Deploying Windows 365 and Integrating with Azure Network Connection: A Step-by-Step Guide
In today’s fast-paced digital era, the efficiency of cloud technology is reshaping the way businesses operate, and Microsoft’s Windows 365 Cloud PC stands at the forefront of this revolution. This solution promises the future today: a powerful, scalable, and secure desktop experience accessible from virtually anywhere. But with such groundbreaking technology, how do you ensure a smooth integration into existing infrastructures?
In this article, we’ll dive deep into the world of Windows 365 Cloud PC. We’ll guide you step-by-step through the intricacies of setting it up, ensuring that by the end, you’ll have a clear grasp of how to seamlessly link it with your Azure Virtual Network. Whether you’re a seasoned IT professional or just diving into the vast ocean of cloud computing, this guide aims to simplify the complexities, making the setup process both comprehensive and comprehensible.
So, buckle up as we embark on this cloud journey, demystifying the wonders of Windows 365 and ensuring your transition into the cloud is as smooth as sailing on a calm day. 🌤️🌐
Let’s jump in
Proceed to the Microsoft Intune administrative center. Once there, navigate through the following path: Click on ‘Devices’, then choose ‘Windows 365’, and finally, select the ‘Azure network connection’ option.
Based on the specific Azure Networking connection (ANC) you aim to establish, you have a couple of choices:
- Microsoft Entra Join
- Hybrid Microsoft Entra Join
Hit the “+ Create” button to pick your desired ANC type.
In the context of this article, I’ll be choosing the “Microsoft Entra Join” option.
When you reach the ‘Create Connection’ page, you’ll need to furnish the following details:
- Connection Name
- Your Subscription
- Specify the Resource Group Name or Opt to Create a New Resource Group
- Choose the Virtual Network
- Select the Subnet
On the subsequent page, you’ll have the opportunity to scrutinize the configuration prior to finalizing its creation.
After selecting “Review + create”, you’ll be taken to the Azure network connection page. From there, you can track the progress of the Virtual Network connection’s establishment.
After waiting for a few minutes, hit the refresh button. You should then observe that the Virtual network displays a status indicating “Checks Successful.”
With our Windows 365 networking component in place, it’s time to craft a provisioning policy. Provisioning policies play a pivotal role in the creation and assignment of Cloud PCs to users. These policies encapsulate vital provisioning guidelines and configurations, empowering the Windows 365 service to tailor-make and set up the optimal Cloud PCs for your user base. Once these provisioning policies are instituted and mapped to either Azure AD user security groups or Microsoft 365 Groups, the Windows 365 service undertakes the following:
- Verifies the pertinent licenses for every user.
- Adapts the Cloud PCs based on the policies.
To initiate the Provisioning Policy setup, head over to the Microsoft Intune admin center. From there, follow the path: ‘Devices’ > ‘Windows 365’ > ‘Provisioning Policies’ and then click on ‘Create policy’.
On the new Policy page, provide the following information.
- License type, set to Enterprise, if you are provision for Frontline users select Frontline.
In the ‘Join type details’ section, you’ll be prompted to choose the Entra Join type and specify the network.
Under ‘Join type’, opt for “Microsoft Entra Join”. In the network segment, choose “Azure network connection” and pick the VNET you set up in the previous steps.”
After finalizing the previous choices, press ‘Next’. On the following page, you’re tasked with selecting a gallery image that will be deployed through this provisioning policy. The pre-selected image is “Windows 11 Enterprise + Microsoft 365 Apps 22H2”.
If you’re interested in using a custom image, click on the drop-down menu and choose “Custom Image”. Note that this guide won’t cover that aspect. To see other available image options, click on “Select” to open the Image gallery. There, you’ll find several alternatives to choose from.
After choosing your desired image, click ‘Next’ to proceed. On the following page, you’ll be prompted to configure Windows Settings, specifically settings like Language & Region, and the option to Apply a device name template.
In the ‘Additional Services’ section, you have the option to add ‘Windows Autopatch’ as an extra service for all the Cloud PCs that will be deployed through this provisioning policy. I will select “Windows Autopatch” and select Next.
In the following section, choose the groups with users you intend to equip with Cloud PCs. Remember, Cloud PCs will be allocated solely to users holding Windows 365 licenses and click Next.
At the concluding page, you can inspect the chosen configuration before hitting the ‘create’ button.
Once you click ‘create’, you’ll be navigated back to the Provisioning policies page.
Next, let’s delve into crafting user settings for the Windows 365 Cloud PCs. Through the User settings, we can designate a group of users with the capability to reset their Cloud PC, or grant them Local admin privileges on the Cloud PCs.”
Navigate to Microsoft Intune Admin center > Devices > Windows 365 > User settings.
Click on “+Add” to create a new policy.
In this policy, the following settings will be enabled, once done click next.
- Enable local admin.
- Enable users to reset their Cloud PCs
- Allow user to initiate restore service.
- Frequency of restore -points service set to 12 hours.
In the ‘assignment’ section, choose the group that encompasses users who will be granted these permissions and click next.
Finally, review your choices and then press ‘Create’.
Your newly created policy will now be available under the User settings section.
Once the provisioning policy is established and allocated, Windows 365 takes the initiative to set up Cloud PCs, subsequently assigning them to users within the designated groups.
To track the provisioning progress, navigate to ‘All Cloud PCs’. In this section, you’ll notice that users with assigned licenses will automatically have a Cloud PC provisioned for them.
In a few minutes, the provisioning status will transition from ‘provisioning’ to ‘Provisioned’.
How do you establish a connection to a Windows 365 Cloud PC?
After a user receives a Windows 365 license, they can navigate to the given URL to access their Cloud PC: https://windows365.microsoft.com/
If users are already logged into a device using their credentials, they’ll be presented with a specific screen. Notably, the provisioning policy can be viewed on the right-hand side. Go ahead and click next.
You’ll be guided through details about what a Cloud PC is and its potential applications.
On the primary page, you’ll observe the Cloud PC allocated to you. You have the option to launch it within the browser or,
by using the drop-down menu, choose to open it in the Desktop App.
Should you opt to connect via the browser, a new browser tab will emerge, prompting you to specify which features the Cloud PC is allowed to utilize.
Once you’re satisfied with your settings choices, click ‘Connect’, you will then be presented with the sign in page. Provide your username and password.
You’ll encounter the Windows Welcome screen next. The initial sign-in might take a little while, so perhaps it’s a good time for some tea ☕.
Once done, you will see your new Cloud PC desktop.
Let’s explore the ‘Connect in Desktop App’ experience. From the Windows 365 Cloud PC portal, click on the ‘Open in browser’ drop-down and choose ‘Open in desktop app’.
You’ll be greeted with two options: ‘Yes, I want to open in Windows 365’, which requires the installation of the Windows 365 App, or ‘Yes, I want to open in Remote Desktop’, necessitating the installation of the new remote desktop app. For the purpose of this demonstration, we’ll install the Windows 365 App and click Continue.
The Windows 365 app will initiate and ask you to enter your sign-in credentials.
Your Cloud PC will start with a bar located at the top right-hand corner, allowing you to exit the full-screen mode if desired.
Windows 365 Cloud PC has truly revolutionized the way we think about and access our digital workspace. With its seamless integration and user-friendly interface, getting started and navigating the platform is made remarkably simple. As we’ve seen in this guide, from setting up the network to the user experience, each step is meticulously designed for efficiency and user convenience.
Stay tuned for our next post, where we will dive deeper into the realm of Cloud PC management using Microsoft Intune. We’ll explore advanced features, strategies, and tips to ensure you’re maximizing the potential of your Cloud PC environment. Thanks for joining us on this journey, and we look forward to guiding you further in the world of Windows 365!