So you have decided to get going with Windows 365 Enterprise? There are a few steps we need to take care of before you can start consuming the future!
What you will need:
- Windows 365 licenses
- Microsoft Endpoint Manager
- Microsoft 365 licenses of some sort
- An Azure subscription if you want to use an Azure V-net and not the Microsoft hosted network – optional
Windows 365 is a great way to get started with virtual clients, and it’s actually pretty simple to get going and administrate compared to Azure Virtual Desktop.
Windows 365 licenses
The first thing you need to take care of is obtaining Windows 365 licenses through your licensing partner or where you usually get your licenses. I will leave that one up to you!
There are several different licenses for Windows 365, and there is also a business version that I will not cover in this blog post.
Windows 365 licensing is based on what “size” of a machine you want, basically how many CPUs, the amount of RAM memory, and disk size. As I’m writing this, there are 3 different SKUs of CPUs you can select from (2, 4, and 8). In each SKU of CPUs, there are a few different options in RAM memory and disk size as you can see in the picture below. There is also actually a 1 vCPU version, but that one does not support Windows 11 so I wouldn’t recommend getting that one.
Selecting the correct size of the machine might be a little bit tricky, but Microsoft has actually created a simple cheat sheet you can use to get a feeling of what license to buy which you can find here Windows 365 size recommendations | Microsoft Docs. It’s actually a great guide to get a sense of what size to choose.
One great thing with Windows 365 is that you can upgrade the machines by upgrading the license assigned to the user. However, this does not work if you are using group-based licensing to assign licenses.
Licenses are assigned the same way you assign other Microsoft 365 licenses, either through the Microsoft 365 Admin center or the Azure AD, I will cover this further down
Microsoft Endpoint Manager setup
In Microsoft Endpoint Manager, navigate to Devices > Windows 365 which has now been enabled for you since you have purchased licenses.
To get going with a really basic setup using Azure AD joined and Microsoft hosted network, you only need to create a Provisioning policy and then you are ready.
Click on the Provisioning policies tab and select “+ Create policy”.
On the General step, give your policy a name and select which join type you want, in this example, I will use the Azure AD join and use a Microsoft Hosted network in Western Europe. Please do notice that Azure AD join is still in preview.
When you press next, you will get to select what image you will use. You can either use a gallery image or a custom image, and I will in this example use a gallery image by selecting Gallery image in the drop-down menu and then pressing select. I then get a list of all the available images in the gallery, and also the recommended size/license for each image. I select the image I want, in this case, the Windows 11 image, and press select followed by next.
The next step is to select the region and language for your machine. The default selection is English (United States). In this example, we will leave that to English and press next.
The next step is to assign this to a group of users. I’ve created an Azure AD group which I will assign this to called Windows 365 user, which I will use for my users located in Western Europe since my provisioning policy is creating a Cloud PC in the Western Europe Azure region.
After pressing next we can now review our settings and press Create.
There are a few ways of assigning licenses to a user, but in this instance, I will do this from within Microsoft Endpoint Manager.
Search and find the user you want to assign a license to by going to Users > All users on the left side navigation three.
When you have found your user, click on their name then select Licenses to see what licenses they have assigned.
By selecting “+ Assignments” we can add or remove licenses from the user. In this case, we want to add our Windows 365 license which you do by checking the checkbox next to the license, then pressing Save.
You have now successfully assigned a Windows 365 license to your user!
Make sure your user is a member of your provisioning policy group which we selected earlier. When you head back to Devices > Windows 365 and select the All Cloud PCs tab you can see that the provisioning process has started.
Assign configuration profiles and compliance policies
While we are waiting for our Cloud PCs to be provisioned, this usually takes a while, we can go ahead and make sure that we are assigning our configuration policies towards the Cloud PCs. We can either create new ones, specifically for the Cloud PCs, or reuse our existing ones. Since in this case, I’m treating a Cloud PC as any other PC, I will reuse the profiles I already have created for my physical PCs.
If you are assigning configuration profiles and compliance policies towards “All devices” you do not need to do anything. If you are using filters, you need to update your filters to also include Windows 365.
The first thing we need to do is to create a device group that dynamically adds our Cloud PCs by going to Groups in the left side menu and creating a new dynamic group.
We want to add a query looking for devices where the Device model contains “Cloud PC Enterprise”.
The query could look like this:
(device.deviceModel -contains "Cloud PC Enterprise")
When you have added your rule. Save the group and let’s head over to Devices > Windows and add that group to our configuration profiles and compliance policies where we target devices. We can also assign any applications which we deploy to devices using this group.
Connect to your Cloud PC
The easiest way to connect to your Cloud PC is to browse to https://windows365.microsoft.com and sign in with your user.
You can either connect to your VDI directly from the browser, which is a pretty cool experience, by clicking “Open in browser” on the Cloud PC.
You can also download the Remote Desktop app and add the Cloud PC in there. There is a link in the Windows 365 portal to download the application and how to add the Cloud PC.