Microsoft’s “cloud PC” with Windows 11 Windows 365 Business – New Features for SMBs and Hybrid Work
Microsoft also offers its Windows 365 cloud PC in a professional version with Windows 11. With the Enterprise version, this has been possible for a long time. Users can switch between their Windows 10 and Windows 11 PCs.
Microsoft’s cloud PC, called Windows 365, provides access to a corporate desktop from almost anywhere and from a variety of devices. The cloud PC is therefore ideal for the home office and if users need to have access to the same applications and the same interface everywhere. With the expanded support for Windows 11, Microsoft is expanding Windows 365 management options even further. To that end, there is a new “Windows 365 Administrator” role when managing roles in Microsoft 365. Users with this role are authorized to assign licenses and perform administrative tasks on cloud PCs in the organization.
With support for Windows 11 in Windows 365, it’s still possible to work with Windows 10 in parallel. Users can also be assigned multiple Cloud PCs. The installed operating system can be seen in the description of the PCs.
Windows 365 and Windows 11
In addition to the Enterprise version, it is also possible to create cloud PCs with Windows 11 in the professional version of Windows 365. Users can visit the website windows365.microsoft.com also switch between different operating systems if multiple PCs have been assigned to them. The operating system used is visible on the PC thumbnail.
Before deploying a cloud PC, Windows 365 administrators still need to determine which operating system should be installed by default on cloud PCs. The settings for this can be found in the new portal administration functions.
Anyone can be their own admin
The “Your organization’s Cloud PCs” menu item is available in the Windows 365 admin portal, also accessible via windows365.microsoft.com. Allows users with the Windows 365 Administrator management role to perform management tasks for the organization’s Cloud PCs. In addition to assigning licenses and adding users, it is also possible to reset passwords here.
Users with this role do not need any other role to manage Windows 365. Simply adding to this role users can perform administration tasks for Windows 365 users. In turn, if the users are local administrators on their own cloud PC, they are only allowed to perform administrative tasks for their own PC, but not to manage Windows 365 licenses in the subscription.
Use Windows 11 as system
In the new Windows 365 administration features, the “Update organization settings” menu item is also available when a user who is a member of the “Windows 365 administrator” group logs into the portal. Here, for example, it can be specified that users of cloud PCs must have local administrator rights. This is not the case by default.
Switching to this only makes sense if the applications on the cloud PC require it. In addition, under “Operating system” it can be specified that new cloud PCs are created with Windows 11 instead of Windows 10. Microsoft also shows these innovations in a video on the subject.
Configure local administrator rights for users
Users and environment administrators can also check the status of users’ cloud PCs in the user account settings in the Microsoft 365 admin center or in the Windows 365 portal under “Devices”. Here you can also control that a single user has local administrator rights on their cloud PC. To do this, the “Local administrator” option must be set under “Change account type”. There are also options to control cloud PCs. Admins can restart users’ cloud PCs directly from the Microsoft 365 admin center.
Microsoft 365 Lighthouse and Graph APIs
Another novelty with the integration of Windows 11 in Windows 365, the connection of Windows 365 to the “Microsoft 365 Lighthouse” project. This is a portal where managed service providers (MSPs) can back up device and user data. The main focus is on Microsoft 365 services. Lighthouse’s recommendations and functions are aimed primarily at small businesses (SMBs).
Microsoft Lighthouse is included in Microsoft 365 E3 and Microsoft 365 Business Premium subscriptions. To use the portal, there are requirements described by Microsoft in the Lighthouse documentation. Microsoft describes how to configure the service in the Lighthouse FAQ.