As I understand it, November 16th was pivotal for all of Windows 10. On about or about that date, the Threshold 2 refresh was released for the desktop, mobile (phone) and IoT-Core. All will be are build 10586 as they are all built from the same Windows 10 core. Microsoft wishes to synchronise all such OS refreshes. The term refresh is used here to avoid the use of the term update which is used for daily updates that occur via Windows Update. Note that a new build requires an update installation of the OS, where the OS build is installed but user settings and most apps are preserved. Visual Studio 2015 Update 1 was also be released on Monday of this week.


At release the Windows 10 Refresh was called release 1511.


The RTM versions of Windows 10 were build 10256. I have been involved in the “Technical Preview Program” for Windows 10 from when it became publically available during the public trialling of Windows 10 long before its RTM. I continued with this after RTM. Being on the “Fast Track” I have been getting the latest builds and I am currently downloading for installation build 10586 (“Threshold 2”) for the desktop. As I understand it, ordinary users get updates and will get Threshold 2 when made available publically, on or about November 16. Those in the Technical Preview who continued past the RTM get the occasional new build to install (as well as the general updates). Those on the Fast Track get these builds more often than those on the “Slow Track” but face the prospect of getting buggier builds. I have survived despite having some awkward moments.


Windows 10 Mobile in the phone context also has had a Technical Preview Program since prior to desktop RTM and afterwards inching towards Threshold 2 which for the phone will be its RTM. I have also been in that program for my Nokia Lumia 930 Windows Phone as well. It was initially setup as Windows 8.1 Denim Build. I have been on the Fast Track with this as well but since RTM it has at times been quite problematic at times. Due to a user identity crisis on the phone at one stage it refused to do any updates (about 15 were always pending) and I could get back onto the Technical Preview path (which required and installation and was queued with the updates). This suddenly got resolved a couple of weeks ago! I now have Build 10586 on my phone.


Windows 10 IoT-Core has also been inching towards Threshold 2. There were public releases for it to those who enrolled in the “Insider preview for Developers” program will prior to the OS RTM date. There was an IOT-Core RTM as well which is what you currently get from the Windows Dev Center - IoT[1]. This is a fully functional OS but is missing some features which have been added in subsequent builds. For example, the use of the Raspberry PI2 UART on pins 8 and 10 was a feature blocker for many on the forums but was included in a recent build. The Insider preview for Developers program continued past RTM with kernel updates to the desktop builds filtering through as well as new features (such as the RPI2 UART) being added.

Threshold 2 for IoT-Core, to be released on or about the same time as the desktop TH2 and Visual Studio 2015 Update 1, delivers three things:

1. Kernel updates in line with the full Windows 10 Threshold 2 Kernel

2. IoT-Core feature additions and improvements

3. IoT-Core Professional Licensing for commercial use

Points 1 and 2 will be covered in detailed documentation such as the OS Release Notes. The rest of this document will focus upon the third point.


Windows 10 IoT-Core TH2 will be released as one binary for each target platform with two licensing options. That is, there is only one binary “version” for each target. To create a licensed installation, you install a license file to the OS binary which needs to be purchased through channels that a Microsoft OEM would use to purchase licenses such as for Windows CE/Compact etc. It does not use an activation key like the desktop. Once licensed, an IoT-Core system is tagged as “Professional”.


All Windows 10 IoT-Core ([2]TH2 ?) instances must be subject to updates from Microsoft. The main difference between the “free” license and the professional one is that former must be subject to unbridled automatic updates. With a professional license instance (avoiding the word version here as they are both the same build binary) the OEM or end user has some control over when those updates occur; but they can’t be delayed forever. Another feature of the professional license is the ability to use…

Microsoft has released to manufacturing (RTM) of Windows 10 IoT Core and Windows 10 IoT Core Pro. These are the two SKUs that can be licensed. The first is what is royalty-free and the second requires a license fee per device and installation of the licensing file.

· Microsoft previously announced Windows 10 IoT Core, a royalty-free offering available for download on, designed for the "maker" community and for use when building on specific supported boards, or for prototyping devices.


· Microsoft will now make this product available to OEMs along with the new operating system (OS) packages necessary to build the custom devices made available through the OEM channel. Windows 10 IoT Core will also have servicing functionality with automatic updates turned on to receive updates whenever available.


  • Servicing functionality: devices with this product will be able to turn off automatic updates to defer deployment for a period of up to four months following Microsoft's Current Branch for Business (CBB) servicing model. See the following table for servicing options per Windows 10 IoT edition.

Management capabilities: devices with this product will have first-party or third-party support to control updates or management.

Other than the management capability to control updates, all management functionalities (such as identity) will be available in both SKUs.


The following table provides a summary of various servicing models supported in the Windows 10 IoT editions.

Service branch


Windows 10 IoT edition

Current branch

· Security updates, features, and fixes are automatically applied.

· There is no option to delay or customize these updates.

· Windows 10 IoT Core

Current branch for Business (CBB)

· CBB includes the requirements of the Current branch but also provides the option of customizing when and which security updates, features, and fixes are applied, similar to how Windows Update works today in current versions of Windows. 

· Updates cannot be deferred indefinitely.

· Windows updates can be managed using enterprise management tools such as Windows Server Update Services (WSUS).

· Windows 10 IoT Core Pro

Note: To do development for IoT-Core TH2 with Visual Studio you need Visual Studio 2015 Update 1 and the updated SDK. Connectivity has changed substantially with VS 2015 Update 1 and so deployments to TH2 fail from pre Update 1 instances of VS 2015.

Also you need to use Universal (Unencrypted Mode) authentication not NONE when
Deploying/Debugging (More in this in a later blog)


Licensing Summary

In addition to the royalty free Windows 10 IoT Core SKU that brings automatic software updates (which can’t be deferred or disabled) to the devices, Microsoft are also introducing a new ‘Windows 10 IoT Core Pro’ OEM SKU that provides the ability to defer updates and control distribution of updates through Windows Server Update Services. 

Both use the same binary.  Pro does cost a little and requires a licensing file to be added.


New Capabilities

From Microsoft:

  • We have delivered a new ‘direct memory access bus’ driver that gives you the ability to run native code for the significant performance improvements in GPIO. You can choose whether to use this driver in the devices tab of the web configuration tool. Once running, you can expect your GPIO operations to become over 100 times faster than on the default driver. Additionally, this driver gives you the ability to use “Pin Muxing,” which allows you to choose which function to use on which pins based on the hardware support rather than the default configuration.


  • Many of you asked us about support for serial/UART on the Raspberry Pi and we are pleased to say that you now have full support for the TX/RX pins on the Raspberry Pi2. You can access the UART by simply calling GetDeviceSelector(“UART0”) method on the SerialDevice class. We have also included an in-box driver for the FTDI USB-to-serial chipset because many devices use that as the interface port for controlling them (for example, Home Automation Systems). Just plugging these devices in will now have them register as an available serial port.


  • Another common request we have seen is to support additional Wi-Fi dongles. In this release, we not only support the official Raspberry Pi Wi-Fi dongle, but also two Realtek Wi-Fi chipsets (RTL8188EU & RTL8192EU). These chipsets are included in dongles like the TP-LINK TL_WN725N, along with several other dongles. This makes connecting your Windows 10 IoT Core device to the net much easier.


  • We want to make it easy for you to use existing Arduino Wiring Sketches, libraries, and hardware with Windows 10 IoT Core Universal Windows Apps (UWA). Simply drag-and-drop your favorite and readily-available Arduino Wiring INO and library files into Visual Studio, connect your hardware to a Windows 10 IoT Core device, and run your code. Visual Studio and Windows will do all the heavy lifting to create a UWA and deploy it on your behalf, and you can leverage the power of Visual Studio with Windows to debug your Arduino Wiring code on your Windows 10 IoT core device.




[2] Question: Does IoT-Core RTM (build 10256) licensing require exposure to automatic updates?