Windows 11 IOT Enterprise LTSC vs Windows 11 Pro

New Era Electronics
Published on:
May 22, 2024
Published in:

A Quick Summary of Windows 11 Versions

To fully understand how Windows 11 IOT LTSC differs from other versions, lets take a quick look at the different versions of Windows 11.

Windows 11 was the next major operating system released to replace Windows 10. It was released at the tail end of 2021 in 2 primary editions: Home which is intended for consumer users. And Pro for use in businesses and by IT professionals. Each version (or major update) receives 24 months of support from the time of release.

Then there is Windows 11 Enterprise, a separate version of Windows that provides additional, more advanced security and IT features such as advanced encryption, identity protection, and greater virtualization capabilities. Each release of Enterprise receives 36 months of support from the time of release. There is one release per year which simplifies support.

Then from this we have Windows 11 IOT Enterprise which is a version of the above Windows 11 Enterprise that is designed specifically for IOT devices. It has added security features for IOT devices, branding options, device management features, and even a kiosk mode. This is an OS suited to devices like a point-of-sale retail device. Similar to regular Windows 11 Enterprise, each major release (or major update) of Enterprise receives 36 months of support from the time of release. There is one release per year.

And then finally there is Windows 11 IOT Enterprise LTSC. The LTSC stands for Long Term Support Channel. It is a version of Windows 11 that is made for dedicated embedded systems, not for general use. It allows the user to customize their version of Windows, with the ability to remove up to 36 software packages, and locks the device into that specific version of the OS. Each of version of Windows 11 IOT LTSC will receive 10 years of support. It also offers a pricing model that is a lot more affordable to most OEMs, based on the hardware used in the end device. For those familiar with Windows 10 IOT Enterprise or the older versions of Windows Embedded, this is the equivalent for Windows 11.

Windows IOT LTSC – The Embedded Windows

For almost all industrial purposes, Windows 11 IOT LTSC is the obvious option. 

Whether the application be:

  • Medical
  • Digital Signage
  • Robotics
  • Automation
  • In-Vehicle
  • Kiosk
  • Etc.

If you are deploying a dedicated device (such as an embedded system), you are going to want to have full control over what updates are applied to that device. That means no risk of automatic updates being applied at critical times. It also means you don’t have to worry about having different versions of software deployed on your devices. AND you have the peace of mind that the version of Windows installed on your devices will be supported for 10 years.

As a summary, here are the benefits of Windows 11 IOT LTSC over Windows 11 Pro:

Windows 11 Professional Windows 11 IOT Enterprise LTSC
For general purpose use in PCs For use in dedicated devices
24 month support 10 year support
Automatic updates Updates controlled by OEM
One license key per end device One license key for all devices
More expensive Affordable pricing model (based on CPU)
Standard Windows OS Device Builder to remove unwanted software packages
Generic features OEM features for dedicated devices

It is for the above reasons that for anybody who uses a computer for industrial purposes, we have 2 recommendations.

  • If you are not yet ready to make the transition to Windows 11, then Windows 10 IOT LTSC is the way to go. The latest version (released in 2021) will continue to have support through 2032.
  • As of May  2024, Windows 11 IOT LTSC is the new industrial OS option. It offers the ability to remove 36 software packages in the device builder (compared with only 20 removable packages in Windows 10 IOT). And on top of that it has a whole slew of new features, security and performance improvements for industrial and IOT applications