Microsoft is shortening the support lifecycle of Windows 10 Enterprise Long Term Servicing Channel (LTSC) releases from 10 years down to only five years.
This way, the company is cutting down the available time to avoid installing Windows 10 feature updates in half for users of devices running LTSC releases (previously known as ‘mission-critical’).
Microsoft advises users who want to keep their devices on the same Windows version for years (more than five) to switch to Windows 10 IoT Enterprise LTSC releases (binary equivalents to the Enterprise releases), which will remain on the current 10-year support lifecycle.
The LTSC lifecycle changes will be enacted starting with the second half of this year, when the next IoT and Enterprise LTSC versions (most likely tagged as 21H2) are scheduled to be launched.
“Today we are announcing that the next version of Windows 10 Enterprise LTSC and Windows 10 IoT Enterprise LTSC will be released in the second half (H2) of calendar year 2021,” Microsoft 365 Senior Product Manager Joe Luri explained in a blog post published on Thursday.
“Windows 10 Client LTSC will change to a 5-year lifecycle, aligning with the changes to the next perpetual version of Office.
“Note that Windows 10 IoT Enterprise LTSC is maintaining the 10-year support lifecycle; this change is only being announced for Office LTSC and Windows 10 Enterprise LTSC.”
— Windows IT Pro (@MSWindowsITPro) February 18, 2021
According to Microsoft, these lifecycle changes were also endorsed by customers who have also said that ten years of LTSC support are more than they require.
“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,” Luri added.
“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.”
He also added that Windows 10 Enterprise LTSC 2015/2016/2019 releases would remain on the current decade-long support lifecycle since the changes only affected the next Enterprise LTSC versions.