Windows 10 will reach the ripe old age of one on Friday. Every birthday boy or girl deserves something nice for their birthday, and Windows 10 is no different.

Microsoft will release a number of upgraded apps to Windows 10 users next week. As an added gift, recent reports suggest that Windows 10 defied expectations, and is seen as a (qualified) success.

Moving To Windows 10

New research from Austin-based IT management network Spiceworks appears to confirm Microsoft’s claim that over one third of Windows users have moved to Windows 10, and that it is well on track to achieve the one billion devices target that Microsoft set when first released. 

According to the report Windows 10 Adoption: Sprinting out of the Gate, 38 percent of global organizations adopted Windows 10 as of as of June 30, in line with the 40 percent adoption rate IT professionals predicted in June 2015.

North America boasted the highest adoption rates at 39 percent, with 51 percent of companies larger than 250 employees having Windows 10 installed.

The report predicts Windows 10 adoption will reach 68 percent in 12 months and that apart from Windows 7's 69 percent approval rating, Windows 10 has an approval rating of 17 percent a year after its release.

While a 17 percent approval rate may not sound like much, compare this with the 3 percent approval rating Windows 8 scores or the zero percent Windows Vista scored.

Spiceworks is a professional network of millions of IT professionals used to connect with one another and thousands of technology brands and has no vested interest in Windows 10. The findings are based on information collected on June 30, 2016, from anonymized, aggregated technology usage data from IT professionals across the globe.

The company supplemented the technology usage data with survey data collected in May 2016, which included 866 respondents from North America and Europe.

And it indicates that Windows 10 so far is a success.

“In general the reception to Windows 10 in businesses and organizations has been pretty good. From an IT pro perspective, we found that 38 percent of organizations had adopted Windows 10, which according to our calculations is the fastest adoption of a Windows operating system ever,” Peter Tsai, IT content marketing manager at Spiceworks said.

“I think Microsoft says the same. It says that it is being run on 350 million devices and a lot of that has to do with how happy the IT pros are with Windows 10."

He added that 85 percent of the Windows pros they spoke with said they really liked Windows 10, with the majority of those saying they were ‘very’ or ‘extremely’ satisfied.

“There was some apprehension earlier with the preview version and just after it was released, but now that they have had their hands on it for it for a year, or longer with the preview, they were pretty much satisfied with it once they are worked out the quirks,” Tsai said.

Popular Or Not?

Leaving aside the discussion of whether users were forced to upgrade or not, a number of factors go into the popularity of Windows 10, not least of which is the looming 2020 expiration date for the ever popular Windows 7. Enterprises are looking for a way out. 

Microsoft has also offered a number of incentives to move.

“They[enterprises] weren’t necessarily forced but there was a strong incentive to enterprise users to upgrade, especially if you wanted the pro version you could upgrade for free before the upcoming deadline (July 29). A lot of people were ‘shocked’ that Microsoft was giving away something for free, especially something that they would have had to pay for in the past,” Tsai added.

“A lot of people jumped at the upgrade offer because it really cost them nothing to try it out and in our survey, 66 percent said the free upgrade was a huge driver.”

Before anyone starts to panic, first check your licensing agreement as, with service assurance, you might still have access to the free software after the deadline passes.

Those with enterprise 7 or 8 OS with an upgrade entitlement because of service assurance included in the contract can still upgrade for free after the deadline, but for those without an agreement, it can get pricey and people have been upgrading to try and get ahead of the curve, Tsai said.

The full release is $119.99 for Windows 10 Home or $199.99 for Pro.

Learning Opportunities

3 Major Win10 Trends

The report's insights can be broken down into three main themes:

1. Adoption on Pace

Among organizations using Windows 10, 58 percent actively implement the OS on end user devices and 42 percent are still in the testing phase. Organizations in the implementation phase primarily running Windows 10 on their laptops and desktops at 92 and 87 percent respectively, with nearly 40 percent running the OS on tablets and 10 percent running it on Windows smartphones.

“One of the things was that the Windows 10 phone might not be taking off the way they expected. I think they were thinking of tens of millions more devices from that side, but from IT pros who manage systems and endpoints and desktops, 40 percent of those seems quite high to us. That’s one third of people that they will need to hit their goal,” Tsai said

2. Worthy Successor to Windows 7

When comparing Windows 10 to previous versions of the OS, a majority of IT professionals believe that Windows 10 is a major improvement from Windows 8 across all metrics.

Additionally, a majority of IT professionals said when comparing Windows 10 to Windows 7, they saw improved performance, security and flexibility across devices as well as improvements to the start menu.

“Windows 10 is the favorite by people that manage and deploy operating systems. However, users still prefer Windows 7 because they’re familiar with it. End users don’t like to change, they don’t like to be retrained. Not all of them are tech savvy, so Windows 7 is the users' favorite,” Tsai explained.

“However, Windows IT pros are highly satisfied. Out of all the features it’s kind of funny that the number one feature that IT pros like is an old feature that IT pros like which is the start menu, which was abandoned with Windows 8 and was re-introduced with Windows 10.”

Big drivers, he added, included the new web browser, digital assistant Cortana, as well as the new interface that appears to combine Windows 7 and Windows 8.

3. Overcoming Initial Problems

Even still, 47 percent haven't adopted Windows 10 due to compatibility issues with hardware and software, while 36 percent of those who haven't downloaded it said they were concerned about the lack of control over Windows updates, and 36 percent were concerned with bugs in early releases.

However, Tsai said this is likely to change over the coming year. He points to concerns related to telemetry — reporting back information on system usage — during the preview period and early stage of the release as the problem. For enterprises, this posed considerable privacy issues:

“This was created more for the home users and people were afraid that that wouldn’t be possible to disable, but they figured that out pretty quickly so they were happy with that,” Tsai said.

“There were also compatibility concerns even though Windows 10 is similar to 7 and 8, as well as fears the software vendors might not support Windows 10 ... but a lot of the vendors have started to catch up so that’s not a problem.”

There were also concerns that Windows 10 was going to be really buggy. In a survey carried out by Spiceworks at the time of the preview release, about 60 percent of respondents anticipated bugs in the early release.

“Now when we observe it, only 30 percent think there is a bug, and we saw that in our community. People are saying wow Microsoft is really listening to our feedback and implementing these changes months later rather than years later," Tsai added.

Microsoft has given itself three years to make this a billion-device success, but on the eve of its first birthday, Windows 10 looks to be on course to meet its goals.