PC Users Like Windows 7 -- and Windows XP Early Windows 7 users like the new operating system, but many Windows XP users still like their nine-year-old OS. That's the word from two new reports by Forrester Research, which said that 86 percent of the first users of Microsoft's newest operating system are satisfied. The Forrester reports, created from an online survey of 4,559 U.S. consumers, also found that about 43 percent of Windows XP users don't have a reason to upgrade to 7. "The biggest competitor to Windows 7 isn't the Mac," said the report. "It's Windows XP." 'Thinner Client' Helped Upgrading Forrester noted that, in the past, most PC users did not upgrade to a new OS, although Mac and other technophile consumers have been the exceptions. Most PC users obtained a new OS when they got a new PC, which Forrester calls "replacement cycle upgrades." But, noted Forrester analyst JP Gownder, "the upgrade behavior was much stronger for 7." He attributes this to 7's being a "thinner client program than was Windows Vista." Previous OSes, he said, were designed with the assumption that they would be used on newer, faster hardware. Many users had to upgrade to new hardware to run Vista, but 7 runs on a variety of existing PCs. The growth of netbooks and the continued use of XP on older machines led to the need for a thinner OS, Gownder said. The report found that about 43 percent of surveyed users upgraded to 7 on an existing PC from an older operating system, and about 45 percent got 7 when they bought a new PC. The Forrester report also found that there is widespread awareness of Windows 7, with the vast majority of U.S. consumers -- about 90 percent -- aware of it by the end of last year. More than 60 million Windows 7 licenses were sold by the end of 2009, which made it the fastest-selling operating system in history. 'Universally' Positive Laura DiDio, an analyst with Information Technology Intelligence Corp., wasn't surprised at the findings. In her company's research, she said, there was "no perceptible push back about 7, and the response has universally been positive." After the difficulties with Vista, she said, Microsoft "had to knock it out of the park" on Windows 7. DiDio noted that 7's adoption has been helped by the "amazingly low" prices on a wide range of computers, with some families and businesses adding more units than they would have otherwise. Microsoft also undertook several initiatives, she said, so that the problems experienced with Vista could be avoided. A key one was paying attention to application and driver compatibility, since incompatibility was among the top complaints for Vista users. DiDio said her data showed only 10 to 12 percent of the installed base of business users upgraded to Vista, so most movement to 7 will come as an upgrade from XP or when a new machine is purchased.