Happy 5th birthday Windows Vista – still number 3 OS worldwide

Microsoft Windows Vista was released into retail on January 30, 2007, and there’s not been many nice words said about it since. It suffered from being incompatible with much of existing hardware and software, problems with drivers, imposing annoying security procedures on users, and more.

It seemed like everyone loved to hate poor Vista, enough to earn it a spot on the list of “Top ten terrible tech products.”

So today we can say happy fifth birthday to Windows Vista. But what does it look like around the world when it comes to the use of Vista? Is anyone still using the much-maligned OS?

Still more popular than Mac OS X

In StatCounter’s most recent figures for January 2012, Windows Vista is still the third most used OS in the world, commanding a 10.5% share of the desktop OS market. But Windows XP, released in 2001, lands at almost 35%, crushing its younger sibling.

And with Windows 7 at 44% worldwide, only about two and a half years after release, it would seem clear that users have wanted to avoid Vista, either by never upgrading, or upgrading just as fast as they can.

But that doesn’t mean Windows Vista is not used at all, far from it. In fact, looking at 216 countries around the world, using StatCounter’s data, it’s clear that many millions of people around the world still use Vista. In the map, the redder a country is, the more popular Windows Vista is there.

From this we get some key numbers:

  • 84.2% – Out of the 216 countries included in our list, in 182 of them Windows Vista is the third most commonly used desktop OS, after Windows 7 and Windows XP.
  • 19.06% – The highest percentage of Windows Vista usage is in Ireland.
  • 1.03% – The lowest Windows Vista usage is in Cuba.
  • 16 – The number of countries where Mac OS X is bigger than Windows Vista.
  • 2 – The number of countries where Linux is bigger than Windows Vista.

What about Windows 8?

Even as Windows Vista celebrates its birthday, the OS is still hanging in there, with up to 20% of people browsing the web in some countries still using it.

Back in 2010, Windows 7 overtook Vista in just nine months. We can predict with quite some confidence that Windows 8, when it’s released later this year, will not overtake Windows 7 with the same speed.

If you’re still running Windows Vista, are you likely to upgrade to Windows 8 once it’s available?


  1. I am still using windows XP. its because of old hardware. but when I will upgrade system or buy new system I will probably go with windows 7 or 8.

  2. I’m still yet to hear a single person give me a reason why Vista is supposedly so bad. Most of the people who criticise it seem to be people who never used it because they heard it was bad from someone else, and they were too lazy to make their own mind up.

    Sure, Microsoft stuffed up the release of it, and it had some hardware compatibility problems initially, but they were resolved pretty quickly. Who the hell upgrades their OS without checking hardware compatibility first, anyway? As for software, I never had problems running mid-90s-era software on my Vista machine.

    Moving on to UAC, I never understood the complaints. The idea of prompting for confirmation or a password before doing something important is exactly how Linux operates, and people love to go on about how secure Linux is. And if it really bothers you that much, you can just turn it off, the equivalent of running everything from a root shell. Problem solved.

    Vista is and always has been far superior to XP, but everyone loves to bash on Microsoft, and most people are too dumb or lazy to think for themselves, so they just got caught up in the hype of ‘Hurr, Vista is so bad lol!’

  3. Looking at the map, it is very clear that the countries with relatively high Vista adoption are pretty much all industrialised countries with good standards of living — many people there bought new PCs with Vista preinstalled already before it was replaced by 7. So while the adoption of 7 is clearly way faster than that of Vista ever was, it appears that the low results for Vista are not as much directly due to poor reviews, but rather indirectly, as it was followed up by 7 so quickly (in response to the poor reviews of Vista)…

  4. I was on the verge of scrapping Vista for Windows 8 because it is so slow. I experimented with different virtual memory set ups and I found that instead of letting Windows manage the vitual memory I set it my self. I also found that in stead of using the rule of thumb of having the virtual memory set at double the RAM I set it below what I have. Vista now runs at the same speed as XP on my laptop. I have 3 gig RAM and a 64bit OS. The virtual memory is at 2000 mb minimum  and 2500 maximum.
    The PC used to take 7 minutes to boot up. It now boots up in 2 minutes. I have a lot of software on the PC but again I reduced the programmes that start up with the PC. The times compare with the other operating systems we use on laptops and netbooks. XP, Windows 7 and also Windows 8 friend uses and I help with when problems occure. This advice has never been given out by MS or IT experts who just moan about how slow Vista is.

  5. What I like about Vista is the abaility to use any software. I have ready many compalints about old software i.e. Macromedia not loading on to Windows 7 or running. I have managed to load Macromedia software on to Windows 8 but I am not keen on the appearance. I will now stay with Vista now I have got the boot time down to 2 minutes. I can imagine if you use a 32 bit version the boot time will be quicker. A revelation for Vista. Vista also can be used in the classic version as well as the normal Vista version unlike Windows 7 and 8

  6. Why use Vista, when The Windows 7 is so much better without spending time figuring out what to do on your OS to make it run faster.
    I don’t speak for everyone, but in my opinion the XP was good until the MS has stopped supporting it, and the Windows 7 is better that Windows Vista or Windows 8 or even 8.1.
    So I’d suggest whoever still using Vista use Windows 7 instead, you won’t regret it.

    Good luck

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