Microsoft slashes Windows 10 long-term support by half


Microsoft has slashed support from 10 years to just five for Windows 10 LTSC, the version the company once pitched to enterprises as the OS that foreswore constant updating.

In a Feb. 18 post to a Microsoft blog, Joe Lurie, senior product marketing manager, announced that the next iteration of Windows 10 LTSC, aka “Long-term Support Channel,” will be released in the second half of this year. That timetable means the next LTSC will be pegged as either Windows 10 Enterprise LTSC 2021 or Windows 10 Enterprise LTSC 2022.

That was expected: Almost two years ago, Microsoft said it would deliver another LTSC “toward the end of 2021.”

What wasn’t anticipated: The massive reduction in support. “Windows 10 Client LTSC will change to a 5-year lifecycle, aligning with the changes to the next perpetual version of Office,” Lurie wrote.

Past editions of LTSC will be unaffected. Windows 10 Enterprise LTSC 2015, 2016 and 2019 will get  support until Oct. 14, 2025, Oct. 13, 2026, and Jan. 9, 2029, respectively. (Before 2019, Microsoft labeled this version of Windows LTSB, for Long-term Service Branch. Whether Branch or Channel, they all got at least a decade of support.)

Just like the old days

When Microsoft launched Windows 10 and its twice-annual update regimen in mid-2015, the Redmond, Wash. company portrayed the long-term edition as the version closest to the then-standard Windows 7. Like Windows 7, Windows 10 LTSB would be supported for 10 years, with that stretch broken into the same two five-year segments, Mainstream and Extended, as its ancestral OS. The only regular updates it would receive would be monthly security fixes, just like Windows 7.

Copyright © 2021 IDG Communications, Inc.

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