As most people have probably experienced in the past, getting up to speed with a new service or product can sometimes involve a lot of trial and error. How often does it happen that you accidentally ‘discover’ a new feature on an app or a device that you’ve had for a while? While it may generally make for an exciting finding, it’s arguably always better to be fully aware of the features and capabilities of a product or service. This is part of what Microsoft wanted to address with the Windows 365 Tech Community.
A lot of organizations have been hesitant to migrate to the cloud and adopt cloud-based solutions for various reasons. Some of those may be security-based but others simply have to do with a lack of know-how about a service like Windows 365. So by giving you a Windows 365 community, organizations and users can find support and helpful information.
Getting familiar with Windows 365
Organizations that are looking at innovative tech solutions to address modern needs are at some point going to encounter Windows 365. So, Microsoft has to begin by introducing what this service is and how organizations can benefit from it.
This is something that Microsoft begins to address in the Microsoft Mechanics series. In recent times, there has been a huge demand for cloud-based technology. And a simple online search will show you that there are several services that businesses can utilize for their needs.
Therefore, you can justifiably ask why exactly Windows 365 is the service you need. The short answer to that would be how this service is designed to modernize the way that you can experience Windows from anywhere on any device.
This will ultimately serve up an optimum experience for both IT pros and end users. Without the need to hire expert tech support to set up and manage Windows 365, it makes it a service that is both easy to use and manage.
Another key piece of information that users will need has to do with device compatibility. Before you even consider types of devices, you should know that using the Windows 365 platform is something that should help you to lower your hardware expenses in the long term.
This is because of how the Cloud PC runs on the cloud. With the heavy computing done on the Microsoft Cloud, end-users don’t need to worry about purchasing expensive high-end devices to access the Windows 365 Cloud PC.
All anyone needs is a decent internet connection and they’ll have access to a relatively powerful Windows PC that they can stream on most devices. Accessing your Cloud PC can be done via any modern browser or the Remote Desktop app.
As one can imagine, if your organization has a significant number of people working for them remotely then a hybrid setup like this will be immensely beneficial. You’re not going to have to make a huge investment to provide all these individuals with devices.
All those Windows 10 and Windows 11 devices that you already have are perfectly compatible with Windows 365. But, it’s not just Windows devices that you can use. Users can easily stream a Windows 365 session to hardware running macOS, iPadOS, Linux, and Android.
However, for the best experience, Microsoft recommends using devices that have a traditional keyboard and mouse.
For the most part, as long as your device has an HTML5 browser and a DSL connection or a wireless internet connection capable of streaming a video you will be just fine. The amount of bandwidth that you’ll need, however, will depend on your workload.
Microsoft Teams update
Microsoft Teams is a collaboration platform that is based on the cloud and was launched in 2016 as part of the Office 365 productivity suite. The key features that have helped to establish Microsoft Teams include business messaging, calling, video meetings, and file sharing. It’s also designed to be accessible for use to most organizations regardless of size. Understandably, the popularity of this tool has grown significantly over the last few years.
Therefore, it’s crucial for Microsoft to keep updating the platform so that it keeps up with the evolving needs of clients. And part of that has involved offering background effects on Windows 365. The tech community platform has just made the announcement that this feature has now been made generally available.
What this recently announced development means is that you can now personalize the communication experience to your liking. Being able to apply background effects can help eliminate unwanted intrusions when having important meetings. Users can select their preferred background from a choice of several available.
Or, you can simply choose to blur out the background. This blur feature helps to subtly conceal everything in your background while keeping your image clear and isolated. These effects help to place all the focus on the topic of discussion and remove anything that may potentially cause disruptions.
The cost of Windows 365
Microsoft offers two editions of Windows 365 and both have a range of configurations that clients can choose. This means that smaller businesses, with less than 300 users and larger organizations with greater numbers of users. can both achieve results.
Fees start from $20 per user per month for the lowest-end SKU. It can increase up to $162 per user, per month for the most expensive version. Therefore, with Windows 365, you get fixed monthly subscriptions unlike with Azure Virtual Desktop. And if you need to scale up then you are given the option of getting a different subscription as well.
Clients with the Windows 365 Business subscription can get a single virtual core, 2GB of RAM, and 64GB of storage for the starting price of $20. However, this fee is only available for clients that have Windows Hybrid Benefit. The latter is Microsoft’s Bring-Your-Own license model. It helps clients to apply existing (or new) licenses toward the cost of a product.
If not, then that cost goes up to $24. But, if your organization requires a lot more, you can pay $158 for eight virtual cores, 32GB of RAM, and 512GB of storage. The same situation regarding Windows Hybrid Benefit applies here and so without it, the fee goes up to $162.
The pricing model is pretty much consistent and the range of prices remains the same for Windows 365 Enterprise clients. Those who aren’t looking for a lot of computing resources can get a single virtual core with 2GB of RAM and 64GB of storage for the same $20.
However, if your computing needs are a lot greater, then you can get other options. Other solutions include eight virtual cores, 32GB of RAM, and 512GB of storage for $158 per user per month.
Deleting Cloud PCs
Occasionally, you may need to redeploy your Cloud PCs for any number of reasons. And from the discussion on the Windows 365 tech community, we learn about how we can go about that. Microsoft allows us to use the reprovision feature to delete a user’s current Cloud PC. You can then create a brand new one for that same user. The reprovisioning process, which is a remote action, will delete the original Cloud PC along with all user data, applications, customizations, etc.
You should also be aware of the issue regarding the grace period. What happens during this seven-day grace period is that a user will continue to have access to the Cloud PC. However, as soon as those seven days expire, the user loses access and the Cloud PC is deprovisioned. But, you can also opt to use the End grace period option to immediately end the grace period.
Multiple user assignment
Most organizations will want to know how many users can be assigned to a Cloud PC. So it’s worth noting that the Cloud PC is designed only for a single user. Therefore, if you want to permanently reassign that Cloud PC, you have to first remove the license from the previous user. You also have to make sure that the Cloud PC is deprovisioned before you can reassign the license to a new user. Once the license reassignment has been done, the provisioning of the Cloud PC can begin.
Teams multi-window support
Another recent development that the Windows 365 community discovered is that Teams Multi-window support and Call Me are now generally available on Windows 365. With Multi-window support, you can now pop out chats, meetings, calls, or documents into separate windows. I’m sure most of us can agree this will help to create a less cluttered work environment enabling you to work more efficiently.
The new update is going to significantly enhance the user experience. The Multi-window support allows users to view full-size, separate windows for meetings or calls as well as the main Teams client during a Teams meeting.
This means that you no longer have the meeting window minimized to the corner of the screen. Furthermore, by leveraging the Call Me feature you can now transfer Teams calls to your phone over a PTSN network.
Custom device images
This is something that interests a lot of people out there and it’s possible to do on Windows 365 Enterprise. You can put your desired custom device image into your Azure subscription and then use it for provisioning Cloud PCs. The image can be obtained from Azure Marketplace gallery images or alternatively, you can create your own custom managed image. To upload the custom image to the Windows 365 service, you follow the steps below:
- Sign in to the Microsoft Endpoint Manager admin center.
- Navigate to Devices > Windows 365 > Custom images > Add.
- In the Add image pane, you’ll need to provide details about the image name and version, subscription, and source image.
- Then you simply select Add to add the image to your device image list.
Earlier this year, Microsoft announced another great update that can improve end-user comfort and potentially productivity levels. Setting up that localized Windows experience can now be done by configuring a provisioning policy or creating a custom device image.
The objective is to enable you to configure a Language & Region pack that can be installed on the Cloud PCs during provisioning when you are creating your provisioning policy.
At present, there are 38 languages available and Microsoft will allow you to change the configured language for already existing provisioning policies and subsequently reprovision any desired Cloud PCs.
Resolving various challenges with Windows 365
There several issues that one can come across during the use of the Windows 365 Cloud PC. Fortunately though, Microsoft provides a troubleshooting page that can help you to deal with various issues.
So if you’re facing connection errors, audio and visual problems, network issues, or any other challenges then the troubleshooting page can provide potential solutions.
And if you are encountering problems with app compatibility then Microsoft offers you App Assure for that. With this service, you’ll get assistance for remediating issues with your ISV, line-of-business, and Microsoft-developed apps at no extra cost.
Wrap Up about Windows 365 and its usefulness today
Cloud-based solutions are here to stay and they are providing us with some incredible new ways of modifying our work environments. Over the last year, the Windows 365 Cloud PC has given us a great example of what migrating to the cloud can look like.
The agility that the service provides in addition to the high level security protocols mean that organizations can redesign their workspaces to suit the needs of a modern, hybrid workforce. And the Windows 365 tech community platform plays an important role in all of this.
We can find all the latest Windows 365 updates that we need as well as get answers to any enquiries that we may have. That way, we can take full advantage of the capabilities that the Cloud PC has to offer.