Surface device compatibility with Windows 10 Long-Term Servicing Channel (LTSC)
Surface devices are designed to provide best-in-class experiences in productivity and general-purpose scenarios. Regular updates enable Surface devices to bring to life new innovations and to evolve with the new capabilities delivered by Windows 10 Feature Updates. Feature Updates are available only in Windows 10 Pro or Windows 10 Enterprise editions that receive continuous updates through the Semi-Annual Channel (SAC).
In contrast to the SAC servicing option, formerly known as the Current Branch (CB) or Current Branch for Business (CBB) servicing options, you cannot select the Long-Term Servicing Channel (LTSC) option in Windows 10 settings. To use the LTSC servicing option, you must install a separate edition of Windows 10 Enterprise, known as Windows 10 Enterprise LTSC, formerly known as Windows 10 Enterprise LTSB (Long-Term Servicing Branch. In addition to providing an extended servicing model, the Windows 10 Enterprise LTSC edition also provides an environment with several Windows components removed. The core Surface experiences that are impacted by LTSC include:
Windows Feature Updates, including enhancements such as:
- Improvements to Direct Ink and palm rejection provided in Windows 10, version 1607 (also referred to as the Anniversary Update)
- Improved support for high DPI applications provided in Windows 10, version 1703 (also referred to as the Creators Update)
Pressure sensitivity settings provided by the Surface app
The Windows Ink Workspace
Key touch-optimized in-box applications including Microsoft Edge, OneNote, Calendar, and Camera
The use of the Windows 10 Enterprise LTSC environment on Surface devices results in sub-optimal end-user experiences and you should avoid using it in environments where users want and expect a premium, up-to-date user experience.
The LTSC servicing option is designed for device types and scenarios where the key attribute is for features or functionality to never change. Examples include systems that power manufacturing or medical equipment, or embedded systems in kiosks, such as ATMs or airport ticketing systems.
For general information about Windows servicing branches, including LTSC, see Overview of Windows as a service.
As a general guideline, devices that fulfill the following criteria are considered general-purpose devices and should be paired with Windows 10 Pro or Windows 10 Enterprise using the Semi-Annual Channel servicing option:
Devices that run productivity software such as Microsoft Office
Devices that use Microsoft Store applications
Devices that are used for general Internet browsing (for example, research or access to social media)
Before you choose to use Windows 10 Enterprise LTSC edition on Surface devices, consider the following limitations:
Driver and firmware updates are not explicitly tested against releases of Windows 10 Enterprise LTSC.
If you encounter problems, Microsoft Support will provide troubleshooting assistance. However, due to the servicing nature of the Windows LTSC, issue resolution may require that devices be upgraded to a more recent version of Windows 10 Enterprise LTSC, or to Windows 10 Pro or Enterprise with the SAC servicing option.
Surface device replacements (for example, devices replaced under warranty) may contain subtle variations in hardware components that require updated device drivers and firmware. Compatibility with these updates may require the installation of a more recent version of Windows 10 Enterprise LTSC or Windows 10 Pro or Enterprise with the SAC servicing option.
Organizations that standardize on a specific version of Windows 10 Enterprise LTSC may be unable to adopt new generations of Surface hardware without also updating to a later version of Windows 10 Enterprise LTSC or Windows 10 Pro or Enterprise. For more information, see the How will Windows 10 LTSBs be supported? topic in the Supporting the latest processor and chipsets on Windows section of Lifecycle Policy FAQ—Windows products.
Surface devices running Windows 10 Enterprise LTSC edition will not receive new features. In many cases these features are requested by customers to improve the usability and capabilities of Surface hardware. For example, new improvements for High DPI applications in Windows 10, version 1703. Customers that use Surface devices in the LTSC configuration will not see the improvements until they either update to a new Windows 10 Enterprise LTSC release or upgrade to a version of Windows 10 with support for the SAC servicing option.
Devices can be changed from Windows 10 Enterprise LTSC to a more recent version of Windows 10 Enterprise, with support for the SAC servicing option, without the loss of user data by performing an upgrade installation. You can also perform an upgrade installation on multiple devices by leveraging the Upgrade Task Sequence Templates available in the Microsoft Deployment Toolkit (MDT) and System Center Configuration Manager. For more information, see Upgrade Surface devices to Windows 10 with Microsoft Deployment Toolkit.