Microsoft: something new on the famous Windows 11 / Cloud PC mix

Microsoft is looking to further blur the lines between PC and cloud experiences with some new features set to be added to Windows 365, its PC cloud service. Some of these features — with no delivery date or details on how they will be delivered — were teased at the company’s “Windows Powers the Future of Hybrid Work” virtual event on April 5.

Microsoft made its Windows 365/Cloud PC service available last August. Windows 365 is a cloud-based virtualization service, which is built on Azure Virtual Desktop. It allows users to transfer their Windows 10 or Windows 11 desktop, apps, tools, data, and settings to their personal and work devices – PC, Mac, iPad, Linux, and Android devices.

For Microsoft, Windows 365/Cloud PC is a great fit for hybrid work scenarios like remote onboarding/offboarding of employees, scaling up (and shrinking) compute capacity, or securing environments from the cloud.

Multiple scenarios

During its Ignite Fall 2021 conference, Microsoft indicated the upcoming availability of one of the most requested features for Windows 365: Azure Active Directory Join. This feature was the subject of a public preview last February and should finally be available to everyone in early May 2022, the software giant has just mentioned.

Additionally, Microsoft has big plans to get more users to use Windows 365 every day. The following integrations, with Windows 11, would arrive “soon”:

  • Windows 365 Boot: users will be able to designate a cloud profile that they can boot into directly instead of booting into the device OS first.
  • Windows 365 App: users will be able to pin their custom Cloud Desktop app to their Windows 11 taskbar and/or Start menu for easy access.
  • Windows 365 Switch: users will be able to switch from their PC in the cloud to their local desktop as easily as they can currently switch between desktops using the task switcher.
  • Windows 365 Offline: users will be able to work on their PC in the cloud even when disconnected from the internet, then automatically reconnect and resynchronize with the Windows 365 service without data loss.

“These scenarios are great for businesses, and they’re just the beginning of our integration of Windows and the Microsoft cloud,” writes Panos Panay, executive vice president and chief product officer of Microsoft, in an April 5 blog post. .

Microsoft isn’t talking about pricing or licensing for these new Windows 365 integrations with Windows 11 at this point. A number of users I spoke to told me they were surprised by the cost of Windows 365. The service costs between $20 and $162 per user per month, depending on cores, RAM and storage.


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