How are new users interacting with Windows 8 and using its new features? It’s a key question given all the changes in the operating system, and today Microsoft provided the first detailed glimpse of the early usage patterns.

The data was released as Microsoft disclosed Windows 8 sales figures for the first month since the operating system’s debut, announcing that 40 million licenses had been sold to businesses and consumers.

Speaking at a Credit Suisse technology conference, Windows executive Tami Reller also shared some of the telemetry data that Microsoft has collected from Windows 8 users who opt-in to share information about their usage with the company.

Here are some of the stats provided by the company.

  • More than 90 percent of customers use the charms like Search and Share on the first day of use.
  • More than 85 percent launch the desktop, and half visit the Windows Store on the first day.
  • On average, customers add 19 tiles in week one, with more than 25% of customers adding 30 or more within days.

The numbers do suggest some level of comfort with the new Windows 8 interface among early adopters, which is notable given the red flags raised by people such as me about the degree of change brought on by Windows 8.

Of course, those are all the favorable data, and we’re not seeing a full-blown statistical report here. Also, early adopters as a rule would tend to be more comfortable with the new operating system than many of the people who will be getting it on new computers from here on out, like it or not.

However, given all the changes, the fact that a large portion of people are even finding the “charms” and adding tiles is a good sign for Windows 8.

By the way, the same type of telemetry data contributed to the company’s decision to axe the Start button, after Microsoft found that many people were using the desktop taskbar to launch apps, rather than finding them through the Start button.

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Comments

  • http://www.facebook.com/brenton.klassen Brenton Klassen

    I use my start screen all day.

  • http://twitter.com/jdrch jdrch

    Goes to show the difference between small vocal factions and actual hard telemetry data. The latter always wins.

  • Bizdevguy

    Windows key + type the name of the app you want to start. Right click, Pin to task bar. Transition over with. Loving 8.

    • guest

      +X is also extremely useful, particular for desktop power users.

  • http://twitter.com/Vroo Vroo (Bruce Leban)

    You say “More than 90 percent of customers use the charms like Search and Share on the first day of use.” and conclude “The numbers do suggest some level of comfort with the new Windows 8 interface among early adopters”. IMHO, that conclusion is unwarranted.

    Users unfamiliar with Sharing will click on it to find out what it does. How many of them shared something vs. interacted with the sharing ui and canceled? Merely clicking an icon on day one to experiment says nothing. Using the same logic, 85% visiting the desktop suggests lack of comfort with the interface, with most users wanting to get back to the familiar desktop.

    I saw someone demo Windows 8 and show this awesome feature where you could split the screen and have 2 (yes, 2!) applications running at the same time! Yes, that would be cool on a phone. On a PC, it looks like Windows 3.0 redux, except limited to 2 (yes, only 2) apps. (And you can’t share a classic Windows app with a ‘modern’ Windows app.)

    Here are stats I’d like to see: speed of users performing common and uncommon tasks (a) compared to the previous version of Windows they used and (b) over time with Windows 8. If W8 is a success, (a) should not be too high and (b) should go down the longer someone uses W8 and eventually drop below previous versions. Time will tell. I know that for me and Office, neither (a) nor (b) is favorable.

    • Garrantsson

      The limitation to 2 concurrent apps running is only in the RT portion of Windows 8. RT was meant to be on touch devices to save energy for longer use, and as an introduction to the future of Windows. That people have such a hard time understanding that it’s not the end game of Windows but the beginning of the future, is amazing. Check out http://www.pixelsense.com/ for more on what’s coming in the future.

  • Guest

    They track what I click in an OS??!

    • http://geekwire.com Todd Bishop
      • Guest

        Thanks for the clarification. Now, how does one opt in or out? You own a surface, right, did it ask you that in the beginning during setup? Can we assume that opting in isn’t heavily biased towards advanced users or even MSFT employees? I am always very reluctant to have my moves tracked and assume that many others, who don’t have an explicit interest in providing feedback to MSFT, would too. Same BTW goes for Google so it’s not against MSFT specifically. I wonder if people who struggle with the OS would opt in as eagerly as say a software developer.

        • http://geekwire.com Todd Bishop

          Yep, if I recall correctly, there was an opt-in dialog on first boot-up. I actually can’t remember whether I opted in … I’ll see if I can figure it out in the settings.

          • Bob

            It’s part of selecting “Express Settings” vs custom and listed as such.

        • http://twitter.com/edbott Ed Bott

          It’s completely opt-in

  • Sprawl

    While I like 8 for the most part, these stats are a joke. Really? Someone clicked on the charms? Take away the Start button and most users just start clicking around.

  • nealfreeland

    40 M users and they’re still called the early adopters? Gotta love the scale of Windows.

    • Guest

      40 M licenses.

  • Guest

    Microsoft has logged over 1.5 billion impressions of users deploying the start screen. At 40 million ‘users’ this would be 37.5 clicks per user over a 1 month period. So let’s call it roughly one click per day – for simplicity. Of course it’s FAR FAR less than 40 million users that they are actually logging.

  • Guest

    And the timing has nothing to do with Microsoft’s annual shareholders meeting tomorrow. If Windows 8 is selling so well then why not share sales numbers on the Surface, too?

  • Larry Boppe

    I bought a Toshiba touch Screen Windows 8 over Thanksgiving The grumpiness and disappointment of no easy tutorial for Windows 8 have lasted longer than the turkey leftovers. I’ll get there but have been frustrated for 5 days. Microsoft could have done way better to make the conversion easier. Furthermore, there is NO Windows Easy Transfer program to go from XP to Windows 8…I used easy transfer from XP to Windows 7 and it left residual problems. PS: I am a 70 yr old retired guy with slightly better than average computer knowledge……say “hi” to your partner John Cook…..from the Cornelius, NC clan.

  • Larry Boppe

    I bought a Toshiba touch Screen Windows 8 over Thanksgiving The grumpiness and disappointment of no easy tutorial for Windows 8 have lasted longer than the turkey leftovers. I’ll get there but have been frustrated for 5 days. Microsoft could have done way better to make the conversion easier. Furthermore, there is NO Windows Easy Transfer program to go from XP to Windows 8…I used easy transfer from XP to Windows 7 and it left residual problems. PS: I am a 70 yr old retired guy with slightly better than average computer knowledge……say “hi” to your partner John Cook from the Cornelius, NC clan.

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