Windows 11 IoT Licence Policies Explained

News13 Feb 2024
Author: Louisa Rochford
Windows 11 IoT Licence Policies Explained

Since 1985, Microsoft has been releasing and regularly updating its Windows operating system to coincide with the evolving needs of its users. Used from personal devices to enterprise systems and more, the history of releases includes milestone updates such as the addition of the Start menu and taskbar for Windows 95, the first industrial OS in 1996 with the Windows Embedded Compact OS, and its successor, Windows 10 IoT Enterprise, released in 2015.

Becoming familiar with the different editions of OS that Microsoft releases and deciding on the best option for you can be a daunting task, not to mention the hardware requirements to keep in mind, which is critical to ensure the desired OS can run at all. In this article, we will run through the different editions of Windows licences currently available today, as well as Microsoft’s pricing structure and the upcoming updates we can expect from them in the future.

Current Windows Editions and Versions Explained

Windows 11, which was released on 5th October 2021 and was the first major release since Windows 10 in 2015, brought with it new versions of the OS that adhere to its usual licence structure. This includes three distinct editions: Home, Pro, and Enterprise. The most recent update currently available is the Windows 11 2023 Update, also known as version 23H2.

The IoT edition, which is only available with Enterprise, is a licensing option Microsoft offers to facilitate integrating and deploying Internet of Things (IoT) solutions within enterprise environments, including industry-specific machinery, kiosks, digital signage, and other embedded systems. These licenses are designed to provide large-scale organisations with the tools and resources necessary to operate these IoT technologies effectively.

Windows 11

What is LTSC?

LTSC stands for Long-Term Servicing Channel, and it is a release model used by Microsoft designed to provide stability and long-term support for devices in scenarios where frequent feature updates may not be practical or desirable. This model is particularly suitable for embedded systems, industrial devices, and other scenarios that require a consistent and reliable platform. Large updates, such as UI updates, can disrupt these kinds of devices when they need to be consistently operable.

With LTSC, these systems receive updates less frequently compared to the regular consumer versions of Windows, aside from security updates and patches that ensure the system is both stable and secure.

Windows Pricing Structure

In order to price its Windows licences, Microsoft uses an ‘EVH’ structure with three pricing categories: ‘Entry’, ‘Value’ and ‘High-End’. While all three categories provide the same features and support, the different categories support different processor models, so double-checking your hardware before purchasing is a must.

Simply put, ‘Entry’ is for base-level processors, ‘Value’ is for mid-range-level processors, and High-End is for high-speed/performance-level processors. When the digital licence is used in the installation process of a new OS edition on a device to authenticate it, it conducts an internal check of the computer’s hash to ensure that a genuine and properly licensed copy of the operating system is being installed. Each licence has a product key, a unique 25-character alphanumeric key associated with the Windows operating system.

Previously, Microsoft would supply a separate product key for each category. Nowadays, however, each pricing category includes a usable product key for the same OS, and it is down to the user to ensure the category they’ve chosen is compatible with their computer’s hardware.

For more information about the hardware requirements for Windows Enterprise, see the table below for Windows 10 IoT Enterprise 2021 LTSC:

Price CategorySupported Processors
EntryIntel Atom/Celeron | AMD E1, E2, A4, A6
ValueIntel Core i3/i5 | AMD R-Series, A10, A8
High-EndIntel Core i7 | Intel Xeon | AMD FX

Alternatively, Windows 11 IoT Enterprise 2021/2022 (which does not yet include LTSC):

Price CategorySupported Processors
EntryIntel Atom/Celeron | AMD Athlon
ValueIntel Core i3/i5 | AMD Ryzen
High-EndIntel Core i7 | Intel Xeon | AMD Ryzen | AMD EPYC

For a more comprehensive list that defines the processors for Windows 10/11 IoT Enterprise under value-based pricing, you can find out more in the table below:

Price CategorySupported Processors
Entry
  • Intel Atom, Intel Processor, Pentium, Celeron
  • AMD R1xxxx, R23xx-R25xx, E1, E2, E-350, A4, A6, A9, G-Series, V10xx-V12xx, V20xx-V23xx, Athlon
  • All VIA
  • Value
  • Intel Core i3, Core i5, Core M
  • Atom C2750, C2730, C2550, C2530, C2350, C3338, C3958, S1260, S1240, S1220
  • Xeon E3-1225, E3-1501M, E3-1501L, E-2124G, Xeon W-111xx, Xeon W-115xx, E-2324G
  • AMD RX-Series, FX Models, A8, A10, A12, V13xx-V19xx, V24xx-V29xx, Ryzen 3, Ryzen 5, EPYC 3000, 3101, 3151
  • Qualcomm Snapdragon 850, 7c, 7c Gen 2, 8c, 8cx, 8cx Gen 2, Microsoft SQ1, Microsoft Sq2
  • High-End
  • Intel Core i7, Core i9, Xeon
  • AMD Ryzen 7, Ryzen 9, EPYC 3000 and FX 7500, 9370, 9590 and 7600P
  • And all other supported CPUs not explicitly mentioned.
  • For a guaranteed list of all supported processors for your version of Windows, you can also refer to the Technical Documents section of Microsoft’s website or speak to our Sales team for assistance.

    What Can We Expect in the Future of Windows?

    The next update to the line of Windows licences is anticipated later in 2024. Called 24H2 and codenamed ‘Hudson Valley’, it is expected to include an updated version of Windows 11 with the addition of LTSC.

    At current, if LTSC is a requirement for businesses, they will need to install Windows 10 Enterprise LTSC. As such, the update to include this in Windows 11 is eagerly awaited to enable the latest operating system to include LTSC and thereby make Windows 11 functional in rugged and embedded systems—especially vital as Microsoft will be dropping support for Windows 10 in October 2025.

    Need to Know More?

    Upgrading to Windows 11, especially once version 24H2 is released later this year, can require hardware upgrades for which we’re happy to help through the transition. Our team of technical engineers can help you spec an Embedded or Industrial system that can run Windows 11 and assist with the integration of all required components such as memory, storage and more. From our home base in Newcastle-under-Lyme, we can install, configure, and test Windows 11 on your systems and install your software prior to shipping out to you.

    For more information, please get in touch with our knowledgeable team at 01782 337 800 or email sales@impulse-embedded.co.uk.

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