The number of stars in the night sky might as well be infinite. We quite literally can’t count them all. But for the number of PCs in global use, we can do better. According to MS there are somewhere between 1 and 1.1 B Windows 10 PCs. Throw in another 300-400 M Windows 11 PCs. To be more accurate, MS calls them “monthly active users” which probably captures situations where one PC may host zero or more physical Windows instances, and zero or more Windows VMs, any of which must do something with an MS server in a 30-day period to get counted. But there’s more to counting PCs versus stars in the sky — namely, PCs running Mac OS and Linux.
Counting PCs versus Stars Takes More Than Windows
Copilot estimates the number of global PCs running Mac OS and Linux at around 300 M each. Thus, with the Windows global pop at somewhere between 1.3 and 1.5 B that puts the overall total at between 1.9 and 2.1 B. Sounds big, but consider that the same source (e.g. Copilot quoting Statista) estimates the global smartphone count at 6.8 B. That really puts things into perspective.
All this comes as prolog to yesterday’s coverage of a Canalys report — for instance, Martin Brinkmann’s Ghacks.net item — that estimates up to 240M PCs may wind up getting junked after Windows 10 hits EOL on 10/14/2025. Personally, I think this is mere headline fodder. Many users who want to keep running older PCs will do so even if they don’t buy into Microsoft’s ESU (Extended Service Updates) program. Many will switch over to Linux instead.
Though some will undoubtedly get junked, I don’t think that means all such devices will wind up in landfills, either. But for those inclined to put them on the curb, I’d recommend finding a safer means and a better place for disposal. US-based readers should recall, please, that Goodwill accepts and disposes responsibly of e-waste, including PCs. And don’t forget to wipe their drives — thoroughly! — before passing them on to anyone else. If there’s no Goodwill in your area, call your local city or county trash pickup provider: they’ll probably know something useful. Cheers.