Microsoft officially unveiled Windows 11 last month, showing off the UI changes being made as part of a major update to Windows, among other changes such as the addition of support for Android apps. The company also shared more about the support and service lifecycle of the OS, adding that Windows 11 will move to an annual update cadence, unlike Windows 10. It has also been providing clarifications about the minimum system specifications, which has been a topic of discussion since the Windows 11 announcement.
As for Windows 10, the firm recently detailed the features being added to version 21H2, the next feature update to Windows 10 – which is yet another enablement package. As part of that announcement, the Redmond company also confirmed that the next Long-Term Servicing Channel (LTSC) version will be based on Windows 10 21H2 and will be released later this year. However, nothing in the way of information about Windows 11 LTSC releases was shared. That changed today, as the firm confirmed during an AMA on the Tech Community blog (spotted by Petri) that the LTSC release after the one based on 21H2 will be based on Windows 11.
A response to one of the AMA questions explains:
We announced the next Windows LTSC would be built on Windows 10, version 21H2, and yes it will be a 5 year support lifecycle. We can expect that the next LTSC *after* Windows 10 Enterprise LTSC 2021 will be built on Windows 11. And it will also keep the 5 year support. However, that's expected in 3 years or so, so anything can happen in that timeframe. If you need to use LTSC for a longer period, we recommend moving to Windows 10 IoT LTSC.
Microsoft recently revised the support timeframes for Windows LTSC releases from 10 years to five years, with the 2021 release being the first to be affected by the change. The current release based on version 1809, therefore, is unaffected and enjoys an extended support timeline till 2029. With the 2021 version likely supported only until 2026, there is less incentive for enterprises to move to a newer version, thanks in part to the reduced support.
Today’s session also contained questions about the future of Windows 10 updates, with the company reiterating that it is “committed” to support Windows 10 till October 2025 for eligible customers – such as for non-LTSC SKUs. However, it adds that the question of whether version 21H2 will be the “last feature update” is still a topic of discussion internally.
It will be interesting to see what the release timelines for the LTSC version based on Windows 11 will be. However, unlike Windows 10, the first Windows 11 version to be released later this year will not be accompanied by a corresponding LTSC release and is at least three years out.