Microsoft’s Most Popular Software Applications

At PC Pitstop, with the success of PC Matic and SuperShield, we now have a very large and active user base. On top of that, these cloud-based applications provide us with a unique look into how computers are being used. In this article, we share some of these amazing insights and take a closer look at the Microsoft applications that are being used the most. We measured this by examining the number of times an application was opened in a seven day period of from April 30, 2012 through May 7, 2012. During that time, 19895 computers were included in this analysis.

Ranking Microsoft Application Usage
1 iexplore.EXE 449588
4 EXCEL.EXE 13116
5 Solitaire.exe 7822
6 freecell.exe 6761
7 SpiderSolitaire.exe 6165
8 notepad.exe 5621
9 WinMail.exe 5543
10 calc.exe 4774
12 WinCal.exe 3172
13 sol.exe 2837
14 spider.exe 2642
15 Hearts.exe 2406
16 mspaint.exe 1937
17 Mahjong.exe 1741
18 wordpad.exe 1147
19 regedit.exe 994
20 MSPUB.EXE 919
22 MineSweeper.exe 506

Not surprising, Internet Explorer is the top Microsoft Application. Despite competition from Chrome and Firefox, Internet Explorer is still the world’s number one browser. On top of that, every time Internet Explorer opens a new tab, it opens up a new instance of Internet Explorer. These two simple facts drive Internet Explorer’s counts through the stratosphere.

The #2 Microsoft application is quite the surprise. It is Microsoft Word. In that one week period of time, Word was opened 26,768 times from those 19895 computers. That is over 1 time per week per computer. What is surprising about this result is that there are literally dozens of word processing programs in use, which has led to the use of the more universal PDF format for document distributions. Historically, people would send DOC documents via email, and to view the document, Word would be opened. However, although more and more people now send document files via PDF, Microsoft Word still occupies the #2 spot.

Another component of Office is Outlook, which is an application that also has strong competition in the form of many competing email client programs. One of the more popular is Thunderbird, which is more powerful, more flexible, and easier to use. Plus it is free. However, Thunderbird use is obviously in the minority since Outlook is the third most used Microsoft application.

Then on top of that, #4 on the list is Microsoft Excel. Excel may be the de facto standard for advanced users that write formulas and use pivot tables. All of this is great news for Microsoft because 3 of the top 4 applications are all part of their flagship, and expensive, Office suite. So not only are people paying for this product, they are using it a lot.

But after work comes play, and the next popular application by Microsoft is the old standby, solitaire. If you look at #13 on the list, it is a different version of solitaire. So if you add the two solitaires together, solitaire is a solid #5, but not enough to overtake Excel.

After that is another free game by Microsoft called FreeCell. Then #7 is Spider Solitaire. In fact, #14 on the list is another version of Spider Solitaire, and if you add the two together, Spider actually overtakes FreeCell for the #6 spot. There is something about Spider Solitaire that is quite addictive, which is why it scores so high on the list.

The trusty old notepad comes in at #8 which is surprisingly low. There are so many uses for Notepad. It would be great if Microsoft would add some features into Notepad like AutoSave, but it is clear that a lot of people use it.

Next comes Windows Mail and Calculator, rounding out the Top 10.

PowerPoint is #11 on the all-time Microsoft application hit parade. It seems like presentations using PowerPoint slides are on the rise, so don’t be surprised to see PowerPoint move up this list in the future.

Of the next 12 applications on the list, 5 of them are more games! MS Paint is also used by many as well.

In conclusion, Microsoft’s Office applications dominate PC usage, but after that despite all of the new features that Microsoft tries to put into Windows, people seem to be addicted to playing the free games included in Windows.

Let us know what you think below. Do you use a lot of the Microsoft applications?

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5 thoughts on “Microsoft’s Most Popular Software Applications”

  1. I still use it because it was the last software i bought that truly belongs to me, I got it with the computer, not buy it and cant use it like I want,only install as MS says.

  2. Hey, I’m still using MS Office for most of my home and office work – but it’s MS Office 2000! As far as I’m concerned, starting with MSO 2003 they (Microsft) really starting messing the whole office suite up so bad… And I’ll keep using this version until windows OSs will not support it any longer. This happened to Outlook in Vista, so I switched to Thunderbird as my email client. As you said it works great and backs up with Syncback with no glitches, which Windows Live Mail won’t do/allow. In my job I use MS Access (2000) all day long with many databases linked for consolidation of information. As I said, MS Office 2000 is still the best…

  3. Presumably you have only measured the most popular Microsoft applications running on Microsoft Windows operating systems. While my household has in the last two years fully switched to Macs with OS X 10.6.8 (Snow Leopard), our most used applications remain Outlook, Word and Excel, with Powerpoint used occasionally – not too different to the usage above.

    The latest version of Office applications on the Macs (Office 2011 for Mac) are really good – better than the Office 2010 I must use at work anyway.

  4. Word being number 2 is not a surprise to me, and shouldn’t be for anyone. It’s obviously one of the most-used programs in the world.

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