Windows 365 updates
Get a early look at what’s coming for Cloud PC experiences with Windows 365, including deeper Windows 11 integration with capabilities for booting directly to your Cloud PC, the new Windows 365 app experience, as well as switching from your local device to your Cloud PC. For admins, we’ll show you how setup and management is easy with native, fully cloud managed Azure Active Directory authentication for your Windows 365 Cloud PCs and the new Windows 365 Business simplified admin experience. Scott Manchester, Partner Director PM for Windows 365, joins Jeremy Chapman to share all the Windows 365 updates.
- Windows 365 Boot will allow specialized devices to go from powering on, to logging in directly to your Cloud PC.
- Windows 365 Switch will enable fast desktop switching via the Task View in Windows 11 to move to your Cloud PC and from there back to your local desktop.
- Windows 365 app will be included in a future Windows 11 release and available for Windows 10, which allows you to access your Cloud PCs, manage and troubleshoot them.
- Windows 365 Offline in the future will allow your Cloud PC to sync locally on your device and you’ll be able to work without an internet connection; then once you reconnect any changes made will synchronize to your Cloud PC.
- Azure Active Directory Join support for Windows 365 Enterprise is currently in preview and will be generally available in May.
- Updates to the Windows 365 Business portal and simplified management experiences for small businesses, and
- New Microsoft 365 Lighthouse portal integration for partners who manage multiple customer tenants.
01:44 — Boot directly to your Cloud PC with Windows 365 Boot
02:44 — How it works behind the scenes
03:35 — Windows 365 app to access and manage your Cloud PC
05:23 — Windows 365 Switch to move between your local device and Cloud PC
06:11 — Admin setup and management updates
08:14 — Windows 365 Business portal
10:35 — Windows 365 Offline for using your Cloud PC when disconnected
11:22 — Wrap-up
To learn more about Windows 365, check out https://windows365.com
Let us know what you think and give us your feedback at https://aka.ms/W365Feedback
See our previous show introducing Windows 365 at https://aka.ms/Windows365Mechanics
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- Coming up, we take a first look at what’s coming for your PC in the cloud with Windows 365, including deeper Windows 11 integration with capabilities for booting directly to your Cloud PC for simpler and secure access, the new Windows 365 App experience, as well as faster switching from your local device to your Cloud PC using desktops. And then for admins, we’ll show you how set up and management just got a lot easier with native, fully cloud-managed Azure Active Directory authentication for your Windows 365 Cloud PCs, and the new Windows 365 Business simplified admin experience, and much more. And to walk us through everything I’m joined today by Scott Manchester, the lead engineer for Windows 365, welcome.
- Thanks for having me back Jeremy. It’s great to be here again.
- And thanks so much for joining us today. And it’s really one of my favorite topics. You know, last time you were on the show we actually announced Windows 365 as the way to access your PC streaming from the cloud. And if you missed that show, you can check that out at aka.ms/Windows365Mechanics. And I know that you and team have been working hard on making the service even better.
- Yeah, we have. There’s a lot we’ve been doing for both the user and admin experience. So really the premise of Windows 365 has been to modernize the way Windows experiences are delivered from the cloud to anyone on practically any device to provide a consistent, and familiar experience for users. And it’s easy for IT to deploy and manage using familiar tools. And so we really have been continuing our journey in these areas. With Windows 11, we’re now able to take the experience to the next level, and deeply integrate Cloud PC capabilities directly into the Windows shell from the moment you power on your device to seamlessly accessing your Cloud PC from a running Windows session.
- And today we get a first look at some of the new capabilities that are coming to Windows 365. And I’d love to start with what you were just talking about in terms of powering on the device, so what’s new there?
- Sure, what’s really core to the Cloud PC experience is ease of access; getting to your Cloud PC should be just as easy as getting to your local desktop. So I’m going to start with a first look at a completely new way to access Windows 365 that allows you to boot directly to your Cloud PC. So I’ll power it on, and it’s going to take me to my normal secure Windows 11 login experience. Windows Hello recognizes me here. And then you’ll see it’s connecting directly to my Cloud PC. There’s no extra steps or apps to open, I’m just in. And it’s even better than cold booting a local machine because everything is exactly how I left it. Now you can even see, I have Excel in the taskbar already running. In this case, I’ll click on it. So I can more easily get back to what I was working on when I logged in last time.
- This is really a huge time saver, especially compared to accessing a traditional remote desktop.
- Yeah, that’s by design. As you saw, my device was configured to connect directly to my Cloud PC at log in. But just to unpack some of the magic, let me show you how this works behind the scenes. What makes this possible is that this device has Windows installed locally. And as an IT admin, you’ll be able to configure that device using Microsoft Endpoint Manager to enable users to directly access their Windows 365 Cloud PC. That way during login, Windows makes the direct connection between the user account and their Cloud PC. And once the user’s authenticated, their Windows 365 session streams directly from the cloud without any additional steps. This is also a great option for frontline workers using shared devices, where each user can sign into their individual Cloud PCs and devices can be passed from one user to another, for example, with each new shift.
- And because that Cloud PC’s always connected to your management infrastructure, it’s going to stay secure, up-to-date, and well managed from the IT perspective. But I bet a lot of people that are watching are wondering, you know, what happens if their device isn’t a corporate provided machine that’s solely used for work? You know, we’ve all kind of felt this from a hybrid work perspective. We’re going to use our computers a lot, our personal computers, to access both our personal stuff, as well as our work environment, so what’s new there?
- Yes, that’s the reality for a lot of us today. We are developing a few solutions to make bring your own PC work seamlessly with Windows 365. Let me start with a first look at the new Windows 365 App, which will be pre-installed in a future release of Windows 11, and it can also be installed on Windows 10. And the first time I run it, you’ll see we’ve made it easy for users to get up to speed on the service, learn about available controls, how to get started, along with updates to the Windows 11 integrated experience. Now, from here, I can see the Cloud PCs available to me, in my case, it’s just one, and I can even see its specs. This is now a consistent experience across the web and Windows client by design. And beyond accessing your Cloud PCs, it also lets you manage or troubleshoot them, depending on what your administrator has enabled for you. Now you can see, in my case, I have every option enabled. I can restart it, I can also reset it back to its original configuration, or restore it to a previously known good state and point-in-time. Now, I can resize my Cloud PC if I need more horsepower, or rename it, or troubleshoot it right from here. And again, as an enterprise admin you will have full control over which options are displayed here. So I’ll go ahead and connect to my Cloud PC, and you can see I’m right back where I left off.
- And this is really a lot more user friendly than some of the traditional remote desktop apps that we’re used to.
- Right, and I mentioned there are a lot of options for switching between context to let you work from the device you want, and still seamlessly switch between your local and Cloud PC with a fast, integrated, and modern experience. So this is an early look of the integration we’re building with Cloud PCs using desktops and Windows. If you aren’t familiar with desktops, using the task view control in the taskbar allows you to create customize, and move between desktops. Notice this new option on the right, which allows me to now quickly switch from my local desktop environment to my Cloud PC directly from here. I can even see a preview of what’s running on it. Now, once I click it, I access my Cloud PC instantly. And now, it’s streaming in this desktop from Windows 365. And the magic works both ways. When I open task view from my Cloud PC it’s just as easy to hop back on my local personal device. And, by the way, this also works with touch gestures and shortcut keys.
- You know, and if you’ve used desktops in the past this is a lot easier to set up compared to other remote desktop options. Now, for all the admins who are watching, why don’t we take a look at some of the updates that are coming to the Endpoint Manager experience for managing Windows 365?
- Of course, as we improve the user experience there’s also a bunch of things we’ve been working on to make setup and management easier. And this is based on all of your feedback. By far the most requested feature was for Windows 365 to work with cloud native Azure Active Directory authentication using Azure AD Join, let me show you. So I’m in the Endpoint Manager admin center, and to set up Azure AD Join in Windows 365 you just need to create a provisioning policy. So let’s create a new one, and give it a name. In the Join type details, I’ll just keep the default here, Azure AD Join. For the network, now you don’t even need an existing Azure virtual network running, but that’s still an option if you prefer. You can just do use the Microsoft hosted network option and choose your region, in this case, I’ll pick US West 3, and that’s it. That means there’s no servers, domain connections, or Azure VNets to manage. And if you need connectivity back to your on-prem network you can just use a VPN client, like you would with a physical PC now.
- Right, and once you have this configured the nice thing is your Cloud PC can still access local resources on-prem and you only need to use Azure AD Join, which is a lot easier to manage to get them authenticated. So it’s the best of both worlds.
- Yeah, it really is. And another highly requested capability we’re building is point-in-time restore. Now this lets you get back to a known healthy state in case anything happens to make the system unstable, like an unwanted app or driver install. Now by default, the service has 10 restore points. Four are built in for the weekly backups, and now you can configure the remaining six based on your preferences, let me show you. You can configure this in the User Settings tab. So I’ll add a new one here, and give it a name. Now here under Point-in-time restore service you have full control over how frequently these restore points are captured, with options from every four hours to up to 24 hours. And of course, this isn’t a global setting. You can assign individual settings by group. And we’re also making point-in-time restore available onto smaller organizations with Windows 365 Business.
- And that’s a perfect segue because I think it’d be great to show some of the updates that are coming for the smaller organizations that are using Windows 365 Business.
- So we know that the big thing here is simplicity. Let me walk you through the new updated portal experience. The new Windows 365 Business Portal lets you easily see your organization’s Cloud PC users in one view. And you can access common organizational level settings like the account type with standard user, or local administrator accounts. And you can also choose the default Windows version, either Windows 10 or Windows 11. If I make changes here, any new Cloud PC I create from this point forward will have these settings. I won’t make any changes, in my case, and just close this view. And it’s super easy to add users too, let me show you how. So I’ll add a user, then in Edit Products I just need to choose which licenses to assign. Microsoft 365 Business is already selected, in my case, so I’ll just choose a Cloud PC size. I’ll add this one with two cores, eight GB of RAM and 128 GB of storage, then I’ll hit update. Now from here, I’ll just add their first name, then last name, and a username, then a password. And once I click add user, that’s it. Now if I want to make changes to my existing Cloud PCs I can also do that from here as well. I’ll click into Adele Vance, take a look at the devices she already has provisioned, and I can access common admin controls and tasks. For example, I might want to restart or reset her Cloud PC, or rename it. I’ll do that here and change this to Adele Vance — Work PC. Now if Adele is a power user and I want to change her account type to be a local administrator I can also do that from here as well. And by the way, all of these controls are available to end users but, like I showed you, you can also make these changes on their behalf using the portal. Everything you’re seeing is also fully integrated with Microsoft 365 admin center so that the actions you take in the Windows 365 Business portal are also reflected in the Microsoft 365 admin center, and vice versa. Also, for partners watching, Windows 365 is fully integrated the Microsoft 365 Lighthouse portal, with centralized status monitoring across all of the Cloud PCs and organizations you manage. And we’ll also show you the network connection and status across your tenants.
- So just a ton of great updates then for users of Windows 365, our admins, and also our partners, and small businesses. So what’s the team working on next?
- Well, one of the more innovative capabilities we’re developing for the future is offline support. That’s going to be great if you’re a traveler and for those cases where you might not have a consistent connection to the cloud. So here’s the first look at what’s coming in the future. You’ll be able to cache what’s necessary to run your Cloud PC offline on a premium Windows endpoint. And if the connection drops, you’ll be able to continue working on your Cloud PC offline. So if you’re on a flight and don’t have wifi you can stay productive with your apps and content while you’re disconnected. Then once you reconnect to the internet, you’re back online and anything you did while you were working offline will re-sync with what’s running in the cloud. So you can keep working without interruptions, and without a constant connection to the internet.
- Very cool, so your Cloud PC then stays in sync with your local PC. So, for everyone who’s watching at home, what’s the best way to get started with Windows 365?
- So it’s pretty simple, you can find everything you need to get started at windows365.com. And as you saw, we keep adding capabilities based on your feedback so please keep it coming at aka.ms/W365feedback.
- Thanks so much, Scott, for joining us today, and sharing what’s coming for Windows 365. Of course, keep watching Microsoft Mechanics to stay up-to-date with all the latest tech across Microsoft and subscribe to our channel, if you haven’t already and, as always, thank you so much for watching.