Windows 10 SAC End of Life: What’s the Move for Your Business?

When it comes to selecting hardware and software for your business, ensuring you have chosen the right tool for the job is crucial to the success of its implementation and longevity for the company. Here at DT Research, we assist our clients in selecting the right tools for their business model. Our rugged tablets and laptops are purpose-built, targeted to our customers’ needs based on their direct feedback. Selecting the right version of Windows is no different; it is imperative to successful internal operations. 

The Windows Evolution and Your Options 

Over the past year, Windows has embraced a transformative shift to Windows 11. With evolution comes End of Life (EOL), in this case for Windows 10 IoT Enterprise Semi-Annual Channel (SAC) and Windows 10 Pro product lines, scheduled for October 31, 2023. For users of Windows Pro and IoT Enterprise, this transition is essential, requiring all users utilizing Windows 10 Pro and 10 IoT Enterprise SAC product lines to change to the newest version, and representing a leap into a more refined and efficient computing experience.

Option 1: Closest to No Change 

For those entrenched in the Windows 10 realm, you’re in luck — staying on Windows 10 SAC is an option. Technically speaking, this upcoming EOL date only represents an End of Licensing for now. You can only gain the necessary downgrade rights by purchasing a Windows 11 IoT Enterprise General Availability Channel (GAC) High-End EPKEA license, even if your previous license was Entry or Value. These rights provide the capability to downgrade to any of the earlier Windows 10 SAC builds until the eventual EOL date for Windows 11 IoT Enterprise GAC. Nonetheless, on the surface level, this invisible transition is beneficial if your devices depend on older software applications, which might be incompatible with Windows 11. 

Option 2: Moving on Up 

For those who prefer to keep up with the latest updates, now is the time to upgrade to Windows 11 IoT Enterprise GAC. With a release cadence of one annual feature update and three years of support, you can choose to delay the timing of broad deployment of each Windows update for six months to a year. Depending on your CPU tier, GAC incorporates all the Windows Pro benefits, plus additional features, providing a more encompassing set of options including the Windows Store. 

Option 3: In for the Long Run 

However, for those seeking sustained functionality and stability, migrating from SAC to Windows 10 IoT Enterprise Long-Term Servicing Channel (LTSC) is a viable avenue. This strategic move allows you to preserve the familiarity of Windows 10 while reaping the benefits of LTSC. 

Delving deeper into LTSC, it is clear this channel offers a unique perspective on the computing landscape. By viewing tablets and laptops as specialized tools rather than all-purpose computers, LTSC optimizes performance for specific applications. Referenced in its name, LTSC’s standout feature is its long-term servicing, guaranteeing an impressive 10 years of support. This tailored approach translates to peace of mind, as you can continue with your preferred Windows 10 LTSC version until the end of this decade. 

The timeline reveals the significance of both the 2019 and 2021 LTSC editions. Unlike GAC, no feature updates are offered through Windows Update. Instead, new versions are typically scheduled every two to three years, although timing may vary, and you can choose to skip these releases over your product’s lifecycle or install them as in-place upgrades. With the same 10-year support promise, users of these editions can remain on Windows 10 until 2029 and 2032 respectively. Specifically, DT Research clients can maintain their Windows 10 LTSC connection until the 2032 threshold — a strategic advantage, as you can evaluate if the features provided align seamlessly with your operational requirements. 

LTSC is the product we recommend to most of our clients, as it easily integrates with our rugged tablets and laptops with its two-to-three-year lifecycle and maximizes on its span of servicing. 

Our Solution: Navigating the Transition

At DT Research, we stand ready to guide you through this transitional phase. If your GAC is near expiry, our experts can facilitate a seamless migration to Windows 11. Alternatively, our team specializes in easing a migration to LTSC, ensuring your operations can continue uninterrupted on Windows 10. Our commitment to value extends to a long tablet and laptop lifecycle, perfectly aligning with the dynamic tech landscape. 

As Windows ushers in a new era with Windows 11, we are here to ensure that you can navigate this evolution with confidence. The forthcoming changes promise a future of innovation, and DT Research is dedicated to making this transition smooth, efficient, and tailored to your needs.