Difference between LTSB, CB, CBB, Semi-Annual Channel versions of Windows 10

Microsoft has come up with their new concept called “Servicing branch designations” which broadly used for 3 types of servicing branch we are going to discuss now. These are the terms used by Microsoft defining Windows as a Service options available for Windows 10. Lets not get confused by versions of Windows 10 (ie Home, Pro, Enterprise etc).

There are 3 versions of Windows 10 available in terms of delivering Windows as a service

  1. LTSC (Long-Term Servicing Channel) – Previously known as LTSB (Long Term Servicing Branch)
  2. Semi-Annual Channel (Targeted) – Previously known as CB (Current Branch)
  3. Semi-Annual Channel – Previously known as CBB (Current Branch for Business)

LTSC (Long Term Servicing Channel) / LTSB (Long Term Servicing Branch)

Programs like Edge, Cortana, Store, Outlook Mail, Outlook Calendar, OneNote, Weather, News, Sports, Money, Photos, Camera, Music, and Clock. and the Store are not available.

Long term Servicing Channel for Windows 10 is exactly similar to old versions of Windows where users receive Security Updates and bug fixes every month but no new features and enhancements will be applicable. Minimum length of servicing lifetime of LTSC is 10 years.


The only supported version for this version is Windows 10 Enterprise LTSC as it is intended to target for Corporate and enterprise user. Windows 10 Enterprise LTSC supports release deployment by using Windows Update, Windows Server Update Services, Configuration Manager, and other configuration management systems:

If you require all the features of Windows 10, you have to switch from LTSC to Semi Annual Channel , you need to use in-place upgrade

Semi Annual Channel / CB (Current Branch)

This is the latest version of Windows and is called Current Branch, this version receives all upgrades (new versions) and updates (patches) from Microsoft within a few days of their release. CB is what all home users get and what most small business corporate Pro users will get. Version can be verified as(you wont be seeing Current Branch written as one can think of), Current latest version of Windows 10 is 1809 with Build number 17763.
OS Build version can be verified by running command “winver” under Windows + Run:

Semi Annual Channel / CBB (Current Branch for Business)

Current Branch For Business is NOT and edition or version of Windows 10, instead it is a SETTING in Windows 10. You have enable DEFER UPGRADES in Windows Update settings.

This is also configurable via Group Policy:

  1. Open a Group Policy Object that is targeted at the machines you wish to use CBB.
  2. Navigate to Computer Configuration >> Policies >> Administrative Templates >> Windows Components >> Windows Update.
  3. Double-click Defer Upgrades and Updates.
  4. Enable the policy and set a duration for upgrade duration.
  5. Click OK.

Note

New feature update releases are initially considered Semi-Annual Channel (Targeted) releases; organizations will use these for pilot deployments to ensure compatibility with existing apps and infrastructure. After about four months, the feature update will be declared as Semi-Annual Channel, indicating that it is ready for broad deployment.

Each Windows 10 feature update (which initially begins as Semi-Annual Channel (Targeted) and then is declared as Semi-Annual Channel) will be serviced with quality updates for a minimum of 18 months after it is initial release.

But with recent changes made in September 2018, Microsoft has extended the support for 30 months as organisations or not able to keep up the pace with continuous upgrade process. 30 months of life cycle is valid for Windows 10 version 1607 and above. All previous version support was for 18 months only and no changes applied for them.

With this recent change, Organizations still have a time to upgrade Windows 1607 till April 2019

Windows 10 Release Information (versions)

VersionServicing optionAvailability dateOS buildEnd of service for Home, Pro, and Pro for Workstation editionsEnd of service for Enterprise and Education editions
1809Semi-Annual Channel (Targeted)10/2/1817763.55April 14, 2020April 13, 2021
1803Semi-Annual Channel7/10/1817134.345November 12, 2019November 10, 2020
1803Semi-Annual Channel (Targeted)4/30/201817134.345November 12, 2019November 10, 2020
1709Semi-Annual Channel1/18/201816299.726April 9, 2019April 14, 2020
1709Semi-Annual Channel (Targeted)10/17/201716299.726April 9, 2019April 14, 2020
1703Semi-Annual Channel7/11/1715063.1387October 9, 2018October 8, 2019
1703Current Branch (CB)4/11/1715063.1387October 9, 2018October 8, 2019
1607Current Branch for Business (CBB)11/29/201614393.2551April 10, 2018April 9, 2019
1607Current Branch (CB)8/2/1614393.2551April 10, 2018April 9, 2019
1607Long-Term Servicing Branch (LTSB)8/2/1614393.2551October 12, 2021October 13, 2026
1507 (RTM)Long-Term Servicing Branch (LTSB)7/29/201510240.18005October 13, 2020October 14, 2025

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