After Microsoft gave all customers control over when they upgrade Windows 10, the majority of users decided they didn’t need a twice-annual refresh, data shows.

According to metrics vendor AdDuplex, once Microsoft let users of Windows 10 Home and Windows 10 Pro determine the cadence of OS upgrades, each upgrade’s increase siphoned more users from the version of 12 months before than it did from the upgrade’s immediate predecessor.

For example, Windows 10 version 1903 climbed from 11.4% of all versions in July 2019 to 33% in August. Of the 21.6-percentage point increase, 20.6 points — representing 95% of the total — came at the expense of Windows 10 1803, the feature upgrade issued a year earlier. Just 1 percentage point, or about 5%, of the declines that fueled the increase of Windows 10 1903 originated with Windows 10 1809.

The implication: Left to their own devices, users left Windows 10 alone for a year, the maximum time Microsoft allowed them to run any individual Windows 10 Home or Windows 10 Pro version.

Given a choice, Windows 10 users rejected Microsoft’s longtime contention that operating systems should be updated on an aggressive tempo — necessary, the Redmond, Wash. firm said, to keep up with constant technology change.

First, a brief recap of what Microsoft did last year

AdDuplex’s numbers were no surprise. Computerworld — and many other media outlets, as well as analysts and pundits — had predicted that Windows 10 Home and Windows 10 Pro users would, given the chance, reject the twice-annual upgrade cadence Microsoft had established.

That cadence was established in April 2017 and committed Microsoft to releasing two Windows 10 upgrades each year, one in March, another in September. Prior, the tempo had been unpredictable — Microsoft delivered only one upgrade the year before, for instance — which enterprise customers found untenable.

Under that scheme, Microsoft decided when each Windows 10 Home PC and each unmanaged Windows 10 Pro PC was upgraded to a new version. (By unmanaged, we mean devices not handled by IT administrators.) Those machines, especially the ones running Windows 10 Home, went through the refresh process at six-month intervals because their users were not able to defer, much less decline, an upgrade.

Copyright © 2020 IDG Communications, Inc.

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