Windows is back — and in a very big way. That was the word today from Yusuf Mehdi, Corporate Vice President for the Windows and Devices Group at Microsoft.

Mehdi said there are more than 200 million monthly active devices around the world running Windows 10. That’s almost double the 110 million announced in October, making it the fastest growing version of Windows in history.

A Whole Lotta Love

According to Mehdi both consumers and enterprises are excited about Windows 10. In fact, an impressive 76 percent of Microsoft’s enterprise customers are in active pilots of Windows 10, and more than 22 million company owned or managed, devices are already running Windows 10.

While we all know that downloads and installs are a good measures initially, it’s engagement that counts.

Microsoft seems to be on a winning trajectory here as well. Mehdi said people have spent over 11 billion hours on Windows 10 in December alone, more than ever before.

What's the Appeal?

What’s so engaging? Cortana, Microsoft’s digital assistant for one thing. Some people have described Cortana as a smarter version of Apple’s Siri or Google’s “OK Google.” It leverages Bing’s machine learning and big data analytics capabilities, which successfully predicted the winner of the World Cup.

Windows 10 users have asked Cortana 2.5 billion questions since the OS launched.

Mehdi also noted that engagement with Microsoft Edge, the Internet Explorer replacement, was high with 44.5 billion minutes spent on Windows 10 devices in just the last month.

Photo sharing and gaming also appear to be Windows 10 hits.

The Rest of the Story

Of course, some of Windows 10 popularity is involuntary. In some cases, Microsoft forced it on Windows users, downloading and installing it without expressed permission.

(If I remember right, in my case, the download came out of the blue. I was then asked if I wanted to install it now or when I shutdown my computer. “No thanks” was not an option.)

Not only that, but some features (such as sound in my case) were lost as part of the upgrade. Though Microsoft customer support seems to be readily available and willing to try to respond to issues (call or tweet), in some cases the solution literally doesn’t exist. In my case, for example, Windows 10 didn’t include a provision for sound on my specific Dell computer. The workaround? Go back to an earlier version of Windows or forgo sound. It’s worth noting too that the window for going back to a previous version is 30 days and that, later, the prompts to upgrade return.

Tried It, Don’t Like It

Microsoft Edge may not be the hit it seems to be. Internet analytics firm Net Applications said that the Internet Explorer replacement actually lost market share in December. What this suggests is that some who tried it liked other browsers better.

"Free" Sells

It’s important to note that for many, many current Windows users the upgrade to Windows 10 is free for one year, and that’s at least one reason it’s become so widely adopted.

In addition, most users seem to like features such as Cortana, improved security, photo sharing and gaming enhancements.

So all in all, unless you’re an exception like me, the Windows 10 transition seems to be well received.

On a personal note, I’d be delighted if Cortana called me when my fix was ready, but I’ve gone back to Windows 7 where Cortana doesn’t exist.

So every time Microsoft alerts me to how much safer I’d be if I upgraded to Windows 10, I speak into a void asking if my sound problem has been addressed.