Windows 365 was introduced back in July as a new virtual desktop offering available in the cloud. With the Windows 365 Cloud PC, Microsoft provide organizations with a way to scale their workforce quick and easy. Traditional virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) can be complex and expensive to build and manage. Windows 365 removes that complexity and provides a fixed cost per user for each Cloud PC.
Windows 365 comes in two different flavors, Windows 365 Business and Enterprise. Windows 365 Business is meant for organizations with less than 300 users and does not require any on-premise connectivity. You can assign a Windows 365 Business license to a user and they can begin using their Cloud PC once it’s done provisioning. Windows 365 Enterprise is meant for larger organizations who require more management capabilities and granular control. Windows 365 Enterprise also requires on-premises connectivity using an Azure subscription. Microsoft is working on providing a straight Azure AD domain join option for Windows 365 Enterprise but that feature is still in development.
I was originally planning to get access to a trial license, however, Microsoft put a pause on those due to demand. Instead, I ended up purchasing a Windows 365 Business subscription within my demo tenant. My hope is to do a Windows 365 Enterprise evaluation later on but for now, let’s setup and explore Windows 365 Business!
Prerequisite: You will need to make sure the following setting (Azure AD -> Devices-> Device Settings) is set to All in Azure Active Directory.
1. Obviously to begin, I will need to purchase a Windows 365 Business license inside the Microsoft 365 admin center. For this demo, I am going to get 2vCPUs, 4GB of RAM and 64GB of storage. I am not planning on storing much on here otherwise I normally would get more storage space. While 4GB of RAM is probably a little low, it should be fine for evaluation purposes. Gotta start somewhere!
2. Assign the new Windows 365 Business license to user. For this demonstration, I created a new user to assign the license to and assigned it in the Microsoft 365 Admin Center.
3. One the license is assigned to the user, navigate to windows365.microsoft.com to see the setup progress of your new Cloud PC.
4. After about an hour, my new Cloud PC was ready to use. By default, new Windows 365 Business Cloud PC’s are provisioned with Windows 11 (This can be changed).
5. I went ahead and selected “Open in browser” to see my new Cloud PC. I received a prompt to select if I wanted access to any devices or features such as a printer, clipboard, etc. I was also prompted for my password.
Note: There is a Remote Desktop client available to use instead of a browser.
6. Once that was complete, I was able to access my new Windows 11 Cloud PC!
For more information on Windows 365 Business, refer to the following Microsoft documentation:
In my next post, I will be doing a deep dive into my experience within my new Cloud PC.