What’s Changing with Windows 10 IoT Enterprise in 2021?

News about LTSC and vNext

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Recently, Microsoft made two big announcements about the future of Windows 10 IoT Enterprise LTSC (Long Term Servicing Channel).

First, Microsoft is changing the terms for Windows 10 Client LTSC (not the IoT version) from a 10-year to a 5-year lifecycle. Windows 10 IoT Enterprise will maintain a 10-year lifecycle.

Second, the next version of Windows 10 IoT Enterprise LTSC, currently referred to as Windows 10 IoT vNext, will be available sometime in the second half of 2021.

Whether you’re considering choosing the vNext version of Windows 10 IoT Enterprise as your IoT OS or still have a few years on your current version of Windows 10 IoT Enterprise, it’s important to understand what these changes mean and how they could affect you.

As an Authorized Microsoft Distributor, Bsquare is also available to answer any of your questions. Feel free to contact one of our experts, or read more.

What is changing with Windows 10 IoT Enterprise LTSC?

Microsoft is acknowledging that the needs and lifecycles of embedded devices are different from regular laptops and workstations. The upcoming version of Window 10 Enterprise LTSC, commonly used on laptop and desktop computers, will be offered as a 5-year lifecycle, rather than a 10-year lifecycle, which is what was offered for previous versions.

Embedded devices are generally deployed for a longer term and require a longer support commitment. So Windows 10 IoT Enterprise and Windows Server IoT 2019 will continue to offer the full 10-year lifecycle, even with the new OS release in the fall. (Wondering about End of Service dates in general? Explore our overview of EOS dates for Windows IoT and embedded products.)

“We’re glad that Microsoft continues to recognize the longer support needs that our OEM customers and their fixed-purpose devices require,” says Tim Shaw, Director of Business Development at Bsquare. “This just underscores that Windows 10 IoT Enterprise LTSC is the right solution for IoT devices and systems. Manufacturers can feel secure that their OS will remain patched and supported for a full decade.”

As details about the new version of Windows 10 IoT Enterprise vNext are released, we’ll keep you posted. We know that this version will be further optimized for IoT workloads and will offer a reduced footprint to keep your BOM costs lower. At the recent Microsoft Ignite conference, the IoT team announced a number of ways they’re paving the way for widespread IoT adoption.

What is an LTSC?

Long-Term Servicing Channel isn’t just a reference to the amount of time customers get support. LTSC is designed to be used only with single-use, purpose-built devices. With LTSC support, Microsoft removes Windows Store from the installation.

This is different from the SAC (Semi-Annual Channel), which is designed for general-purpose devices. Releases are supported for 18 months, with optional feature updates every six months, and it includes Windows Store, Cortana, and other consumer-facing applications not included in LTSC.

For more information, visit our blog post explaining these and other common Windows IoT licensing acronyms.

Whether you’re planning on getting a Windows IoT license soon, or already have one, you can contact Bsquare to get started.