A new survey shows that early adopters are overall quite happy with their switch to Windows 7.
The survey, conducted by market research firm Forrester Research, found that U.S. online consumers who identified themselves as early adopters and had purchased Windows 7 were satisfied with the move overall.
Of the 4,559 consumers polled, 490 of them had acquired Windows 7 either with a new PC or as an upgrade to an existing PC. The survey was conducted between Dec. 22 and Dec. 28. Windows 7's consumer debut was Oct. 22.
"We found that consumers who adopted Windows 7 in Q4 were generally very satisfied with their Windows 7 PCs," Forrester analyst JP Gownder, one of the authors of the report, said in a blog post Monday.
The survey found that, of Windows 7 early adopters, 86 percent are satisfied overall, as compared to 74 percent of all Windows users in the sample.
Sales of Windows 7 have been robust to date. In early March, Microsoft spokesperson Brandon LeBlanc posted an entry to the Windows Team blog stating that the company had already sold some 90 million copies of Windows 7.
The Forrester report underlines those numbers. For instance, Windows 7 users ranked the new operating system several percentage points ahead of Windows users overall in categories ranging from ease of installation to reliability to how much it costs. In the category of speed, Windows 7 was nearly 10 percent ahead of other versions of Windows.
The survey found that, while 45 percent of Windows 7 users obtained the system with a new PC, almost an equal number -- 43 percent bought it as an upgrade to an earlier version of Windows. That's unusual but there are good reasons for that upgrade behavior.
"In short, Windows 7 is a thinner client program than was Windows Vista, meaning that it works well on older hardware configurations," Gownder's blog post said.
"The rise of netbooks, the physical assets of multi-PC households, and an attachment by many consumers to their Windows XP machines all contributed to the need for a sleeker, thinner Windows OS, which Windows 7 delivered," Gownder added.
Although Forrester's survey was focused on consumer purchasing behavior, frequently that behavior is a harbinger of how a new version of Windows is ultimately accepted by enterprise IT shops -- or not.
Some pundits have already projected that many corporate IT shops will eschew their usual 12 to 18 month waiting period after a new Windows release and, instead, move to Windows 7 before the release of Service Pack 1 (SP1).
Microsoft recently did begin talking about what will be included in Windows 7 SP1, although it didn't give any inkling as to the date for its release.