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SOLVED: How to Change from Windows 10 LTSB to CB and Back

If you are in an corporate environment you should be seriously considering Windows 10 Long Term Servicing Branch.  If you don’t know what Win10 LTSB is, read our short explanation.  The problem is that Windows 10 LTSB is intentionally missing several important programs like Cortana, Edge and the Store.  It is more like Windows 7.1 than Windows 10.

Originally, Microsoft said that Long Term Servicing Branch (LTSB) could be changed to Current Branch (CB) and vice versa about once per year when they released a new LTSB which is the same as the current CB version (i.e. after a solid CB has been out for many months and has vetted by millions of real users in production, they would make that the next LTSB version).  However, after digging into the migration option with Microsoft Partner Support, that does not appear to be the case:

…Currently, if you want to switch from LTSB to CB, you need to use in-place upgrade…

I have tested installing CB over LTSB and then installing LTSB over that CB, and it did work.  I sourced both Windows 10 LTSB and CB from the Microsoft Volume Licensing Center .

This means you either pop in a Windows 10 DVD (or use System Center or… ) the ‘other fork’  (i.e. if you have LTSB, insert the CB DVD) and run the install or as Microsoft calls it an “in place upgrade”.  From my testing I found several interesting items you should know before performing such changes:

  1. Installing CB on top of LTSB functioned as you would expect.  I had no loss of data, programs or Windows profiles
  2. Installing LTSB on top of CB kept my files but ALL programs and modern apps were removed.  It also looked like the LTSB had lost my profiles built under CB because when I went to log in it gave me a field in which I could type my username rather than having it prepopulated.  It turned out NOT to be a problem and all my data files (Word Doc’s, JPG’s…) were all in good shape in the locations you would expect. You can see in the screen shot that the KEEP PERSONAL FILES, APPS… is greyed out when changing from CB to LTSB
    windows-10-ltsb-to-cb

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  1. qugart07-05-17

    FYI….
    nearly 2 years later, switching from LTSB to CB also means loosing all Apps. This option is now also greyed out.

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