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Windows 365 – The revolutionary new virtualization solution (Part 4: Using Windows 365)

In this article, I show you how easy it is for an end user to make good use of Windows 365 (and how).

This blog series contains the following articles (the links will be updated, once the articles are released).

This article is split into the following sections:

Starting up with Windows 365

Access the CloudPC with RDP

Access the CloudPC via Webbrowser

Starting up with Windows 365

As you have seen in my article about Windows 365 Enterprise, it is much more complex to setup than Windows 365 Business. This is fitting the goal “Business is fast and easy to setup for smaller companies, Enterprise fully integrates into large networks“. No matter how it is setup, the question is, how it looks and feels for a user.

After the admin has set it up, the user can already see it in his Microsoft 365 menu tile, when he opens https://portal.office.com and signs in with his company account. The user can alternatively open the site https://cloudpc.microsoft.com or https://windows365.microsoft.com. Pick the URL you like most, all end up in the same portal (I always use https://portal.office.com because I start my everyday work here):

From the Microsoft 365 Portal Site you can find Windows 365 in your app launcher:

You see a site with all your CloudPCs – you don’t need to care if you have Business or Enterprise PCs. That information is not important for an end user. There is only 1 tiny difference in the menu when you open the settings of your VM. The Business CloudPC can be reset by the user, the Enterprise PC cannot (here you need your IT staff):

The CloudPC can always be accessed in 2 ways:

  • RDP
  • WebBrowser

Access the CloudPC with RDP

To connect woth RDP, you need the modern Remote Desktop Client from Microsoft. As central IT department you can get it from Get started with the Windows Desktop client | Microsoft Docs and integrate and deploy it with your software distribution solution, e.g. Endpoint Manager (I do it with MEM because it is modern and cool 😉 ).

If you want and can to install it by yourself, you can download it directly from the home page:

A new site opens where you can choose your edition:

You see, the client is offered for all important platforms, that means for you: Access your CloudPC from (nearly) anywhere on any device! Cool!

In the download menu there is also the link Get subscription URL – you need to copy this one because you need it in the next step. After the RDP Client is installed, start it and it should ask you on startup for that URL. If it doesn’t or you already have other RDP Connections here, add it in the menu of the RDP Client:

Now the Client asks you for the URL, paste the copied link here and finish the wizard. Now the connection is added and you can access your CloudPC. I recommend to have a short look at the settings first – so right-click your connection and open Settings:

If you have a large display (I have 49 inches and work with multiple windows) you should adjust the settings:

Make sure, Fit session to window and Update the resolution on resize are set to On, that avoids really ugly scrollbars in your RDP session. Now you can start the session by double-clicking the connection icon. The session starts. Please realize, that the RDP Client supports modern and secure authentication like Windows Hello for Business:

If you do not have Windows Hello for Business, you might need to enter your password or perform another way of authentication (depending on how it is configured for your company inside AAD). Nothing more to do, just start work and be happy with your CloudPC.

There is not much really dumb that a user can do with his PC, it cannot even be shut down (via GUI):

Access the CloudPC via Browser

Instead of installing the RDP client (or if it is not possible), use the browser of your choice to access the CloudPC. The experience here is also very easy and straight forward:

A new browser tab is opened and you see the URL that Windows 365 is built on the same high available and reliable infrastructure like Azure Virtual Desktop (former Windows Virtual Desktop – WVD):

The connection asks you which resources you want to share, so choose the right ones that you are going to use in your upcoming work session:

Then all the magic happens that you might know from an RDP client or AVD/WVD sessions inside a browser: The RDP Connection is established. In a browser window, you have to re-authenticate – as you had to with the RDP Client as well:

And immediately your profile is being loaded and the connection to the CloudPC is established:

You see the different background compared to the screenshot in the RDP section of this article? That is not because of another CloudPC. This happens, because I am using the Windows 10 skin Call of the raven, which is synchronized between all my PCs.

Like the RDP brother, the browser based connection can handle changes in the window size to avoid ugly scrollbars. see how it looks when I resize the window th very small:

Well that’s it. No summary now, but you see it is really very easy to connect to Windows 365 as a user and start being productive.

Published by Andreas

Founder of M365 Evangelists Cloud-Architect, Strategy Consultant, Consultant for Microsoft technologies, Graph API enthusiast, PowerShell enthusiast
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