Windows Editions

NT 10 (Windows 10 and 11)

Feature comparison:

Edition

Windows Defender

Encryption

Domain Join

Group Policy Management

Remote Desktop

Hyper-V

NFS Client

ReFS

LTSC Updates

Home

Yes

Yes

No

No

No

No

No

No

No

Pro

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

No

No

Enterprise/Education

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

[1][2]

Long-Term Servicing Channel (LTSC)

Previously known as the long-term servicing branch (LTSB) in older releases of Windows, LTSC provides a stripped down version of Windows Enterprise. It removes pre-installed applications including [3]:

  • Cortana

  • Edge web browser

  • Microsoft Store

  • OneDrive

  • OneNote

  • Skype

During the supported lifecycle, no features or hardware support are added. Only security and bug fixes are provided.

Name

Years of Support

Version Feature Set is Based On

Windows 10 Enterprise LTSB 2015

10

Windows 10 Version 1507

Windows 10 Enterprise LTSB 2016

10

Windows 10 Version 1607

Windows 10 Enterprise LTSC 2019

10

Windows 10 Version 1809

Windows 10 Enterprise LTSC 2021

5

Windows 10 Version 21H2

Windows 11 Enterprise LTSC 2024

5

[5][6]

An installation of Windows Enterprise LTSC can switch to the traditional “current” update channel which recieves two major feature updates every year. This essentially turns it into Windows Enterprise. However, downgrading Windows Enterprise to Windows Enterprise LTSC is not supported. [4]

Windows Enterprise LTSC can only be upgraded to a new major release by manually running the “setup.exe” installer from a new ISO image. This can be done with a virtually mounted ISO image as the installation/upgrade files are copied locally to the C:\ drive. Windows Update will not provide upgrades to newer major versions. [8]

Microsoft Store

By default, the Microsoft Store is not installed on Windows Enterprise LTSC editions. As a workaround, all editions of Windows support manually downloading and installing APPX programs that are typically only available on the Microsoft Store. [10] This includes the Microsoft Store itself. The LTSC-Add-MicrosoftStore project on GitHub provides all of the required packages. Even though these packages are old, they will install on all versions of Windows Enterprise LTSC >= 2019. After the initial installation of the Microsoft Store, these can all be updated through the Microsoft Store itself.

PS C:\Windows\system32> cd $env:tmp
PS C:\Users\<USER>\AppData\Local\Temp> Invoke-WebRequest -Uri https://github.com/lixuy/LTSC-Add-MicrosoftStore/archive/2019.zip -OutFile LTSC-Add-MicrosoftStore-2019.zip
PS C:\Users\<USER>\AppData\Local\Temp> Expand-Archive -Path .\LTSC-Add-MicrosoftStore-2019.zip -DestinationPath $env:tmp
PS C:\Users\<USER>\AppData\Local\Temp> cd LTSC-Add-MicrosoftStore-2019\
PS C:\Users\<USER>\AppData\Local\Temp\LTSC-Add-MicrosoftStore-2019> Add-Store.cmd

Windows Photo Viewer

By default, Windows Photo Viewer is installed but not enabled in Windows LTSC editions. There is no default application set for viewing photos. Here are the steps to re-enable it as the default:

[9]

Downloads

Windows can be freely and legally downloaded directly from Microsoft:

  • Windows 10 Home and Pro = Limited features are enabled until a license key is provided. There is no expiration time for this trial. [7]

  • Windows 10 Enterprise and Enterprise LTSC = A 90 day full trial. There is no way to activate a production license during or after the trial period. License keys and production Windows installation ISO images can only be purchased in volume by a company and not an individual.

Bibliography

  1. “Compare Windows 10 editions.” Microsoft. Accessed May 9, 2021 https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/WindowsForBusiness/Compare

  2. “Windows 10 editions comparison with features.” Whatvwant. October 16, 2020. Accessed May 9, 2021. https://whatvwant.com/windows-10-editions-comparison-with-features/

  3. “LTSC: What is it, and when should it be used?” Windows IT Pro Blog. July 15, 2019. Accessed August 31, 2021. https://techcommunity.microsoft.com/t5/windows-it-pro-blog/ltsc-what-is-it-and-when-should-it-be-used/ba-p/293181

  4. “Windows 10 edition upgrade.” Microsoft Docs. March 25, 2021. Accessed May 9, 2021. https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/windows/deployment/upgrade/windows-10-edition-upgrades

  5. “Microsoft is cutting Windows 10 Enterprise LTSC support from ten years to five.” ZDNet. February 18, 2021. Accessed August 31, 2021. https://www.zdnet.com/article/microsoft-is-cutting-windows-10-enterprise-ltsc-support-from-ten-years-to-five/

  6. “Microsoft says that there will be a Windows 11 LTSC release, but it’s a few years out.” Neowin. July 21, 2021. Accessed August 31, 2021. https://www.neowin.net/news/microsoft-says-that-there-will-be-a-windows-11-ltsc-release-but-its-a-few-years-out/

  7. “Question About Windows 10 Trial.” Microsoft Community. January 1, 2017. Accessed August 31, 2021. https://answers.microsoft.com/en-us/windows/forum/all/question-about-windows-10-trial/fd9b4d3a-f44c-4a38-ae89-12b4692c744e

  8. “Upgrading Windows 10 2016 LTSB to Windows 10 2019 LTSC.” Roberto Viola. July 28, 2020. Accessed August 31, 2021. https://robertoviola.cloud/2020/07/28/upgrading-windows-10-2016-ltsb-to-windows-10-2019-ltsc/

  9. “How to Restore Windows Photo Viewer in Windows 10.” Windows 10 Help Forums. October 30, 2020. Accessed January 15, 2022. https://www.tenforums.com/tutorials/14312-restore-windows-photo-viewer-windows-10-a.html

  10. “How to Download APPX file of Any App from Windows Store.” WindowsLoop. Accessed April 8, 2022. https://windowsloop.com/how-to-download-appx-file-of-any-app-from-windows-store/