By Harry McCracken | Monday, August 17, 2009 at 12:43 am
Maybe Windows XP users, on the whole, aren’t hidebound old luddites who stick with an eight-year-old operating system because they fear change. Maybe most of them are smart people who continue to use Windows XP because it does what they need it to do–but who will upgrade to a new version of Windows when they’re impressed by one and are confident it’s ready for prime time.
At least that’s what I’m thinking as I peruse what what nearly 5,000 Windows XP users have to say about their current operating system of choice, why they haven’t moved to Windows Vista, and what they think about Windows 7. They may remain immune to Vista’s, um, charms, but most of them have an open mind about Windows 7–and most of those who have tried 7 really like it.
As part of our research for upcoming coverage of Windows 7. my friends at PC World and I partnered to conduct a survey of Windows XP users. We promoted the survey at PC World, at Technologizer, and via our respective Twitterfeeds, 4994 people took it. We didn’t screen them other than to ask them to confirm that they use Windows XP as their primary operating system. So what they said may or may not reflect the sentiments of the Windows-using world at large–but it’s interesting nonetheless. Here’s a full report.
So why are so many people still using Windows XP? We asked our respondents (letting them select multiple reasons) and the number-one reason is simply that they’re comfortable with it. Number two: the related reason that they don’t see anything in Windows Vista that makes upgrading worthwhile.
How familiar are the respondents with Vista? Most say they’ve had some hands-on experience–either a lot or a little.
The theory is sometimes advanced that XP users have an irrational fear of Vista based on hearsay rather than hands-on experience. You couldn’t prove it from our results. The majority of respondents who have used Vista don’t like it–59 percent say their reaction to it is somewhat or very negative. Only fifteen percent say their reaction is somewhat or very positive.
Respondents who haven’t used Vista but said they have some knowledge about it are even more overwhelmingly downbeat. Eighty-two percent say their reaction is somewhat or very negative. Two percent (!) say it’s somewhat or very positive.
Okay, on to Windows 7. Our survey respondents are certainly interested in it: 43 percent say they’ve read a lot, and 23 percent have used it. Just twelve percent say don’t know anything about it.
We asked respondents who have used Windows 7 what they think. Most are impressed. In fact, a landslide seventy percent say their reaction is somewhat or very positive–a radically better response than that given to Windows Vista by the respondents who have used that OS.