, this could be bound up in faltering laptop sales, with fewer new pieces of hardware being sold – cost of living crisis, and all – resulting in less progress for Windows 11, maybe? That’s certainly a compelling possibility, as the current PC slump is being seen to hit some laptop makers hard (in the consumer and business arenas).

It’s possible, too, that we could be starting to hit a wall in terms of the number of PCs that are actually capable of being upgraded to Windows 11 (at least without changes to meet the more stringent hardware requirements, like adding a TPM module – and folks may not want to be bothered with that kind of hassle). Combined with lower sales of new PCs, this could be a recipe for a poor outlook, at least in the shorter-term, for Microsoft.

That said, all this theorizing aside, we shouldn’t get carried away with one month, and a single set of figures, from one analyst firm. Let’s keep an eye on Statcounter next month, and if Windows 11 once again flails around, then it’ll be time for Microsoft to be concerned about how its new OS is being received. After all, with the recent announcement of the Copilot AI – and killing off Cortana in Windows 10 (where it won’t have Copilot as a replacement) – Microsoft will doubtless be expecting to generate more footfall of users heading towards Windows 11.

If not, then Windows 11 is likely to have a tough time of things until we get closer to the end for Windows 10 starting to come into view (2025). Either that, or the current PC sales slump starts to ease off…

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Microsoft’s ad plan for Windows 11 is its worst idea since Windows 8 – but all is not lost

Microsoft’s leaked plans to add even more ads into the Windows 11 Start menu has not gone down well, and the less-than-positive reaction could hopefully make the company think twice about implementing the change.

As we reported on March 29, Microsoft has added 'notifications for Microsoft accounts' into a new option update for Windows 11. Despite its rather coy-sounding name, many people saw this as meaning more adverts for Microsoft’s services, such as OneDrive.

However, as Neowin reports, a hidden setting has been spotted in Windows 11 build 23419 that allows you to turn off those adverts. This build of Windows 11 is only currently available to people who are signed up to the Windows Insiders programme to help test early versions of Windows 11, but it could hint that Microsoft is considering adding the option to an upcoming version of Windows 11 for everyone.

Good news and bad

The discovery of this setting could be seen as good news. It means that Microsoft may have anticipated that its move to add more adverts to the Windows 11 Start menu wouldn’t be popular, and decided that adding the option to turn ads off could address some people’s concerns.

Somewhere in the bowls of Microsoft, then, there may be a voice, no matter how faint, that’s saying “maybe we shouldn’t keep trying to push our services so aggressively onto our users.” That gives me hope that not all is lost.

However, it’s not all good news. For a start, when I say this option to turn off adverts is hidden – I mean really hidden. Not only is it supposed to be buried deep in the menus (you have to go to Settings > Personalization > Start), but it won’t even appear unless you use a third-party app called ‘ViveTool’ to make it appear.

Messing around with this app, and using the powerful Windows PowerShell application to make the option appear, isn’t recommended (visit Neowin’s page above for instructions if you are keen), and forcing this hidden option to appear and disable adverts could have unanticipated consequences.

Even if Microsoft doesn’t hide it so completely, it’s pretty obvious that Microsoft wants to have the adverts turned on by default, and hopes that many users won’t know how to turn them off.

We’ll keep an eye on how this develops, but if Microsoft keeps filling Windows 11 with adverts for services its users don’t want, we could soon see an even more vocal pushback against its plans.

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It’ll soon be easier to track down all your lost Google Workspace docs

Tracking down that elusive Google Docs or Sheets file could soon get a lot simpler thanks to a new search upgrade.

The company has revealed it is adding a new setting to its search history tool specifically designed to find files created in its Google Workspace office software suite.

The new addition will hopefully be able to track down and display those hard-to-find files directly in your search history, removing a common headache for workers everywhere.

Google My Activity

The change is coming to the Google  – My Activity page, which contains all the details of your recent searches across both the web and Google's own apps, such as YouTube.

Going forward, search data from Workspace apps will be contained in a new setting, which will allow users to see suggestions from their own search history.

Past searches can be rerun if necessary, and will cover the likes of Gmail, Google Drive, Calendar, and Currents, along with standalone services such as Google Cloud and Google Sites.

Google says it doesn't utilize any of this data for targeted advertising, and deletes all search history data after 18 months (although this can be reset to delete at 3, 18 or 36 months) and users can amend, expand or restrict the amount of data collected on them at any time.

The new setting will begin rolling out on March 29, and will be set to on by default. Users can disable it by heading to My Activity page > Other Google activity > Google Workspace search history.

The news comes shortly after Google unveiled a new look for Gmail that aims to combine several of the most popular Workspace apps in one window.

The approach looks to provide users with a one-stop shop for all their communication needs – whether via email, video conferencing, or just good old-fashioned instant messaging – without them having to open up extra tabs or windows.

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Via 9to5Google

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