Microsoft reduces Windows 10 Enterprise LTSC support to 5 years

Microsoft announced today that the next Windows 10 Enterprise Long-Term Servicing Channel version will have a reduced support lifecycle of five years.

When Microsoft released Windows 10 in 2015, it introduced Windows as a service. The main difference to previous versions of the operating system, for instance Windows 7 and Windows 8.1, was that the operating system was designed to receive regular feature updates.

In the past two years, feature updates were released twice a year. One update was larger and introduced new functionality and major changes, the other smaller and faster to install.

Next to these releases, Microsoft created long-term servicing channel releases for the Enterprise. In particular, Enterprise customers could purchase Windows 10 Enterprise LTSC or Windows 10 IoT Enterprise LTSC.

windows 10 enterprise ltsc

Microsoft guaranteed 10 years of support for each of the Windows 10 versions. These versions were designed for very specific scenarios, such as workstations without Internet connection.

Windows 10 Enterprise LTSC is meant for specialty devices and scenarios that simply cannot accept changes or connect to the cloud, but still require a desktop experience: regulated devices that cannot accept feature updates for years at a time, process control devices on the manufacturing floor that never touch the internet, and specialty systems that must stay locked in time and require a long-term support channel.

Starting with the upcoming Windows 10 Enterprise LTSC 21H2 release, lifecycles are reduced to a 5 year period. In other words: Windows 10 Enterprise LTSC version 21H2 will be supported until 2026; the last LTSC version released by Microsoft, Windows 10 2019 LTSC, will be supported until 2029 thanks to its 10-year support cycle. Current Windows 10 Enterprise LTSC releases will retain their 10-year support lifecycle.

The new support lifecycle is aligned with the support cycle of the next version of Microsoft Office, announced yesterday as well.

The change affects Windows 10 Enterprise LTSC only, and not Windows 10 iOT Enterprise LTSC. The two versions of Windows are « binary equivalents » according to Microsoft; the only difference is found in licensing.

Microsoft recommends that Enterprise customers switch to Windows 10 IoT Enterprise LTSC if a 10-year support cycle is required.

The company explains that it was through conversation with its customers that it decided to make the change to the support lifecycle of the upcoming product.

Through in-depth conversations with customers, we have found that many who previously installed an LTSC version for information worker desktops have found that they do not require the full 10-year lifecycle. With the fast and increasing pace of technological change, it is a challenge to get the up-to-date experience customers expect when using a decade-old product. Where scenarios do require 10 years of support, we have found in our conversations that these needs are often better solved with Windows 10 IoT Enterprise LTSC.

Now You: what is your take on the change? (via Deskmodder)

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