New Windows 365 App & Management Updates
What’s new and what’s coming in Windows 365 for admins, including the new Windows 365 desktop app to access Cloud PCs, more comprehensive IT management, and new integration with Citrix HDX Plus for Windows 365.
- Manage your Cloud PC from the Windows 365 app. Restart, reset, and restore it.
- Identify underutilized Cloud PCs. Upsize or downsize to match demand.
- Citrix HDX plus is integrated into the Windows 365 experience for users and admins.
Director of Product Management for Windows 365, Scott Manchester, joins Jeremy Chapman to show you updates to Windows 365, new capabilities, and how to set them up.
Manage your Cloud PC from the Windows 365 app.
Restart, reset, and restore it. See all the capabilities and get started.
Restore Cloud PCs to a good state.
See how to configure point-in-time restore as a Windows 365 device admin.
Configure policies in one place and find them easily.
Citrix HDX plus is integrated into the Windows 365 experience for users and admins. Check it out.
Watch our video here.
00:00 What’s new and what’s coming for Windows 365
01:35 New Windows 365 app, now in preview
04:24 New and upcoming management controls for Windows 365 in Intune
08:45 What’s coming with Citrix HDX+ for Windows 365
10:41 Updates for Government Community Cloud and shift workers for Windows 365
11:16 What’s new for Windows 365 Business Edition
Try out the Windows 365 app at https://aka.ms/Windows365app
Sign up for a trial and get information build Cloud PCs at https://www.windows365.com
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- Coming up, we’ll dive into what’s new and what’s coming in Windows 365 for admins including the new Windows 365 desktop app to access Cloud PCs, more comprehensive IT management, and new integration with Citrix HDX Plus for Windows 365. And walk us through everything, I’m joined once again by Scott Manchester who leads the Windows 365 engineering team. Welcome back.
- Thanks Jeremy. It’s great to be back. We’ve got a lot of exciting things to share today.
- I’m glad that you’re back on. So this time we actually wanted to dedicate our show to more IT and management focuses really given the momentum that we’re seeing with Windows 365 just one year in.
- Yeah, this is really a great time to go deeper into the updates here. Pretty much every industry has started deploying Cloud PCs. These are organizations that may have shied away from desktop virtualization in the past due to its complexities. And now with Windows 365 delivering Cloud PCs to your users, all that complexity goes away.
- And that’s really the point, isn’t it? You know, these are just like any other PCs that you provision only they’re in the cloud, which makes it a lot easier. And also it’s a rich experience for users. And last time, you were on, we actually showed a few first looks for end user capabilities that are in the works. So first, how you’ll soon be able to move easily between your Cloud PC in a local PC with Windows 365 Switch and even a future option for using your Cloud PC completely disconnected from the internet with Windows 365 Offline. Now at the time you also showed some updates around the Windows 365 app that can be deployed for users to help them with discoverability and also access to their Cloud PC. So what’s new there?
- I’ve got great news, Jeremy. The new Windows 365 app is available now in preview, and you can find it in the Microsoft Store. It lets you access your Cloud PCs using Windows 11 and soon we’ll add support for Windows 10 as well. And in a future update, it will be available as an inbox app in Windows 11. Let me show you how this changes things from an access perspective. It really starts with connecting to your Cloud PC and we’ve made it as simple as logging into your Microsoft 365 account. So you don’t need to worry about finding a workspace URL or other parameters. So now it’ll walk me through the first run experience so I can see all of my options to easily get this set up with available controls and integration with Windows 11. And you’ll notice this is a consistent experience with the web client. From here, I can see my Cloud PCs along with their specifications. Now before I connect, I’ll walk you through the additional controls to manage my Cloud PC. Previously these were available in the web client and now I can do everything from the app. You can see I can restart it. I can also reset it back to its original configuration or restore to a previously known good state. And point in time if I get my Cloud PC into a bad state. I can even rename it, and I can troubleshoot it right from here. So let me start that right now.
- And I can imagine this troubleshooting is really useful for cases like, you know, network configurations or firewall settings, maybe if you’re on public wifi or connecting from home.
- Yeah, and that’s one of the most common and most difficult things to troubleshoot today. So the troubleshooter has finished and you can see everything looks healthy. Now if I did encounter an issue, it would give me more information before I can call the help desk. So now if I go ahead and connect to my Cloud PC that will resume my session, and you’ll see it’s exactly how I left it.
- And both of your apps are open and ready to go in this case. But there were some capabilities that you mentioned were different compared to the web client when you got the desktop app.
- That’s right. The Windows 365 app has deep integration with your local Windows device, and you can do quite a bit more compared to accessing your Cloud PC from the browser. And one of my favorite capabilities is the additional USB peripheral support like connecting to a built-in or attached local webcam. Now as I start a Teams meeting using meet now, I’ll go ahead and enable my camera. Then if I open Device settings, you’ll see that I have both onboard cameras available for my Surface as well as the two studio cameras attached via USB capture cards. And this goes hand-in-hand with the optimizations we’ve made for Windows 365 for Teams using multimedia redirect, which acts like a direct connection to your local webcam feed. So you’re not compromising video quality, or adding unnecessary latency.
- Right, and by the way, also you can with the Windows 365 app, connect up to 16 monitors. But going back to our Cloud PC management controls, you know, like reset and restore that we just saw, if you’re a Windows 365 device admin, can I control what a user sees then, from the desktop app?
- Absolutely. As an admin you have full control over the experience. And just like the rest of Windows 365 configuration as you see here, everything is managed right from the Microsoft Intune portal. For user settings, you’ll be able to control the ability for Cloud PC users to be configured as local admins, enable self-service resize or reset, and options to configure point-in-time restore. Now, restore points are one of many BCDR capabilities in the service and Cloud PCs are backed up using incremental snapshots. Then if you restore a Cloud PC, it will return to a known good state. And this is useful if you accidentally delete something in the Cloud PC or were impacted by ransomware. And we’ve built the controls into the Windows 365 experience to perform a restore from the admin center. So here I’m looking at Ana Bowman’s Cloud PC in the device view. I’ll open Restore, you’ll normally see up to 14 restore points available. And if I wanted to restore her Cloud PC back to let’s say September 28th, I just need to select this and then confirm the restore. And this process just takes a moment and our Cloud PC will be restored right back to that original state
- And that’s really a ton of control. So are there other experiences that we’ve updated in the Intune portal?
- Absolutely. So everything you need to do to set up and run this service is right here in the Intune portal. We also give you end-to-end visibility into performance and alerts, connection quality, utilization and more. Let’s start here and look at performance. So we’ve built new controls in the device overview. I’m in the Cloud PC performance tab, and I can see Cloud PCs with connection quality issues and low utilization. Looks like we have nine Cloud PCs that have slow round trip times. So I’ll dig into the report and I can see the time taken to sign in for these devices. Now even though this one from Ana Bowman has a relatively high bandwidth connection, the round trip time is too high and should be way less than that. So I’ll click into her device to get more details. You’ll see connectivity status is unavailable, so I’ll dig a little deeper. And it looks like her device has a policy configured that prevents remote access. So now I’ll run the troubleshooter now. And here you can see it fixes the issue. Now you can see this status is now available and healthy. And to help discover other types of issues, we’ve added Windows 365 alerts, so I can quickly find out issues or failures affecting the service even before a user files a ticket. From the Tenant administration blade, I’ll go into Alerts. And here I can see there are four alerts for Windows 365. I’ll open this one from Azure network connection failure blocking access, and I get a summary with full details for this alert. In fact, it might be the same issue we just fixed because in next steps, it also recommends we fix the AD credentials or policies preventing access.
- And connectivity obviously is a priority in this case. So it’s really great that we’ve got visibility, diagnostics, and also troubleshooting built-in. But why don’t we go back to another important topic, utilization. So what can we do there?
- Sure. These are all things that are key to managing the service. To manage utilization, you can also right-size your Cloud PCs. This helps deliver the right level of performance and keeps things cost efficient. Let me start by showing you how to identify underutilized Cloud PCs. So I’m back in the devices overview and your new Cloud PC performance tab. This time I’ll click into the report for Cloud PCs with low utilization. And you can see that we have five Cloud PCs that haven’t connected in a few weeks. There’s also the total time connected in days since each Cloud PC was last accessed. The good news is I can take action and redeploy or downsize these devices. In fact, I’ll open up Mario’s Cloud PC with low utilization, and you can see this is a powerful eight core 32 gig RAM machine. So to optimize cost while Mario is out, I can resize it. And there are two options with either two or four cores. I’ll choose this one for now and can always upsize it later. So I’ll hit resize and then confirm. Importantly this one affect Mario’s files, apps, or other configurations. And the operation just takes a couple of minutes to shut down, resize, and restart.
- Okay, so now you can easily both upsize and downsize your existing Cloud PCs really to match demand. But I’d like to switch gears though, because I bet a lot of people who are watching have Citrix environments that they’re working with now. So why don’t we highlight what’s possible there?
- Citrix has always been a great partner, and we’ve done a ton of work to integrate them deeply into the Windows 365 experience. We’ve built a lot of the Citrix management experience directly into Intune. In fact, Jeremy, I know you have previous experience in managing Citrix environments. Why don’t you walk us through this?
- Right, I do and I’m happy to. So my history is with bare metal deployment, so this was a lot easier in comparison. So you’ll start by connecting up the two services. Now here in Intune under Tenant administration and Connectors and tokens, there is a Citrix connector. And after I can figure the connection on the Citrix Cloud console side, here in Intune, it’s just this one toggle to enable it. So now both environments are wired up. And that also helps on the Citrix Cloud console side too. In fact, here from the Citrix Cloud console, I can find any of the Cloud PC users for my Windows 365 environment in order to give them Citrix licenses that they’ll need. So here I’m going to go ahead and add a user. And I’ll search for Matt. There he is, he’s on our team. I’ll go ahead and select him and click OK. Then I’ll click save to confirm. Now my favorite thing though about connecting the Citrix service to Intune is that it’s going to be really easy to configure all of your policies in one place and find the right ones really quickly. So I’m in the configuration profile settings from Citrix HDX for user configs. And if you’ve ever configured Citrix policies before, you’ll recognize that most of these familiar settings are just right here. You don’t need to add more ADMX templates or dig for hard to find settings in the standard ADMX-backed Windows policy templates. It’s just all right here and it just feels like home if you’re a Citrix admin. So I’ll go ahead and search for the clipboard and you’ll see this one here in terms of clipboard redirection. I’ll go ahead and disable that and I can do all of that right from within Intune. And there’s also really nice integration on the user experience side too. So I can access all of my Windows 365 Cloud PCs right here from the Citrix workspace. And by the way, this works using the apps or the web client. And I can connect, just like I would any other Citrix desktop. And you’ll see that once it connects there are the Citrix HDX controls. They’re also integrated and working with my Cloud PC. And Scott, I know that your team’s also been working on additional scenarios to make Cloud PCs more accessible to other use cases.
- That’s right. We want to make Windows 365 available to everyone. And we’re expanding the Windows 365 to more organizations in use cases. Windows 365 is now generally available for Government Community Cloud and Government Community Cloud High organizations in the US. And coming soon, you’ll be able to provision Cloud PCs for shift or part-time employees who only need Cloud PCs during their workday for a limited time or to save costs.
- And these additions are really going to open up a lot of new options. But to run things out for organizations currently using Windows 365 Business Edition, what’s new there?
- Well, we’re going to make it even easier for you to access and manage your Cloud PCs. First, we’re introducing sign-in integration with Microsoft Accounts like Outlook.com email addresses for example, as a way to securely access your Cloud PC. And as you invite others, you just need to add their name and Microsoft Account address. So you don’t have to use a work or school account to access your Cloud PC. Now that said, if you are using Intune with Azure AD to manage your devices, we’ve built a new option to automatically onboard your Cloud PCs, and it’s super simple to set up. Right from the business portal, you just need to navigate to your organizational settings. And there’s a new option to enroll your Cloud PCs in Microsoft Endpoint Manager. And you can enable this with just one click. And that’s it. So now your Cloud PCs moving forward will enroll into management and all of your required policies and apps will be applied.
- That’s probably one of the easiest enrollment options I’ve seen for Intune. So for anyone who’s watching right now looking to get started with the Windows 365, what do you recommend?
- There are a few things you can do now. First, if you haven’t started trying out Windows 365, now’s the perfect time to jump in. You can sign up for a trial now and find all the information you need to build Cloud PCs at windows365.com. And once you have Windows 365 running you can try out the new app at aka.ms/Windows365app.
- Awesome stuff. Thanks for joining us today and sharing all the Windows 365 updates. And keep checking back to Microsoft Mechanics to stay up to date. And be sure to subscribe to our channel if you haven’t already. And as always, thank you for watching.