Windows 11 adoption nears 9%, but businesses are waiting

Data on the adoption of Microsoft's newest OS shows uptake ranging from 1% to 9%. But most enterprises will likely wait until at least 2023 before broadly rolling out Windows 11.

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How fast is Windows 11 being adopted by users?

The answer appears to be "hardly at all" to "slowly," depending on which set of data you look at.

New data from computer monitoring software provider AdDuplex indicates that Windows 11 uptake has reached nearly 9%; that number, however, contrasts sharply with a figure released by another vendor that showed the new platform with a less than 1% adoption rate.

It's been nearly two months since Microsoft launched Windows 11. System survey data, released by AdDuplex yesterday, showed Windows 11 adoption at 8.9% (with .03% of that figure attributed to Windows Insider program users).

Two weeks ago, IT asset management company Lansweeper pegged Windows 11 adoption at only 0.21% of PC users involved in its own software-based survey.

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The primary reasons Windows 11 isn’t seeing higher adoption rates “are likely due to the harsh requirements in place to upgrade to Windows 11 and a lack of urgency since Windows 10 is still supported until 2025,” Esben Dochy, technical product evangelist for Lansweeper, wrote in an email reply to Computerworld.

An upgrade to Windows 11 will require a system with 64-bit processors, 4GB of memory, 64GB of storage, UEFI secure boot and the Trusted Platform Module (TPM) v2.0.

Lansweeper Windows 11 update data Lansweeper

Lansweeper Windows 11 update data

Lansweeper gleans its Windows adoption data from more than 10 million devices running on business and home networks. AdDuplex bases its data on about 60,000 Windows 10 or 11 PCs running its monitoring software.

Discrepancies among data for OS adoption is not unusual, according to Steve Kleynhans, a vice president of research at Gartner. Sample sizes are typically smaller and small percentages are sensitive to any changes. “It’s important to take all numbers with a grain of salt,” Kleynhans said.

Anecdotally, he said, Windows 11 is faring better in its early release days than Windows 10 did six years ago.

The latest release of Windows 10 (21H2), which was rolled out on Nov. 16, has reached 3.7% adoption, according to AdDuplex. (There are two Windows versions named 21H2 on the market now. One is from the Windows 10 branch, the other is Windows 11.)

This is the first time in “modern history” when an "older" version of the OS (Windows 10 21H2) entered the market later than a newer one (Windows 11 21H2), AdDuplex noted on its website.

If Lansweeper’s data is accurate, more PCs are running Windows XP (3.62%) and Windows 8 (0.95%) than are running Windows 11.

For its part, Microsoft said in a blog post that Windows 11 adoption has yielded mostly positive user feedback. As a result, the company is advancing the pace of the rollout faster than it had anticipated, “and [is] now making the Windows 11 upgrade more broadly available to eligible Windows 10 devices,” John Cable, vice president of program management for Windows Servicing and Delivery, wrote in his blog on Nov. 16.

Even so, Lansweeper’s data points to a drip, not a flood, of adoption, with several reasons cited for the less-than-robust uptake of Windows 11 in enterprises.

For one, Microsoft has said it will continue to support Windows 10 through 2025, offering a much longer runway for corporate upgrades to Windows 11. That allows organizations to take their time planning for, and testing, the new platform.

Windows 11 is also a less comprehensive update compared to Windows 10, according to Kleynhans. And, with little to currently gain from moving quickly, organizations don’t have a good reason to install the upgrade right away.

Adware windows 10 and 11 adoption data Adware

Adware windows 10 and 11 adoption data

It’s likely the only users deploying Windows 11 today are doing so outside the approval of their IT shops, Kleynhans added.

“I don’t think you’re going to see enterprises doing anything substantial with Windows 11 until 2023,” Kleynhans said. “They’re thinking they’d like to let it simmer for a while, and let the quirks and issues work themselves out.”

The primary change to Windows 11 is the user interface (UI). Gone in the new OS are Microsoft’s Start menu tiles; they’ve been replaced by icons that look more like the UI on a smartphone or tablet. Windows 11 also reduced the number of dialog boxes that are prevalent on Windows 10.

“As much as I hate to admit it, because I kind of like tiles, ...they were a failed experiment,” Kleynhans said. “I think going back to something that’s more consistent with what people are used to on their (mobile devices) will play well.”

Over the next few years, Microsoft will continue to add more significant features to Windows 11 and be able to take advantage of the latest hardware, creating more differentiation from its predecessor.

Microsoft also likely felt pressure to launch Windows 11 because the PC marketplace was calling for an upgrade that would make better use of new hardware, and the release was well timed for the holiday season, Kleynhans noted.

For example, Windows 11 can tap into the new speeds and battery features of Intel's new Alder Lake processors. “I don’t think you can say there would have been a better or worse time to launch,” Kleynhans said.

Lansweeper also noted in a blog that only 44.4% of current CPUs for workstations meet the system requirements for upgrading to Windows 11; 55.6% did not.

While the majority of systems Lansweeper measures passed the RAM test (91%), only about half of the workstation Trusted Platform Modules (TPM) tested met the requirements for Windows 11, while over 19% failed. And 28% were not TPM compatible or did not have it enabled, according to Lansweeper.

If enterprises want to start adopting Windows 11, they need to figure out which of their existing devices are capable of upgrading, Dochy advised. “We have a requirements audit that they can use to figure out how many of their devices are even capable of moving to Windows 11. From there on, they can start creating a migration plan for the coming year(s),” he added.

Copyright © 2021 IDG Communications, Inc.

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