Back in July 2021, Microsoft announced Windows 365 Cloud PC, its virtualized cloud OS offering. The service became generally available in the following month, and in fact, it was so popular that Microsoft had to temporarily pause free trials to balance the load on its cloud infrastructure.
For those unaware, Windows 365 allows 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 starting from $20.
At its Windows hybrid work event today, Microsoft has unveiled a bunch of new ways through which it is bridging the gap between local and cloud environments in Windows 365.
Starting us off, we have Windows 365 Boot which will enable workers to log in to their Cloud PC and configure it as the primary experience on that machine. Microsoft says that this capability "allows different users to log in directly to their own personal and secure Windows 365 Cloud PC with their credentials."
Next up, we have Windows 365 Switch. As the name suggests, this will enable users to quickly switch between local and cloud environments through keyboard shortcuts, mouse-clicks, or swipe gestures. Microsoft says that this process will be as seamless as switching between different desktops using Task Switcher.
Another important capability coming to the service is Windows 365 Offline. This will allow users to continue working in the Cloud PC even if they get disconnected from the internet. As soon as internet connectivity is restored, the Cloud PC and Windows 365 service will immediately sync without any loss in progress.
Finally, Microsoft is also working on a new Windows 365 app which will act as a pathway to access your Cloud PC, directly from the Start menu or the Taskbar. IT admins will also be able to enforce Azure AD Join on Cloud PCs from May 2022.
All of these features are coming soon to Windows 365 and Microsoft Executive Vice President and Chief Product Officer Panos Panay has emphasized that "they are just the beginning of our Windows and Microsoft cloud integration".