Windows 11 adoption just hit a wall — here's why

Windows 11 logo on a laptop screen
(Image credit: Shutterstock)

Windows 11 was released in early October 2021 and saw an impressive adoption rate. Six months later and the initial excitement for Microsoft’s latest operating system seems to have tapered off.

According to AdDuplex, which tracks Windows usage from anonymous user data collected from Windows Store apps, 19.4% of surveyed users had Windows 11 installed in their systems. This is only a 0.1% increase from February’s numbers. A further 0.6% were using a Windows 11 Insider build.

Back in January, AdDuplex reported that Windows 11 adaption doubled to 16.1% based on a survey of 60,000 computers. This current survey consisted of 5,000 PCs.

Over on the Windows 10 front, surveyed users were running the latest versions of the operating system. November’s Windows 10 version N21U (21H2) took 28.5% of the market share while March’s Windows 10 M21U (21H1) build snatched 26.5%. The latest 25% consisted of older Windows 10 builds from as far back as 2018.

Microsoft recently revealed that 1.4 billion devices ran both Windows 10 and Windows 11. However, the Redmond-based company didn’t specify numbers for either build (via TechRadar).

(Image credit: AdDuplex)

What could account for the slow adoption rate? It could be several factors. As we’ve reported, Microsoft has strict Windows 11 requirements. Chief among these is the lack of TPM 2.0 support. There are ways to circumvent the TPM check, though it means you won’t be able to install the latest Windows updates. If you’re running Windows 11 on unsupported hardware, you’ll have to deal with an intrusive watermark on your screen.

There’s also the fact that Windows 11 is, at the moment, not a substantial upgrade from Windows 10. As we said in our Windows 11 review, Windows 11 refines what’s good about Windows 10 without changing too much about Microsoft’s operating system in the process. While this makes it easy for Windows 10 users to acclimate to Windows 11, it also means there’s no rush for these folks to update — even if Windows 11 is available for free.

Since this survey only comes from a comparatively small handful of Windows PCs, it doesn’t reveal Windows 11’s precise adoption rate. That being said, it’s clear Microsoft has more work to do if it wants more users on its latest operating system.

Tony Polanco
Computing Writer

Tony is a computing writer at Tom’s Guide covering laptops, tablets, Windows, and iOS. During his off-hours, Tony enjoys reading comic books, playing video games, reading speculative fiction novels, and spending too much time on X/Twitter. His non-nerdy pursuits involve attending Hard Rock/Heavy Metal concerts and going to NYC bars with friends and colleagues. His work has appeared in publications such as Laptop Mag, PC Mag, and various independent gaming sites.

  • Aruf83
    Microsoft needs to add much requested features like video or active background for desktop and mobile style folders. The lack of the promised Android at launch also put a lot of people off updating too I think.