Last month, the company opened up Windows 11 cloud PCs to Windows 365 Enterprise customers (with at least 300 deployments), but businesses of all sizes can now spin up Windows 11 desktops via the virtualization service.
At its annual Ignite conference, Microsoft explained that host devices will not be required to adhere to the strict Windows 11 system requirements, which will be fulfilled instead by a virtual TPM (vTPM) chip built into Windows 365 itself.
Windows 11 is now supported across all virtual desktop configurations with at least 2 vCPUs and 4GB of RAM, of which there are eleven in total. The cheapest - with 2 vCPUs, 4GB RAM and 64GB cloud storage - is available for $28.00/£23.90 per month.
Windows 11 cloud PCs
Microsoft first unveiled Windows 365 in the summer, promising customers “a new way to experience Windows 10 or Windows 11”.
The virtualization service allows users to stream a Windows 10 or 11 desktop to any of their devices and from any location, effectively turning the host device into a thin client. Instead of hosting the operating system and applications locally, using up both storage and compute, Windows 365 lets users stream their apps, data and settings to any of their devices - including those that run on macOS, Linux and Android.
According to Microsoft, the service opens up a host of new opportunities for businesses, from a cost, administration and productivity perspective. And while no consumer-focused use cases have been announced, we wouldn’t be surprised if something is in the pipeline.
Although Windows 365 didn’t support Windows 11 cloud PCs at launch, customers will now be able to take advantage of the upgrades on offer with the new Microsoft OS, as well as the flexibility afforded by the PC-as-a-service model.
In addition to provisioning brand new Windows 11 cloud PCs, administrators can also upgrade existing Windows 10-based deployments by changing the gallery image in Microsoft Endpoint Manager and triggering a reprovision.
To check whether existing cloud PC deployments are compatible with Windows 11, administrators can consult the Work from anywhere dashboard in Endpoint Analytics.
For companies confused by Microsoft's messaging around Windows 11 system requirements, or those whose hardware does not meet the grade, Windows 365 could prove a blessing.