Although Microsoft Corp. has promoted Windows 10 as its most secure operating system to date, North American businesses still aren’t buying into the need for an upgrade.

According to a Softchoice TechCheck IT asset management analysis of more than 400,000 Windows-based devices in 169 companies in North America, only 0.75 per cent of them are running some flavour of Windows 10. This is after a year since the much-hyped operating system launched.

Instead, businesses prefer to stick to older versions of the Windows operating system. The most used version within businesses, by far, is Windows 7, which Softchoice found to be in use on 91 per cent of the devices it investigated.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, some computing devices were still running much older versions of Windows. For instance, five per cent of the devices were still running Windows XP. Although use of XP is declining (down 20 per cent from Softchoice’s study last year), it’s still finding more acceptance than Windows 8, which was found in four per cent of the devices analysed (up two per cent from last year’s study). Enterprises were found to have the largest XP install bases.

“It appears businesses are hesitant to take advantage of the various Windows 10 upgrades and, at least for now, are satisfied with Windows 7,” said David Brisbois, senior manager of assessment and technology deployment services consulting at Softchoice, in a statement. “Historically, OS upgrades have been viewed as major time and resource-consuming undertakings, and this may be influencing the decision today to hold off on Windows 10.”

Softchoice, a Microsoft partner, expects businesses to begin embracing Windows 10 in time. As Craig McQueen, director of Softchoice’s Microsoft practice, noted in the announcement of the research, “I think once organizations grasp the user benefits — such as touch and Cortana — we will start to see a boost in adoption.”

For Microsoft partners, this presents both a challenge and an opportunity. Operating system upgrades are no simple task (or easy sell), but if McQueen is correct, then more business will take an interest in Windows 10 as they explore the more advanced features of the latest version of the OS.

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