Okay, a Show of Hands: Just Who IS Using Windows Vista?

By  |  Monday, August 18, 2008 at 6:33 pm

Microsoft says that Vista is fastest-selling version of Windows ever, and that folks who use it really like it. But you also hear stories like the reports that the majority of business PCs sold by HP in Australia go out with XP, no matter what the license states. Then there’s weirdness like Taiwan’s Fair Trade Commission looking into whether Microsoft broke antitrust laws by (mostly) discontinuing Windows XP and thereby denying it to people who don’t want Vista.

And in the end, you–at least if you’re me, which I am–are still left wondering: just how popular or unpopular Windows Vista is, anyhow?

Of course, that’s really a series of questions with several possible answers, depending on how you do that math. Windows has multiple constituencies, including consumers who are buying new PCs, consumers who are upgrading existing machines, small businesses who are buying new PCs, small businesses who are upgrading, medium-sized businesses who–well, you get the idea. Every one of those groups has a different set of priorities. You could come up with almost any conclusion you wanted–but I’m still surprised that there’s not more real data out there on the OS’s success to date. It would make for good reading, whether it tended to confirm the general air of disappointment that pervades Vista, or to make it look like things aren’t quite that gloomy.

Anyhow, over at InfoWorld, blogger Randall Kennedy has an interesting post that reveals data from users of 3,000 users of Windows Sentinel, a monitoring utility that lets InfoWorld analyze aggregate data from the PCs of Sentinel users. (In theory, at least, those users should be workers in enterprises rather than home users or microbusiness owners.)

Kennedy reports that the data shows that a third of Sentinel users have downgraded Vista machines to XP, as shown in this chart I swiped from his post:

This striking data point has spawned a bunch of coverage on the Web, some of which sports overblown headlines such as WebMonkey’s “One in Three Advanced PC Users Dump Vista.” Um, this data is about users of Windows Sentinel, and while it may be telling data indeed, it may or may not be reasonable to extrapolate that the percentages apply to “advanced PC users” in general. Kennedy himself makes no broader claims about it, other than the very sensible one that it’s a bit of evidence that when Windows Seven comes along, Microsoft needs to make sure there’s a smooth upgrade path from XP as well as from Vista.

(Side note: Data about Technologizer visitors is fascinating, but clearly not representative of savvy tech users in general. Have I mentioned that five percent of people who have visited this site to date have done so on iPhones? Very cool; probably a sign that you’re an unusually sophisticated bunch; clearly atypical of the world in general.)

Add Kennedy’s factoid to the pretty long list of pieces of information suggesting that the world has yet to embrace Vista in the way Microsoft likely expected it to do fairly quickly. And if you find any stats from a source other than Microsoft that make Vista look better, lemme know…



5 Comments For This Post

  1. AJ_in_the_East_Bay Says:

    Vista is getting close to be the first OS that I try at work before using it at home.

  2. Thom Jensen Says:

    I just bought a new Dell Vizio for the office. Since the default configuration was Vista Home, I “upgraded” to XP Professional. They sent the Vista disk in the box. I got it all configured with the network and then said, “oh, what the heck” and started over again installing Vista Business from scratch along with the drivers and media programs that shipped. The connection to the office network and just about everything else was so very easy. I think that after a year and a half, Vista is here to stay and we need to make the move.

  3. Jari Says:

    I´ve been using Vista almost for a year now and I think it´s actually more better than XP, probably the best Windows ever, but I´m still dumping all my PCs and replacing them with Macs when possible. Main difference about Vista and XP is that you don´t need to reinstall it every 3 months as you had with XP which got always messed up by itself.

  4. Simon Says:

    I have been using vista for over 6 months and have had very few problems with it compared to xp. I think it is superior to xp in performance, usability and ui. I do have a fairly powerful system though, so vista runs really smooth.

  5. Bob Cawker Says:

    Vista is just fine! I’ve had no problems with it.
    Will probably go to 7 after they have a couple of service packs.