Specialized systems—such as devices that control medical equipment, point-of-sale systems, and ATMs—often require a longer servicing option because of their purpose. These devices typically perform a single important task and don’t need feature updates as frequently as other devices in the organization. It’s more important that these devices be kept as stable and secure as possible than up to date with user interface changes. The LTSC servicing model prevents Enterprise LTSC devices from receiving the usual feature updates and provides only quality updates to ensure that device security stays up to date. With this in mind, quality updates are still immediately available to Windows 10 IoT Enterprise LTSC devices, but customers can choose to defer them by using one of the servicing tools.
When to use an LTSC?
The Long-term Servicing channel is not intended for deployment on most or all the devices in an organization; it should be used only for special-purpose devices such as an IoT device. As a general guideline, a device with Microsoft Office installed is a general-purpose device, typically used by an information worker, and therefore it is better suited for the General Availability channel. Microsoft never publishes feature updates through Windows Update on devices that run Windows 10 IoT Enterprise LTSC. Instead, it typically offers new LTSC releases every 2–3 years, and organizations can choose to install them as in-place upgrades or even skip releases over a 10-year life cycle.
LTSC releases will support the currently released processors and chipsets at the time of release of the LTSC. As future CPU generations are released, support will be created through future LTSC releases that customers can deploy for those systems. You can find more information on what the latest processor and chipsets are supported on Windows in Lifecycle support policy FAQ - Windows Products.
But what about an LTSC release for Windows 11 IoT Enterprise?
Microsoft currently makes available a new Windows 10 IoT Enterprise LTSC release approximately every three years. Each Windows 10 IoT Enterprise LTSC release is its own SKU and contains all the new capabilities and support updates included in the Windows 10 IoT Enterprise features updates since the previous LTSC release. To access these feature updates, a new Windows 10 IoT Enterprise LTSC SKU license must be purchased. For example, to get access to the new security, deployment, and management updates and features released since the launch of Windows 10 IoT Enterprise 2016 LTSC, a license for Windows 10 IoT Enterprise 2019 LTSC must be purchased, and an update applied to the device. Please note that due to the long life of the LTSC releases and the benefit of remaining on a specific release for 10 years, an upgrade fee will be charged for customers moving from one LTSC release to another. Our LTSC for this year (2021) is based on Windows 10 because of its maturity and stability and our next LTSC will be based on Windows 11.
Lastly, we would like to invite you to join us at the Windows for IoT Launch Summit on Tuesday, October 19th, 2021. We will be talking in detail about topics such as features and functionalities in the upcoming release, IoT device security, and how you can bring intelligence to the edge with Windows for IoT. This virtual event is open to anyone and will be repeated twice to accommodate our global time zones. The event is free to attend – and we hope to see you there!