Microsoft announced Windows 365 back in July, and it hit general availability in August. The company’s virtualized cloud OS offering enables organizations to stream from Windows hosted on the Microsoft Cloud. This is a full Windows experience for each employee with personalized settings, apps, and data. You do not need any special hardware to run it, and just have to choose from the multiple pricing tiers ranging from $20 all the way up to $162 – which nets you a Cloud PC with 8 vCPUs, 32GB of RAM, and 512GB of storage. With the staggered rollout of Windows 11 beginning just a few hours ago (check out our review here), Microsoft has announced that Cloud PCs running the OS are now available in its Windows 365 Enterprise offering too.
For the uninitiated, Windows 365 is offered in two flavors: Business and Enterprise. The former is meant for smaller organizations with less than 300 employees who want a simplified way to deploy Cloud PCs. Meanwhile, Enterprise licenses are for bigger organizations who want to manage deployments with Microsoft Endpoint Manager and take advantage of integrations with other Microsoft services such as Azure. Windows 11 Cloud PCs are now available in this Enterprise offering.
Since Windows 11 is supported on machines that have a 2 vCPUs/4GB RAM configuration as the minimum, the OS will not appear in the deployment drop-downs for less powerful machines. Microsoft has noted that organizations can differentiate between Windows 10 and Windows 11 deployments through the different wallpapers that are used in the thumbnail on the dedicated portal, as can be seen in the image above.
As we already know, Windows 11 features a bunch of security enhancements that Microsoft is touting for organizations considering spinning up new Cloud PCs. The pre-installed applications that come with a new Windows 11 Cloud PC are the same as those included in Windows 10. Customers can also choose to spin up custom Windows 11 images, if required. Organizations also have the option to upgrade existing Cloud PCs to Windows 11 by changing the gallery image or performing an in-place upgrade. Microsoft further explained that:
If you want to support in-place upgrades from Windows 10 to Windows 11, Cloud PCs need to be turned on the day of October 5th or after. For those organizations that need to re-provision their Cloud PCs, because we leverage OneDrive Known Folder Move as one of the standard services, the process will be seamless. Your end users’ personal data is automatically backed-up and will be restored after the re-provisioning process. Simply ensure that they are assigned a OneDrive license.
You can detect whether a Cloud PC is ready for Windows 11 in-place upgrades via the new Work from anywhere (preview) dashboard in Endpoint Analytics. If your Cloud PCs show a Windows 11 readiness status of “Capable,” you can perform an in-place upgrade.
It is important to note that only organizations with a Windows 365 Enterprise license can officially provision Windows 11 Cloud PCs. Support for Business customers is coming in the next few weeks, along with a new admin and management console.