Considering Windows 10 Long Term Servicing Branch?

A first glance, Windows 10 Long Term Service Branch (LTSB) looks akin to previous servicing models for Windows: you get an operating system that only gets security and bug fixes but it essentially stays the same until the next version of Windows is released.

Windows 10 LTSB may look like an attractive alternative if you wanted to avoid the Windows as a Service model that effectively requires a new version of Windows 10 twice a year.

Well, sorry to say, Windows 10 LTSB has some significant limitations to consider. More specifically:

  • The use case Microsoft provides for LTSB is Automatic Teller Machines and shop floor computers. Indeed, Microsoft recommends against running Microsoft Office or productivity applications on LTSB.  This is important as it provides a reference point on how Microsoft is likely to prioritise feature and security development and support.
  • As commitment to the above point, Microsoft wont support LTSB on the Microsoft Surface, as various features do not work.
  • LTSB is only supported on the current generation of processor at time of release. It is not supported on earlier versions of processor. This isn’t necessarily a limitation when compared to Windows as a Service (two versions a year) but it is worth noting that a strategy based on LTSB is likely to result in multiple LTSB versions as time passes.
  • In reference to the previous point, upgrade to a new version of LTSB requires a new installation. This is in contrast to Windows as a Service model which uses in-place upgrades.
  • LTSB is missing various user focussed features such as Edge, Cortana, Windows Store, and Windows Hello. Perhaps you don’t need, or want, these features, but what about the next 10 years worth features? Perhaps some will come to LTSB, but if LTSB is targeted at special purpose computers it seems unlikely.

Rather than looking to swim against the Microsoft stream consider how you can get an efficient process in place to manage Windows as a Service. Leave LTSB for the use cases it is recommended for.

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