Windows 7 will stay a broadly-used OS for as a minimum the following half of-decade if its predecessor Windows XP serves as even a crude yardstick.

Five years in the past final month, Microsoft moved Windows XP onto its do-no longer-support list. The employer retired the well-worn working gadget on April 8, 2014. Yet even now, 60 months after the milestone, extra than 40 million PCs worldwide rely on the now-ancient software program.

Windows XP’s submit-retirement trajectory may be instructive whilst forecasting what can also take place to Windows 7 whilst it falls off the aid listing in 8 months, on Jan. 14, 2020.

Windows 7: Going, going … And nevertheless going

Windows XP exited aid with a consumer proportion – the measurement of personal pc operating systems’ usage as described with the aid of analytics seller Net Application – of about 29% of all Windows.

That puts Windows 7 in a gap, what with the current Computerworld prediction that on the stop of January 2020, Windows 7 will account for simply over 35% of all Windows. (That variety has fluctuated over the last two years between the low and excessive 30s, relying on the charge of Windows 7’s user proportion decline over the preceding 365 days.)

Not noticeably, Windows XP noticed its largest after-retirement drop-off in the first yr after Microsoft pulled the guide plug. During that span, XP’s percentage of all Windows fell from 29% to 17.Five%, representing a sixty-five .5% decrease. This big wave became almost actually composed of the conscientious who for one reason or another had ignored the deadline but knew they wished a more modern OS if they were to keep getting protection updates.

(Net Applications’ facts seemed to verify that suspicion, because XP’s decline from April 2014 to April 2015 become front-loaded; the first six months of that year accounted for 60% of the 12-month general.)

Over the next 3 years, Windows XP’s proportion of all Windows dropped via about 50% every 12 months. From April 2015 to April 2016, for instance, Windows XP slid from 17.Five% to twelve%, a 5.Five-percentage factor fall and a decline of 46%. The subsequent years every noticed a decline of 56%. Think of these years because of the slow surrender of XP customers who had felt no terrific strain to improve. They remained sanguine about jogging a previous OS, security updates are damned, but eventually left the 2001 XP in the back of or dumped PCs altogether.

However, within the fifth year after Windows XP’s retirement – April 2018 to April 2019 – XP’s fee of decline multiplied to nearly seventy-seven % as its share of all Windows plunged from five% to 2.8%. The quicker fall could constitute ultimate-ditch customers who subsequently wakened to the fact that their OS was no longer only antique, but Microsoft’s Methuselah.

If Windows 7 follows Windows XP, here are the numbers

No working systems are alike. If they had been, Windows Vista – the intended replacement for Windows XP – might have a consumer share large than -tenths of a percent factor. (That’s approximately one-13th as a great deal as XP, from an OS five years younger.) And Windows 8, theoretically 7’s successor, might account for extra than just five.7% of all Windows.

But if Windows 7 does come to be following XP’s lead in post-retirement, here is what is going to occur.

The first yr, through January 2021, Windows 7 will slump from 35.3% (once more, it is the modern-day forecast, based totally on the 12-month average) to 21.Three%. That 14-point fall – a sixty-six % decline – might constitute customers and organizations scrambling to upgrade in time however missing the cut-off date. Expect a majority of that 12 months-long slides, say about eight. Five percent points, to happen before July 31, 2020.

Over the subsequent 3 years, Windows 7 could drop further, hitting 14.6%, nine.3% and six% on the give up of January 2022, 2023 and 2024, respectively. The trio may not look harmful to the Windows environment – agencies especially are at risk from even a small quantity of unpatched PCs, as attackers can take advantage of them to gain a seaside head at the community for harm and robbery within the perimeter – but expressed a different way, the primary variety manner that one out of each seven Windows private computer systems will nevertheless be running 7 two years after it is positioned to pasture. For evaluation, about one in eight Windows computers ran XP at retirement +2 years.

(Microsoft’s choice to provide paid extended help for Windows 7 to corporate customers appears clever underneath this state of affairs. That support can be bought to cover gadgets via January 2023.)

The fifth yr of Windows 7’s after-assist timeline – January 2025 – could cease with 3.4% of all Windows PCs walking the ancient OS.

Windows 7 milestones earlier than retirement

In the approaching months, Windows 7 will preserve to shed person percentage, however almost honestly no longer every month. Net Applications, as an instance, has claimed Windows 7 won proportion in three of the beyond 365 days.

The working gadget is on a 12-month trend of -0.6%, which means that on common it loses six-tenths of a percentage factor monthly. If it maintains to that average, Windows 7 could slip underneath the 40% (of all Windows PCs) mark in overdue June, cease September with 38% after which close the yr at a good 36%.

Meanwhile, Windows 10 – which in the zero-sum OS game wins when Windows 7 loses – must make 52% in June, fifty-six % in October and fall under 59% by the point Microsoft crosses 7 off the support list in January.

A 12 months after Windows 7’s retirement – in January 2021 – Windows 10 should stand at more than 70% of all Windows PCs.