Licensing & Usage
In order to start your journey with Windows 10 IoT Enterprise, you'll need to get a license.
Microsoft offers many Windows IoT and Embedded SKUs. Authorized distributors of Windows IoT products can help you pick the right SKU for your hardware and your budget by leveraging their development experiences, and knowledge, to help you build secure and connected Windows IoT solutions. If you would like to work with one of our distributors, please select a distributor in your region and contact the distributor directly for more details.
Fixed purpose devices
Windows is well known as the operating system for laptops and desktops that have been used by consumers and businesses worldwide for decades. Windows also powers many ATM machines, point-of-sale terminals, industrial automation systems, thin clients, medical devices, digital signage, kiosks, and other fixed purpose devices. Windows 10 IoT Enterprise allows you to build these fixed purpose devices with specific allowances and restrictions in the license agreement.
See your licensing agreement for complete guidance on all Windows 10 IoT Enterprise usage scenarios. If you are an end-user customer, your OEM should have provided you with the terms in an agreement. If you are an OEM, you can direct questions to your distributor regarding your specific licensing agreement.
A fixed purpose device differs from a general-purpose device in the following ways:
- The device is locked down to a single application or fixed set of applications through the Assigned Access or Shell Launcher features.
- The device experience is often immediate when the customer powers-on. This is achieved by configuring the device image to skip the normal Windows out-of-box experiences.
- Keyboards, USB ports, and device policies can be locked down to constrain the device to be used only in its fixed purpose.
- The IoT Device OEM licenses the device to the user with the software attached to the device as a complete product and passes through specific Windows terms in their own IoT OEM agreements.
- The OEM provides the customer support for their complete product, including the functions performed by the operating system.
There are currently two release channels for Windows 10:
- The Semi-Annual Channel receives feature updates twice per year and provides support for 18-30 months.
- The Long Term Servicing Channel, which is designed to be used only for specialized devices (which typically don't run Office) such as those that control medical equipment or ATM machines, receives new feature releases every two to three years and provides support for 10 years.
Semi-Annual Channel (SAC)
In the Semi-Annual servicing channel, feature updates are available as soon as Microsoft releases them. This servicing model is ideal for pilot deployments and testing of Windows 10 feature updates and for users such as developers who need to work with the latest features immediately. Once the latest release has gone through pilot deployment and testing, you will be able to choose the timing at which it goes into broad deployment.
Please review Semi-Annual Servicing Channel for more information.
Long-term Servicing Channel (LTSC)
Specialized systems, such as PCs that control medical equipment, point-of-sale systems, and ATMs, often require a longer servicing option because of their purpose. These devices typically perform a single important task and don’t need feature updates as frequently as other devices in the organization. For these fixed-purpose devices, we recommend the long-term servicing channel, since it’s more important that these devices be kept as stable and secure as possible than that they be up to date with UI changes. The LTSC servicing model prevents Windows 10 IoT Enterprise LTSC devices from receiving the usual feature updates and provides only quality updates to ensure that device security stays up to date. With this in mind, quality updates are still immediately available to Windows 10 IoT Enterprise LTSC clients, but customers can choose to defer them by using a servicing tool.
Please review Long-term Servicing Channel for more information.
Microsoft makes available a new Windows 10 IoT Enterprise LTSC release approximately every three years. Each Windows 10 IoT Enterprise LTSC release is its own SKU and contains all the new capabilities and support updates included in the Windows 10 IoT Enterprise features updates since the previous LTSC release. To access these feature updates, a new Windows 10 IoT Enterprise LTSC SKU license must be purchased. For example, to get access to the new security, deployment, and management updates and features released since the launch of Windows 10 IoT Enterprise 2016 LTSC, a license for Windows 10 IoT Enterprise 2019 LTSC must be purchased, and an update applied to the device. Please note that due to the long life of the LTSC releases and the benefit of remaining on a specific release for 10 years, an upgrade fee will be charged for customers moving from one LTSC release to another.
Please review the Fixed Lifecycle Policy for more information.
Windows 10 LTSC Releases
|LTSC release||Equivalent SAC release||Availability date|
|Windows 10 Enterprise 2019 LTSC||Windows 10, Version 1809||11/13/2018|
|Windows 10 Enterprise 2016 LTSC||Windows 10, Version 1607||8/2/2016|
|Windows 10 Enterprise 2015 LTSC||Windows 10, Version 1507||7/29/2015|
After you purchase your license and receive your keys for Windows 10 IoT Enterprise, please make sure you get yourself a copy of the Activation Guide. You can retrieve this document either by reaching out to your distributor or by accessing it through your Device Partner Center account.