The idea of introducing Windows 10 LTSC as the standard client operating system is very tempting. But what risks does it involve? What are the LTSC versions actually about? Our expert Thino Ullmann answers all the questions on this topic and explains why Windows 10 LTSC is not the solution as a standard client operating system.
To avoid confusion, let me clarify something right at the start of my article. Windows 10 LTSC is identical to Windows 10 LTSB (Windows 10 Long Term Servicing Branch); the Microsoft Marketing Team merely changed the name at some time in the past.
Over recent decades, companies have acquired a lot of experience in managing Microsoft Windows clients. Operating system release cycles of three to five years were the rule. Viewed from this perspective, it is hardly surprising that companies are keen to deploy Windows 10 LTSC as their future Windows 10 version. Microsoft introduced a new concept for Windows 10 release management with the introduction of Windows 10 – Windows as a Service (WaaS). The new normality is now a six-monthly release cycle, forcing companies to rethink. The familiar release cycles for operating systems no longer apply. But with the right approach, the new concept can cut IT costs and improve the security level in the medium to long-term.
There’s a Place for Windows 10 LTSC!
Depending on the company, Microsoft Windows 10 LTSC is certainly a useful deal, specifically for systems that are used in business-critical areas. They may include systems used in manufacturing (machine control), laboratory systems, ATM machines or embedded systems like the ones frequently encountered at airports and in public spaces. It follows, therefore, that this version is suitable for environments that rely on functional stability and longer maintenance options. So it already seems reasonable to ask why companies would choose to deploy Windows 10 LTSC as their standard client operating system if it is actually designed for other areas of use?
Why not Pick Windows 10 LTSC!?
When considering Windows 10 LTSC, companies frequently mention that the default version of this operating system is delivered without apps that are already included in the versions Windows 10 Pro and Windows 10 Enterprise. But this motivation is not enough, as – on the other hand – the Windows version comes with a whole stack of restrictions that wipe out any apparent benefits inherent to this aspect.
For instance, the Windows 10 LTSC 2016 Version does not support any Intel CPUs above Kaby Lake, which prompts me to list a few of the important drawbacks:
No support for:
In-place upgrade of Windows 7 to Windows 10 LTSC
New features and support for more recent processor and chip generations will only come every two to three years for a new Windows 10 LTSC version
Windows Analytics Upgrade Readiness
LTSC does not keep pace with the feature enhancements for Windows Defender ATP
No clearly defined roadmap for future versions
No support for Microsoft Office 365 (Office 2016) from January 2020
Quite apart from these aspects, the devil is actually in the detail. Here an example: There have been problems with .NET Version 4.6.2 when Windows LTSB 2015 was installed on a touch device, leading to a failure of all .NET applications. And although the issue has since been rectified, it does indicate the significance of what needs to be considered before rolling out the system.
Possible questions in regard to the use of Windows 10 LTSC
Will there be productive software running on the client operating system, for instance Microsoft Office, AutoCAD applications etc.?
Can it be completely excluded in the medium to long term that the limitations of Windows 10 LTSC will not force the roll-out of Windows 10 Pro or Windows 10 Enterprise?
Will it be necessary to support future generations of chips and processors, for instance due to cyclic hardware replacement?
Is it possible to ensure that other vendors will provide security solutions?
Are Windows Store apps needed, for example OneNote, which can only be deployed via the Windows Store from Microsoft Office 2019?
Is it necessary to ensure that employees can access the Internet without functional restrictions?
How does Gartner rate Windows 10 LTSC?
Some readers see Gartner studies as an important benchmark for their decisions. That’s why I would like to refer to an article by Gartner on this issue. Gartner speaks of Windows 10 LTSB in its study, but this is because the article was written before Windows 10 LTSB was renamed Windows 10 LTSC.
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