Cloud PC – Run your own desktop in Windows 365 Cloud!

In this article we are going to discuss Windows 365 Cloud PCs and running your own personal desktop in the cloud. What they are, why you would need them using the different versions available. We will look into some comparisons with Azure Virtual Desktop and a demo creating and accessing a Windows 365 cloud PC.

So what actually is a Cloud PC?

If we think about a traditional physical desktop or a PC hosted on a physical machine this is normally accessed by users from one location. This is a restriction for access as Cloud PCs are accessible anywhere, anytime. Not to mention the physical desktop support and businesses needing to have on-site IT technicians available to repair issues.

Since virtual desktops and cloud PCs are hosted at a data center, they are more secure and can utilize all the benefits of multi factor authentication and conditional access. If more storage or performance is needed, we can easily add this via the portal where as physical desktops require you to purchase hard drives and upgrades.

With a Windows 365 cloud-based PC. Your entire operating system and everything that’s installed on it is located in the cloud instead of your own device’s hard drive.

You can then access the cloud PC through either the Windows 365 app, the client or web browser accessible from anywhere, on any device. We can reduce the cost of the devices to access the Cloud PC by using a minimalist endpoint device such as a thin client to connect to the cloud PC. Software upgrades can be managed in a central location and rolled out easily using Intune if required.

Your cloud PC lives on a remote server in a azure data center. You connect to it via the internet, and your desktop, files, and applications are available to you on any device, anytime, anywhere. Protecting against security risks and provide better data protection with compliant Cloud PCs.

We get a complete and fully personalized Windows experience on any Windows, Mac, iOS, or Android device.

It allows you to use multiple operating systems, access and run any heavy application with the same experience you expect from physical computers.

We are not limited to hardware resources like our fixed hardware. We may have the challenge of requiring more compute, memory or storage resources to play a demanding game or working on a project and using a new application that needs greater resources.

In these scenarios, with a physical PC we would need to order the hardware, get it delivered, then physically upgrade that device which is often a timely and costly process

Windows 365 allows you to subscribe to a cloud PC at a fixed monthly cost which can run outlook, teams, excel, word and you can give it access to data contained in the cloud located in SharePoint and OneDrive.

This is a managed device dedicated to a single person as a personal device.
Windows 365 cloud PC runs all the time 24/7 (except frontline plans which we will explain in the different versions available later on in this article) and shutting them down does not save any costs as its a fixed cost.

Cloud PCs are billed in a per-user per-month cost model. This model means your organization doesn’t have to manage the variability of compute and storage costs of a traditional hosted desktop model.

Windows 365 is easier to deploy and manage, it is also more cost-effective if there are a small number of desktops (less than 10) in the Cloud environment. We don’t need any Active Directory configuration or storage for FSLogix profiles. Its doesn`t require a specialized skill set to manage and configure, and offers ease of deployment, management and cost savings if your environment is small. Around 5-10 users. It provides a very simple to run Cloud PC and you can deploy Cloud PCs alongside existing physical PCs which all the flexibility, scalability, security that bring with it and access your Cloud PC from anywhere.

Windows 365 Cloud PCs Versions

There are three versions of Windows 365 Cloud PCs, we have

  • Windows 365 for Business
  • Windows 365 for Enterprise
  • Windows 365 Frontline

With Windows 365 Cloud PCs for business they are basic and offer simplicity for smaller companies, fast to setup and do not require an Azure subscription or footprint. There is no dependency against Active Directory. Also no licensing requirements to buy and deploy Windows 365 business and if your organisation needs a connection to an existing corporate network, you’ll need to choose the enterprise edition. Also outbound data/month may be restricted when levels are exceeded which is measured based on the RAM of the cloud PC.

Windows 365 Frontline is for workers that need access to a Cloud PC only for a limited amount of time, for example, during their shift and not after working hours, part-time, or for limited periods.  Each worker will receive a unique Frontline Cloud PC, but licenses are shared.

Shift workers don’t normally require 24/7 access to their Cloud PCs therefore with Windows 365 Frontline you don’t need to purchase a Cloud PC for every employee. You only need enough Cloud PCs for the maximum number of active users at any given time providing cost benefits and cost reduction.

When a shift worker logs on, the Frontline Cloud PC is powered on and a license is used for the duration of their work. When they log off, the shared license is returned to the pool of shared licenses, and their Frontline Cloud PC is powered off. Windows 365 Frontline licenses will show up in the Microsoft 365 admin center under the products tab only, and do not need to be assigned to specific users

Enterprise Cloud PCs setup are more complex and provisioning is configurable and customizable to the needs of the organization. Each user must be licensed for Windows 10 or 11 Enterprise (when available), Microsoft Intune, and Microsoft Entra ID P1. We can provision Cloud PCs by using standard gallery images or custom images. Group Policy Objects (GPO) are supported and also can be managed by using Intune. Connection to corporate network is possible together with azure ad join with or without VNet support and Hybrid azure ad join with VNet support.

More information check out this Microsoft artcle Comparing Windows 365 Business and Enterprise Cloud PCs

Windows 365 cloud PCs vs Azure Virtual Desktop

Lets now discuss comparing Windows 365 cloud PC vs Azure Virtual Desktop.

If you have more than 10 users and a more complex environment with customized applications which is designed and developed from your business requirements you would want to consider Azure Virtual Desktop to give you that scalability beyond just deploying a single cloud PC for a single user as a dedicated personal device. With Azure Virtual Desktop you may have a current Azure footprint or one planned.

You may already be running your identity in the cloud such as syned Active Directory domain services to Azure AD (or now Entra ID) or you many be running pure Azure Active Directory Domain Services or AADDS in the cloud. You may need published applications rather than a full Windows desktop session and also a pool of desktops with load balancing requirements and FSLogix user profiles.

We have covered a complete step by step guide and demo showing Azure Virtual Desktop (AVD) how to setup, configure and implement from the start a fully working AVD solution using FSLogix profiles with Azure premium storage private endpoint and Active Directory integration. This will help you build a virtualized desktop infrastructure VDI solution at enterprise scale from start to finish.

Take a look at the post below if you need more information and for a full comparison against Windows 365 cloud PCs and demo in this video.

Complete Step by Step Guide and Demo Setup Azure Virtual Desktop with FSLogix

Video below discusses Windows 365 Cloud PCs. What they are, why you would need them using the different versions available. We will look into some comparisons with Azure Virtual Desktop and a demo creating and accessing a Windows 365 cloud PC.creating Windows 365 cloud PC


About cloudinspired

Cloud Inspired authors have over 30 years experience within the IT industry, providing expertise and knowledge on infrastructure, hybrid, public and private clouds platforms. Detailed easy to follow technical videos, training and tutorial guides are provided by subject matter experts covering various technologies including Azure, IaaS, SaaS, PaaS and Microsoft 365. This website focuses mainly on the Microsoft 365 and Azure Cloud platform and provides easy to follow step by step technical guides, diagrams, cloud certifications and tutorials. The aim is to deliver articles and videos on Microsoft 365 and Azure Cloud from start to finish on many different Azure services and certifications, building and increasing the viewers knowledge in a short, logical, easy to understand format quickly getting to the point of the subject matter! Check out the YouTube channel for a full list of published Cloud Inspired videos and lets get inspired about Cloud!

View all posts by cloudinspired →

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *