No, Windows XP Isn’t More Popular than Windows 11

The Windows XP logo over the Windows 11 default background.
Microsoft

Due to a new Lansweeper “readiness audit,” some outlets are reporting that Windows XP is more popular than Windows 11. But that simply isn’t the case—Lansweeper’s audit reveals some interesting  (and troubling) information about Windows 11 adoption, but it doesn’t paint a full picture of global Windows usage.

Let’s cut to the chase; Lansweeper is a company that sells IT asset management software. Its audit, which is intended for system admins and IT managers, highlights the need for a “quick and cost-effective” tool that can check which PCs in a business network are eligible for the Windows 11 upgrade. Guess what? Lansweeper makes that tool!

The data presented in Lansweeper’s report is very valuable, but it focuses on businesses, which tend to use outdated, discontinued, and poorly secured software. According to the audit, Lansweeper found that just 1.44% of workstations use Windows 11. That’s less than Windows 10 (80.34%), Windows 7 (4.70%), and notably, Windows XP (1.71%).

A graph showing that consumers have adopted Windows 11 at a rate twice that of businesses
Consumers adopt Windows 11 at a rate twice that of businesses. Lansweeper

Lansweeper doesn’t explain how it retrieved these numbers, though it states that it scanned 10 million PCs, 20% of which are owned businesses. That means the company’s sample size is relatively limited (there are around 2 billion active PCs on Earth), and its data is slightly skewed toward businesses and companies, which often use outdated software to run ATMs, call centers, POS systems, critical infrastructure, and so on.

In other words, Lansweeper’s data doesn’t prove whether Windows XP is more popular than Windows 11. It simply highlights the fact that businesses are overly-reliant on outdated software, partially due to Windows 11’s strict hardware requirements, which ensure that “only 44.4% of workstations” are eligible for the upgrade.

Now, these hardware requirements also have an impact on consumers. As we reported last month, Windows 11 adoption is currently at a standstill because the average PC user can’t upgrade. But more people are using Windows 11 than Windows XP, and it’s been that way for a while.

A graph showing that Windows 11 global adoption is higher than XP.
Statcounter’s data paints a more accurate picture of Windows 11 adoption. Statcounter

For a more accurate look at Windows 11 popularity, we should use Statcounter’s data. The Statcounter analytics service integrates with over 2 million websites, scanning more than 10 billion page views every month. And according to its most recent report, around 8.53% of PCs run Windows 11, while just 0.45% of PCs use Windows XP.

I’m not saying that this data is perfect. Many business PCs will never visit the websites used for Statcounter analytics. But this criticism may also apply to Lansweeper’s data—we don’t know how the company conducted its audit.

While Windows 11 adoption is pretty lackluster, it’s clear that the new operating system is more popular than Windows XP. Statcounter’s data indicates a massive gap between Windows 11 and Windows XP usage, and it lines up with reports from other services, such as AdDuplex.