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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ): Windows 365 Cloud PC

Here are some of the common questions we have seen and heard from partners and customers surrounding the recently-released Windows 365 Cloud PC from Microsoft. If you have other questions you’re wanting to know, please comment below and we will update this post.

What is Windows 365 Cloud PC? 

Cloud PC is a Microsoft 365 subscription-based service where you pay a fixed price per month for a dedicated, personal desktop

Is Windows 365 replacing Azure Virtual Desktop? 

No, Windows 365 Cloud PC is a new service and is complementary to Azure Virtual Desktop.

What is the biggest difference between Windows 365 and Azure Virtual Desktop? 

Windows 365 Cloud PC is a fixed-price monthly subscription service with a single-user desktop assigned to each user and is part of Microsoft 365 suite. Azure Virtual Desktop is a consumption-based service where you only pay for what is used. AVD offers personal and pooled desktops as well as RemoteApps, while Windows 365 is all about persistent single-user desktops.

CHECK OUT THIS ARTICLE ON MORE DIFFERENCES IN GREATER DETAIL.

Will Nerdio Manager support Windows 365? 

Yes, Nerdio Manager for MSP and Nerdio Manager for Enterprise support Windows 365 from day one.

Will I be able to use both Windows 365 and Azure Virtual Desktop with Nerdio Manager? 

Yes, you can deploy and manage both Windows 365 and Azure Virtual Desktop in Nerdio Manager. This gives you the flexibility to choose the virtual desktop solution that makes sense for your use case. You can even manage both AVD and Windows 365 from the same Nerdio Manager console.

What advantages do I have when using Nerdio Manager to manage Windows 365 as opposed to native Microsoft tools? 

Existing Nerdio customers are able to manage AVD and Windows 365 in the same console. We also make it easy to deploy Windows 365 by enabling you to create provisioning policies, network connections, and user settings as well as manage your images, restart, and re-provision Windows 365 – all within the familiar Nerdio console.

What type of users would benefit from Windows 365? 

If your users want dedicated performance delivered by single-user desktops, then Windows 365 may be the product for them. Windows 365 licenses are fixed price and you don’t need to worry about auto-scaling.

How many Windows 365 versions are there? 

There are 2 versions of Windows 365: 1. Enterprise – designed for enterprise and SMB customers and managed through Microsoft Endpoint Manager. 2. Business – designed for very small businesses and managed directly by the desktop’s end user.

What are the minimum requirements for the Enterprise Cloud PCs? 

The requirement is somewhat similar to Azure Virtual Desktop. At a minimum, you need an Azure subscription, VNETs configured with communication to Active Directory and Azure AD Hybrid Join Enabled, and, of course, a fully configured Microsoft Endpoint Manager environment.

What are the requirements for Business Cloud PCs? 

There are no Azure or identity requirements. To set up a Business Cloud PCs, you just need to assign a Business Cloud PC license in the Microsoft 365 Admin Portal and the new desktop will be provisioned for the user.

Is Azure Active Directory Domain Services supported? 

Azure Active Directory Domain Services is not supported with Enterprise Cloud PCs.

What do I need to do if I only have Azure Active Directory Domain Services? 

You will need to migrate all your users from your Azure Active Directory Domain Services to a full Active Directory domain and configure Hybrid AD Join. Azure AD Join will be supported in the future.

Will my Windows 365 Cloud PC be shared with other users? 

With Windows 365, you are assigned to your own personal desktop, so you are guaranteed performance and availability. With Azure Virtual Desktop, you have the option to run multi-session desktops where multiple users can use the same VM and same on infrastructure costs.

Do I need a profile management solution like FSLogix for Windows 365? 

No. Windows 365, by default, uses a local profile and does not need an FSLogix since you always log into the same VM. The profiles are stored on the C: drive and should be backed up.

Can I use my own custom image in Windows 365 Cloud PC? 

Yes, with Enterprise Cloud PCs you can use a custom image that you upload, and you can also use an image created using Nerdio Manager. With Business Cloud PCs, custom images are not supported and you must use an Azure Gallery Windows 10/11 image.

Does Windows 365 need a separate license? 

Yes, it does. You assign a Windows 365 license on a per-user basis via the Microsoft 365 Admin Portal.

How do I connect to my Windows 365 desktop? 

You connect the same way that you do with your existing AVD Desktop. You can use the Remote Desktop Client or a web portal (https://cloudpc.microsoft.com).

How can I integrate Windows 365 into my existing environment? 

With Enterprise Cloud PCs, Microsoft manages the Cloud PC VM and OS disk resources. However, the virtual NIC is injected into your own VNET which gives you connectivity to your existing resources like file servers, Active Directory, and application servers. When you configure the Cloud PC provisioning policy, you select which VNET to use for the provisioning of the VMs. With Business Cloud PCs, Microsoft fully controls the compute and networking and you cannot connect the desktops to your own network.

If I am using Windows 365 Enterprise, am I still responsible for configuring identity and networking? 

Yes, you will need to configure Active Directory and any network configurations in Azure (i.e., VPNs/VNETS/Azure Firewalls, etc.)

How do I provision a Windows 365 Cloud PC for my users? 

There are two different methods. For the Enterprise, you need to configure a provisioning policy that associates the network connection and a desktop image. You then assign an Azure AD Security group to that policy and anybody who is added to that security group will automatically get a Cloud PC if they have a Cloud PC license assigned. The provisioning of the VM is performed by Microsoft Endpoint Manager. This can be performed via the Nerdio console or Microsoft Endpoint Manager console. With Business Cloud PC, provisioning happens automatically as soon as a license is assigned to a user via the Microsoft 365 Admin portal.

Can I use Windows 10 EVD multi-session with my Windows 365 Cloud PC? 

No, Windows 365 is Windows 10 or 11 Enterprise single session only.

How can I install software into my Windows 365 image? 

With Windows 365 Enterprise, you can create an image using Nerdio Manager with all software pre-installed. Alternatively, you can create a custom image in the Azure portal or use Microsoft Endpoint Manager to deploy software onto the Windows 365 Cloud PCs. With Windows 365 Business, custom images are not available. You must use the Azure Marketplace images and install any software manually.

How do I control Windows Updates on my Windows 365 Cloud PCs? 

Windows updates for Enterprise are to be deployed via Microsoft Endpoint Manager or manual methods.

How do I monitor my Windows 365 Cloud PCs? 

Enterprise Cloud PCs can be monitored via Endpoint Analytics.

If I need advanced monitoring of my environment, what are the options? 

If you need advanced monitoring, then you can use Azure Virtual Desktop with Azure Log Analytics and Azure Insights to create custom dashboards.

If I am using an Enterprise Cloud PC what costs am I responsible for? 

With the Enterprise Cloud PC, you still pay for networking costs as all traffic passes through your VNET.

If I am using a Business Cloud PC, what costs am I responsible for? 

With Business Cloud PC, you only pay for the license. Compute, storage, and networking managed by Microsoft, and you are not responsible for the costs.

Do I need to use a separate client with Windows 365? 

No. Windows 365 uses the existing Azure Virtual Desktop brokering system so you can use the Remote Desktop app or web portal at https://cloudpc.microsoft.com.

What licenses do I need for Windows 365? 

To use Windows 365 Cloud PC, you need a Windows 10 Enterprise subscription; the same as AVD. You need to purchase a license for Windows 365 via Microsoft 365. If you are using Windows 365 Enterprise, you also need an Intune license, which you can get as part of 365 E5/E5 or Business Premium.

What Nerdio licenses will I need for Windows 365? 

You will still need to Nerdio license if the Windows 365 Cloud PCs are to be managed via Nerdio. The pricing and license type will depend on whether you are using Nerdio Manager for MSP or Nerdio Manager for Enterprise.

YOU CAN FIND PRICING INFORMATION HERE.

What different Cloud PC SKUs are available? 

There are 12 Cloud PC sizes ranging from 1 vCPU to 8 vCPUs, 2 GB to 32 GB of RAM, and 64 GB to 512 GB of storage.

Is it cheaper or more expensive to run Windows 365 compared to AVD with Nerdio Manager? 

It depends on the usage of the environment. Windows 365 is a per-named-user licensing model, so you pay for the license whether you use it or not. Using Nerdio and Azure Virtual Desktop, you’ll only pay for what you actually use.

In what scenario would it make sense to use Windows 365? 

When your users need dedicated, persistent desktops and you’re already licensing and using Microsoft Endpoint Manager to manage your existing desktops, then Windows 365 is a clear choice.

AVD MANAGEMENT

Multi-Cloud and On-Premises Deployment with Azure Stack HCI (Coming Soon)

Deploy Azure Virtual Desktop in Azure and extend the session host VM placement to on-premises and other cloud using Azure Stack HCI. Nerdio Manager automates deployment of session hosts, AVD agent installation, and full integration into the AVD deployment in Azure.

Create a brand new Azure Virtual Desktop environment or allow Nerdio Manager to discover an existing deployment, connecting to existing resources, and manage them.

Deploy Nerdio Manager from Azure Marketplace and configure a new AVD environment with an easy to follow, step-by-step configuration wizard. First group of users can access their AVD desktop in less than 2 hours.

Service providers, system integrators, and consultants can leverage Nerdio Manager’s scripted AVD deployment template. Create complete environments with desktop images, host pools, and auto-scaling in minutes.

Create and manage AVD environments that span Azure regions and subscriptions. Quickly link Vnets and resource groups and manage AVD deployments world-wide from unified portal.

Link multiple Azure tenants under the same Nerdio Manager instance and manage AVD deployments that span Azure AD tenants. User identities and session host VMs can run in separate tenants for maximum flexibilty and security.

Deploy and manage AVD environments that span across sovereign Azure Clouds. Cross-sovereign cloud support allows identity (e.g. users and groups) to be in one Azure Cloud, while session host VMs are in another Azure Cloud.

Management of workspaces, host pools, app groups, RemoteApps & custom RDP settings

Administer every aspect of AVD with Nerdio Manager including workspaces, host pools, application groups, RemoteApp publishing, RDP properties, session time limits, FSLogix, and much, much more. Every Azure service that AVD relies on can be managed with Nerdio Manager.

Deploy and manage AVD session host VMs. Hosts can be created manually or with auto-scaling, deleted on-demand or on a schedule, re-imaged to apply updates, run a scripted action, resized, put into or taken out of drain mode, and more.

Manage user sessions across the entire AVD environment, within a workspace, host pool or on a single host. Monitor session status, disconnect or log off the user, shadow or remote control to provide support, or send user an on-screen message.

End users have the ability to log into Nerdio Manager with their Azure AD credentials and manage their own session, restart their desktop VM, or start a session host if none are started in a host pool. (Ability to resize and re-image own desktop is coming soon.)

Create, link, and manage Azure Files shares including AD domain join. Synchronize Azure Files permissions with host pools, configure quotas, and enable SMB multi-channel. Manage file lock handles and configure Azure Files auto-scaling to increase quota as needed.

Create, link, and manage Azure NetApp Files accounts, capacity pools and volumes. Configure provisioned volume size, monitor usage, and use auto-scaling to automatically adjust volume and capacity pool size to accommodate the needed capacity and latency requirements.

FSLogix configuration can be complex and overwheling, but not with Nerdio Manager. Create one or more FSLogix profiles with all the needed options, point at one or more Azure Files, Azure NetApp Files, or server locations and select from VHDLocations, CloudCache and Azure Blob storage modes.

Multiple identity source profiles can be set up and used automatically on different host pools. Active Directory, Azure AD DS, and Native Azure AD are all supported. Choose the appropriate directory profile when adding a host pool and all VMs will automatically join this directory when being created.

Create a copy of a host pool with all of its settings: auto-scale config, app groups and RemoteApps, MSIX AppAttach, user/group assignments, VM deployment settings, etc. Save time by creating host pool “templates” that can be cloned to any Workspace, Azure region or subscription instead of starting from scratch.

Apply user session time limits at host pool level. Automatically log off disconnected sessions, limit the duration of idle sessions, control empty RemoteApp session behavior and more.

Assign Azure AD users to personal desktops to ensure the user will log into a pre-configured VM. Un-assign personal desktops from users who leave the organization and re-use these VMs for new users.

Pre-configure custom Azure tags for all Azure resources associated with each host pool. Tags can be used for charge-back and cost allocation by host pool.

When creating session hosts using NV-series VMs NVIDIA and AMD GPU drivers are automatically installed.

Move existing host pools from Fall 2019 (Classic) object model to Spring 2020 (ARM) object model. Choose to whether to move or copy user assignments. Existing session hosts are automatically migrated or new ones can be created in the ARM host pool.

Automatically enable and configure AVD integration with Azure monitor. Zero configuration required. Azure Monitor Insights for AVD can be used instead of or in conjunction with Sepago Monitor.

AVD personal desktops to Windows 365 Cloud PC migration (Coming Soon)

Migrate users from AVD personal desktops to Windows 365 Enterprise Cloud PCs using an existing image and user assignment. (Coming soon)

WINDOWS 365 ENTERPRISE MANAGEMENT

Cloud PC License Usage Optimization (Coming Soon)

Cloud PC device lifecycle management

Cloud PC user group assignment

Intune primary user management on Cloud PCs

Migrate AVD personal desktops to Cloud PCs (Coming Soon)

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