Post Production

Windows 10 LTSC: better for production & sanity than Home or Pro

The lack of bloatware in Windows Enterprise LTSC is only the beginning of its advantages over Pro.

I certainly don’t prefer the Windows operating system, but sometimes people must use it. In this article, you’ll learn why the little known LTSC version is the best Windows 10 for production and general sanity. For ≈US$18, you can get a Windows 10 LTSC version 1903 genuine Microsoft OEM license. As compared with the parallel 1903 version of Windows 10 Home or Pro (which I recently covered in a prior article), ahead you will learn about the many advantages of Windows 10 LTSC version 1903. You’ll be thankful for Windows 10 LTSC’s natural lack of bloatware & nagware, which many consider to be an insult. I’ll also explain how to get it and install it. Finally, I’ll clarify two important details to keep in mind during the installation.

About Windows 10 LTSC versus Home or Pro

First, I’ll clarify that Windows 10 LTSC (Long-Term Servicing Channel) is a special version of Windows 10 Enterprise which Microsoft primarily recommends for mission-critical applications and standalone boxes like cash registers, medical systems (such as those used for MRI and CAT scans), industrial process controllers and air traffic control devices. Even though the standard Home or Pro versions of Windows 10 thankfully returned update control to the user with version 1903 released at the end of May 2019, as I covered in this recent article, there are still many benefits to the parallel Windows 10 LTSC version 1903:

  • Virtually no bloatware is pre-installed (as there is with Windows 10 Home and Pro), which saves about 5 GB of space. Also, the bloatware apps can’t be running in the background the way many of them do when installed (unless manually deactivated or manually uninstalled). Many people who install the standard Windows 10 Home or Pro later spend hours uninstalling bloatware and/or deactivating services to free space and improve performance (as covered by Chris Titus Tech in this detailed video tutorial, although he made it before the 1903 update, which makes some parts of it irrelevant). With Windows 10 LTSC, your installation thankfully starts with about 5GB less, so there is much less to remove or deactivate later. Instead of having to spend time uninstalling bloatware (or downloading a third party script to automate its deletion), you simply install less from the beginning. Many people find that to be more logical.
  • Rather than having to deactivate many reporting and other background services manually, they are already off by default, or —in some cases— you are given the option to deactivate them as part of a list shown just after installation.
  • Lack of nagware: “Try Office 365”, etc.
  • All drivers for Windows LTSC match the standard ones for Windows 10 Home or Pro, so there are no compatibility issues.
  • Although the Microsoft Store and Skype do not come pre-installed, you may certainly install them if desired.

How to purchase an OEM license

Using this link, you can purchase an OEM license for ≈US$18, as I did myself in preparation for this article, and when I made the first —pain free— installation.

The linked vendor offers genuine Microsoft OEM licenses, and has been independently vetted by ScamAdviser here.

How to download an ISO image to create a bootable USB installer

The best download source I have found so far to download the ISO image is here from Reddit. The 64-bit version is advisable unless for some reason you know that your hardware won’t support it.

Steps to install

Assuming you already purchased the license as explained in the prior section, the remaining steps are to:

  1. Download the ISO image using the link provided in the prior section (or any other reputable source).
  2. Create a bootable USB installer. The only way I was able to do this successfully was using the free Rufus application on a Windows computer.
  3. Boot from the USB installer on the target computer. The method to boot from a USB memory varies among brands of motherboards, but it generally involves pressing a function key, i.e. F1, F2, F3, etc. to enter into the bios and changing the boot order.
  4. Format your main (often C) drive. (This will erase anything that may have been there before, so back any required files in advance.)
  5. Follow the on screen instructions to install Windows 10 LTSC.
  6. Activate the Windows 10 LTSC using the license number you purchased.

During the installation process, the installer will ask you for your work or school account. Enter in any properly formatted professional email address with a domain and you will see the following message:

 

 

Your organization doesn’t allow users to set up Windows this way. Use another email address or setup Windows with a local account.

The last words are highlighted, as if it were a link. Just click on the words set up Windows with a local account and procede with the installation with no other surprises.

Related articles/video guide

Conclusions

I don’t love or prefer Windows, but for those times when it’s required, Windows 10 LTSC is the best option, in my opinion.

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No manufacturer is specifically paying Allan Tépper or TecnoTur LLC to write this article or the mentioned books. Some of the other manufacturers listed above have contracted Tépper and/or TecnoTur LLC to carry out consulting and/or translations/localizations/transcreations. Many of the manufacturers listed above have sent Allan Tépper review units. So far, none of the manufacturers listed above is/are sponsors of the TecnoTur , BeyondPodcasting CapicúaFM or TuRadioGlobal programs, although they are welcome to do so, and some are, may be (or may have been) sponsors of ProVideo Coalition magazine. Some links to third parties listed in this article and/or on this web page may indirectly benefit TecnoTur LLC via affiliate programs. Allan Tépper’s opinions are his own. Allan Tépper is not liable for misuse or misunderstanding of information he shares.

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Born in Connecticut, United States, Allan Tépper is an award-winning broadcaster & podcaster, bilingual consultant, multi-title author, tech journalist, translator, and language activist who has been working with professional video since the eighties. Since 1994,…

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David Sanders
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David Sanders

Unless you have an Enterprise Agreement and have rights to licence LTSC this article is irrelevant. A lot of what you’ve suggested here is piracy and/or breaks Microsoft licence agreements including where you suggest to buy from. The Reddit link comes from a Piracy subreddit!

Michael
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Michael

No – it doesnt matter where the image comes from – downloading images from where ever you want is perfectly legal. Copying and distributing licenses is what is potentially illegal. Buying a OEM key from the link listed is perfectly legal and something people have been doing for many years. You can however only use the key for one install in one build and thats that. This is the case for all oem keys.

David Sanders
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David Sanders

You are incorrect with a lot of what you have stated in your reply. OEM licences are legal as long as you comply with Microsoft T&Cs, but not a Windows 10 Enterprise LTSC licence unless you are an Enterprise that has an agreement with Microsoft or Microsoft Partner. The link to the online store selling those licences is doing so against the T&C’s of Microsoft. It is a very well known in the industry as to how these online stores purchase these licences and it is not legal. They sell a nearly $300 licence for an individual for $18 and… Read more »

Stephen van Vuuren
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I would never do this. A fresh Win10 Pro is hardly bloatware and a few seconds removes any apps and/or services you don’t want. In addition to the license problems that David mentioned that may this article pretty irresponsible, as beta tester for a few major post apps, I can tell you that those teams will NOT want you running this version of WIndows as it is not tested, not supported for any major post app that I’m aware of.

Dipoco
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Dipoco

Thank you Allan for this great article, I know this is a total legal procedure, and if somebody doesn’t feel comfortable doing it, simply don’t do it. I’ll keep it in mind for my next Editing Workstation PC build, all the best

John Shin
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John Shin

Well, my WinPro10 crashed yesterday and no way to bring it back (the boot was deeply corrupted)… I had a backup… But I did give a try to the LTSC and so far so good! This thing reminds me of Win7 Pro! Even with everything tightly blocked… Winpro was still trying to update even in the working hours… And after that just fail… then rollback to the previous Built. It’s great when you are working on a project, on a fully legit and expensive computer… Cool. And with the LTSC licence that I bought from your link, I activated the… Read more »

Michael Niehaus
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Michael Niehaus

Your licence will be deactivated in time by Microsoft. The company you bought from is known and is being watched. If you simply don’t care about laws, agreements or piracy, then why purchase it at all? The advice in this article is bad and not the right way to go if you are professional or a company. Some of the comments here are just as suspect as the advice given in the article.

John Shin
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John Shin

Well, I have about more than 70k of licenses that I’ve bought in my life and a lot more in what I’ve installed for others, all legit. If MS comes to kill my license, they can and I’ll buy an LTSC from one of my partners for about 200 bucks. A full legit one. Do you really think I’ll put this on 20 workstations with a GVG license? Nah. But for my personal workstation, why not? I make a LOT of tests in there. But the idea of TESTING an LTSC is good advice, yeah. But yeah the link is… Read more »

Janine P
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Janine P

Be warned of bad reviews for gvgmall.com linked in this article. They have 73% bad reviews from Scamwatch if you follow the links: https://www.trustpilot.com/review/gvgmall.com?languages=all

Selling individual Windows 10 Enterprise LTSC licences for $18 should be red flag to anyone anyway!

Holy moley
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Holy moley

Alan Tepper (or anyone else) do you know of any way to verify that the hash for the Windows 10 LTSC 64 bit version on Reddit is generated from the legitimate MS version? After all, it would be easy for someone to produce a Windows 10 LTSC download with a trojan or back door or whatever in it and just generate the hash from that version wouldn’t it!