Microsoft’s naming changes for Windows 10 updates can be a little confusing.  Here’s a little guide to describe the latest terminology and a mapping between the old and new terms.

As you will likely already know, Microsoft has shifted from a new release of Windows every few years to a ‘windows as a service’ model.  Whereas previously Microsoft would release a technical preview of v.Next just before it shipped, now this is done through the Windows Insider Program.

Microsoft have now changed the terminology in order that the products line up across Windows 10 and Office 365 ProPlus.  The table below explains the changes:

NamePreviously known as…Ideal for…Description
Windows InsiderTechie’s business PCContains preproduction code with visibility of upcoming features
Semi-Annual Channel (Targeted)Current Branch (CB)Pilot deploymentsContains the features that will be present in the next release.  It’s sensible to test these on pilot PCs in order to decide if they will be suitable for the business.
Semi-Annual ChannelCurrent Branch for Business (CBB)Business systems 
Twice yearly feature updates in March and September which can be deferred.
Long-Term Servicing Channel (LTSC)Long-Term Servicing Branch (LTSB)Wherever stability is paramount such as ATMs or medical equipmentOnly in the Windows 10 Enterprise LTSB edition. Doesn’t receive feature updates.  These will be made available as in-place upgrades every 2-3 years. To move to the semi-annual channel requires and in place upgrade to Windows 10 Enterprise.

Additionally the options for updates are reflected below:

Servicing toolCan updates be deferred?Ability to approve updatesPeer-to-peer optionAdditional features
Windows UpdateYes (manual)NoDelivery OptimizationNone
Windows Update for BusinessYesNoDelivery OptimizationOther Group Policy objects
WSUSYesYesBranchCache or Delivery OptimizationUpstream/downstream server scalability
Configuration ManagerYesYesBranchCache, Client Peer CacheDistribution points, multiple deployment options

More detailed information can be found here.