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Windows 10 IoT and its Benefits for Businesses

By ·Categories: Tech Explained·Published On: February 21st, 2023·5.5 min read·

On July 29, 2015, Microsoft released the Windows 10 Professional and Windows 10 IoT Enterprise operating systems. With the release of Windows 11 near the end of 2021, we have received many questions about which version of Windows is the best fit for business and embedded applications.

In this article, we’ll highlight a few of  the key features and benefits of Windows 10 IoT, which we’ve found to be the ideal Windows OS option for many of our customers.

What is Windows 10 IoT?

Windows 10 IoT (Internet of Things) is a special edition of the Windows 10 operating system optimized for use on embedded systems and IoT devices. It is the successor to the Windows Embedded operating system.

Windows 10 IoT is also referred to by the following names:

  • Windows 10 Enterprise
  • Windows 10 IoT Enterprise
  • Windows 10 Enterprise LTSC (Long Term Service Channel, formerly LTSB – Long Term Service Branch)

Windows 10 IoT is designed to simplify the management and maintenance of connected IoT devices and help protect them from malware and attacks. In addition, it also provides advanced remote management capabilities for IoT devices. This allows the devices to be operated securely and reliably from anywhere. However, Windows 10 IoT was developed specifically for use with IoT devices. For example, control devices in plants, vending machines and point-of-sale (POS) terminals, or digital signage PCs can benefit from the feature set of Windows 10 IoT.

Windows 10 IoT vs Windows 10 Professional – an overview

Windows 10 Professional

Windows 10 IoT Enterprise

Generally applicable on home and business computersIntended for specialized applications like embedded systems
Shorter lifecycle (2-3 years, after which upgrades are required)Longer lifecycle (10 years or more)
Shorter support (18-30 months)Longer support (10 years)
More expensiveMore affordable
Automatic updatesUser controlled updates
Unique product keys per deviceOnly one product key

What are the benefits of Windows 10 IoT compared to Windows 10 Pro?

As the table above indicates, Windows 10 IoT offers some benefits compared to Windows 10 Pro. Windows 10 IoT offers all the features of Windows 10 Professional and additional so-called Embedded Lockdown features that help to secure the device and protect it from attacks.

In addition, Windows 10 IoT offers various branding and customization options. This allows users to remove the Windows operating system logo for a more tailored user experience.

Other benefits of Windows 10 IoT include:

  • Reduced memory requirements: Windows 10 IoT can also be used on devices with limited memory.
  • Increased security: It provides advanced security features to protect IoT devices from malware and attacks.
  • Long-term support: Windows 10 IoT provides longer manufacturer’s support from Microsoft than Windows 10 Pro. It will therefore be updated and patched for a longer period of time.
  • Remote management: Windows 10 IoT provides advanced remote management capabilities for IoT devices, making them easier to manage and maintain.
  • Cost savings: Windows 10 IoT is typically less expensive than Windows 10 Pro and therefore can be more cost effective for businesses.
  • Multilingual User Interface (MUI): Several language packages can be installed at the same time. This allows different users to easily change back and forth. It is also possible to change the language depending on the location. More than 30 language packages are available for this purpose.
  • Recovery Stick: If the operating system is to be re-installed, this can be done using a flash drive or available downloads.
  • Updates on demand: The acronyms LTSB for Long Term Service Branch or LTSC for Long Term Service Channel mean new versions are provided as optional updates every two to three years. They may then be installed, but do not have to be. Security updates are installed on an ongoing basis. This means that individual update management is possible without the risk of affecting an application. The software required on the respective system therefore only has to be compatible with the base version on which the Windows IoT image is provided. The base image is thus not changed, the user interface and all features are maintained. The software that is used works now and throughout the entire system lifecycle.

Windows IoT versions

Windows 10 IoT is offered in three different versions for different application focuses. All versions include the system lockdown features mentioned earlier, including:

  • Shell-Launcher
  • Unified Write Filer (UWF)
  • USB Filter
  • Input Filter
  • Dialog Box and notification filter
  • App Locker

In general, these functions protect embedded systems against power supply fluctuations, manipulation, and the use of unauthorized applications. For example, the USB filter ensures that an inserted USB stick is not automatically recognized and read, preventing unauthorized programs or data from being exchanged with the system.

Windows 10 IoT Core

This version is compact and suitable for small devices like simple embedded computers and devices without a display like wearables. It requires 256 MB of RAM and 2 GB of storage. The graphics output is limited to one application. It has to be a universal application, which means it can be used on several platforms. Windows 32 applications can be started, but the output has to be provided via remote access. Lockdown features are also integrated. Windows 10 IoT Core features security technologies like Device Guard and Trusted Platform Module (TPM) as well.

Windows 10 IoT Mobile Enterprise

This version is designed specifically for portable, small devices. Windows 10 IoT Mobile Enterprise requires 512 MB of RAM and 4 GB of storage space. It is based on x86 and ARM architectures and also has integrated lockdown features. Instead of a classic user interface, it only offers a so-called Modern Shell. This is the familiar tile layout that can also be found on smartphones and tablets. Applications for Windows 10 IoT Mobile Enterprise have to be written as Universal Application. The access to different applications can be customized per user. One license per device is required.

Windows 10 IoT Enterprise

This version runs on x86 platforms (32- and 64-bit). It requires 1 GB of RAM and 16 GB of storage space. In addition to the full feature set of Windows 10 consumer version, this version includes all of the benefits previously mentioned for the Core and Mobile Enterprise versions. One license per device is also required in this case. However, only one device connected to the network has to be activated. Security features like TPM are also available. For this version, touch support has been improved by integrating new features such as gesture control. In addition, this version is especially useful for applications that are expected to run for many years. According to Microsoft, Windows 10 2019 LTSC will be supported until January 9th , 2029

OnLogic Computers using Windows 10 IoT

If you have purchased an OnLogic computer with Windows 10 IoT, a recovery download will be provided for you instead of the recovery stick mentioned above. Have further questions on this? Contact our expert team for help choosing the perfect computer for your project.

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About the Author: Nadja Schaubhut

Nadja is a Content Creator and focused on finding the right words. In addition to writing new content for the blog and social media, she also translates all content into German with an eye on the particularities of our German-speaking audience. When not working, she enjoys running, painting, upcycling and taking care of her two turtles.