Last month, we reported how Windows XP had finally fallen below 40 percent market share. At the time, Windows 8 managed to grab 1 percent of the pie, and in December Microsoft’s newest OS progressed but did not double up. Nevertheless, Windows ended 2012 with a notable change: after six months of losing market share, Windows 7 and Windows 8 managed to give it a big enough boost to see a gain.

See also – IE10 below 1% market share, Firefox back under 20%, Chrome recovers from three months of losses

The latest market share data from Net Applications shows that December 2012 was a solid one for Windows 8, which gained 0.66 percentage points (from 1.11 percent to 1.77 percent) while Windows 7 gained 0.40 percentage points (from 44.71 percent to 45.11 percent). The real jump for Windows 8 will come in January, after all those shiny new PCs get a full month of online usage.

This is the first time Windows 7 has passed the 45 percent mark. Windows Vista meanwhile slipped 0.03 percentage points (from 5.70 percent to 5.67 percent) and doesn’t appear to be eager to fall under the 5 percent mark while Windows XP fell a huge 0.74 percentage points (from 39.82 percent to 39.08 percent).

windows 20121 730x507 Windows gains market share after six months of decline: Windows 8 grabs 1.77%, Windows 7 passes 45%

In the same time period, the overall Windows slice of the pie managed to increase for the first time in months: between November and December, it gained 0.29 percentage points (from 91.45 percent to 91.74 percent). This was at the expense of both OS X (which lost 0.23 percentage points and Linux (which dipped 0.06 percentage points).

After a full month of Windows 8 availability, we noted less than half of users chose to stick with the default IE10 browser. Two months in, it appears more users have opted to use Microsoft’s latest browser: 0.96 percent.

Net Applications uses data captured from 160 million unique visitors each month. The service monitors some 40,000 Web sites for its clients. StatCounter is another popular service for watching market share moves; the company looks at 15 billion page views.

To us, it makes more sense to keep track of users than of page views. Furthermore, for December 2012, StatCounter has yet to break out Windows 8 specific figures on its page.

Image credit: Robert Linder