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More than half of Windows 8 users just treat it like Windows 7

Almost nobody using Windows Store apps, survey finds

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For all Microsoft's hype about The Interface Formerly Known As Metro (TIFKAM), more than half of all Windows 8 users ignore the new Start Screen and treat the OS as if it were Windows 7, according to a study by PC management firm Soluto.

Soluto chart tracking Windows Store app use

How many Windows 8 users launch a Windows Store app less than once per day? Most of them (Source: Soluto)

Soluto surveyed 10,848 Windows 8 PCs for an average of 27.4 days per device and found that 61 per cent of desktop PC users launched a TIFKAM app less than once per day. The same was true for 60 per cent of laptop users.

You might think those numbers would be dramatically different for touchscreen devices, but no. Tablet and touchscreen laptop users did launch TIFKAM apps more often, but 58 per cent of touchscreen laptop owners still did so less than once per day. Same for 44 per cent of tablet owners.

Taken all together, tablet users launched a TIFKAM app 2.71 times per day, on average – which is pathetic, when you consider that tablet owners are meant to be doing absolutely everything with touch.

Touch laptop owners launched a TIFKAM app an average of 2.22 times per day, and the numbers only go down from there, with desktop PC users only launching a TIFKAM app 1.41 times per day.

Put bluntly, it would be fair to say that most desktop PC users never use Microsoft's vaunted new UI at all – or they only do so when they absolutely have to.

Soluto chart showing how often Windows 8 apps are used

Those who do use Windows Store apps don't use them many times per day, either (Source: Soluto)

Soluto's numbers on the apps front were none too rosy, either. Microsoft is desperate to get developers building TIFKAM apps for Windows 8 and Windows RT, but it looks like there are few real incentives for them to do so.

The "most engaging" TIFKAM app was Yahoo! Mail, and its users launched it an average of 26.91 times per week. The next two most frequently launched apps were social networking apps that come preinstalled on Acer Windows 8 PCs, which also got used often. But by the time you get to the fifth most-launched app – Microsoft's own Communications Apps – users were launching it less than once per day.

On average, users launched most of the apps on the "most engaging" list twice per week or less – which by our reckoning doesn't sound like they were particularly engaged.

None of these results came as any surprise to the Windows 8 users here at Vulture Annex, the consensus among them being that they avoid the Start Screen like a leper wearing a loud shirt. But Soluto's figures should be especially worrying to Microsoft, which has already spent mega-millions on marketing Windows 8's new UI, apparently to little effect.

Redmond is planning to offer a preview of a Windows 8.1 update toward the end of June, which many industry-watchers are hoping will help to rectify some of Windows 8's more obvious deficiencies. We've heard various rumors about changes it might bring, ranging from restoring the Start button to allowing users to skip the Start Screen altogether.

Hopefully Microsoft hasn't spent too much effort polishing up its bundled TIFKAM apps, though – because, honestly, no one will notice. ®

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