Exploring Windows 365: The Cloud-based PC Revolution

Windows 365: How the new start works with cloud PCs

Microsoft’s Windows 365 Boot function allows PCs to start Microsoft’s cloud desktop directly after logging in. This feature is available in public preview for the first time, and users previously had to manually call up the service from the local system. In order to use Windows 365 Boot, users must participate in the Windows Insider Program (Dev Channel), and administrators must activate the boot feature in Microsoft Intune and make some configurations.

However, no complicated settings are required on the local Windows 11 22H2 apart from the link to the Microsoft account and the appropriate license for Windows 365. After a restart, the login screen transparently shows to the user that they are logging into a cloud PC. According to Microsoft, Windows 365 is designed for shared use with other users, and personal data is not stored on the PC, but in the cloud. This feature makes it easy to change your workplace spontaneously, as your familiar environment is always available.

Administrators can customize several settings for the affected Windows systems, including specifying when updates are to be installed and at what times the system is not allowed to restart. Wi-Fi access and VPN profiles can also be stored, and the preferred language for Windows can be specified in advance. Administrators can also assign their cloud PCs directly to an existing or new group in Azure Active Directory.

However, system administrators must take note of an important warning in the small print of the announcement. If they want to use existing Windows computers as cloud PCs, they should completely reset their previous installation remotely after the initial configuration.

Microsoft announced Windows 365 in July 2021, and the insider test of Windows 365 Boot is the first sign of life from the new feature after a long wait. At the same time, Microsoft is also offering a cloud PC called Dev Box, which is designed specifically for developers and has received a substantial update as part of Build 2023. Both Windows 365 and Dev Box are based on the Azure Virtual Desktop (AVD), which offers administrators more options than the versions fully managed by Microsoft. The general availability of Windows 365 Boot remains unclear.

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