When the groundhog saw his shadow last month, it wasn't a signal of an early spring but a hint that Windows would have one of those upside-down stretches.

Violating the cardinal rule of newer Windows editions, Windows 10 dropped the most user share since March 2018, making for a confusing picture about how customers' migrations are proceeding. Meanwhile, the already-supplanted Windows 7 added share to its total last month, erasing more than half of the end-of-the-year dramatic decline that at the time seemed to show a quickening pace toward its retirement.

[ Related: How to clean up your Windows 10 act ]

According to web analytics vendor Net Applications, Windows 10's share fell by six-tenths of a percentage point in February, ending the month at 40.3% of all personal computers and 46.1% of all PCs running Windows. (The second number is always larger than the first because Windows does not power all personal computers; in February, Windows ran 87% of the world's machines. All but a small fraction of the rest ran macOS, Linux or Chrome OS.)

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