Microsoft is putting Windows in the cloud, but not exactly as how speculations over the past few months seemed to point at a cloud-based version of Windows 10. Microsoft have announced the Windows 365 as a service, which will allow businesses and enterprises to access Cloud PCs from any supported web browser and stream a version of Windows 10 or Windows 11 directly within the browser. If you are thinking virtualization at this stage, you’re on the right track—this is an evolution of similar solutions that Microsoft was already offering with Azure virtual Desktop, for instance, for years now. Windows 365 will only be available for business users at this time, who can buy this for their employees to access apps and data without needing a Windows PC of their own. This will go Live on August 2 and subscription pricing details are awaited.
There will be two versions of Windows 365—these will be Windows 365 Business and Windows 365 Enterprise. Windows 365, Microsoft says, will provide the full Windows experience which includes access to apps, data and settings. All this will be available from the cloud. Windows 11 will be accessible once it releases later this year. “In this new world of Windows 365, remote workers flip the lid on their laptop, bootup the family workstation or clip a keyboard onto a tablet, launch a native app or modern web browser and login to their Windows 365 account. From there, their Cloud PC appears with their background, apps, settings and content just as they left it when they last were last there – in the office, at home or a coffee shop,” is how Microsoft described Windows 365. This will be like your Windows 10 PC that you’ve used till now, except that the operating system and all your data as well as apps will reside in the cloud, for access via the web browser.
Windows 365 pricing isn’t announced just yet, but the subscription plans should become clearer closer to launch. “For IT, we built Windows 365 to be consistent with how you manage your physical devices now. Your Cloud PCs show up right alongside your physical devices in Microsoft Endpoint Manager, and you can apply management and security policies to them just as you do to all your other devices,” says Wangui McKelvey, General Manager, Microsoft 365. A cloud PC that you’ll access Windows 365 on must have a single CPU, 2GB RAM and 64GB storage as a minimum requirement, and this can be configured all the way to eight CPUs, 32GB RAM and 512GB storage. It is expected that Windows 365 will work with all modern web browsers, including Microsoft Edge, Google Chrome, Firefox, Apple Safari, Opera and Vivaldi.