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Windows 10 / Windows 7

Microsoft Announces Its Next Windows Desktop – in the Cloud

Microsoft Announces Its Next Windows Desktop – in the Cloud

Many people wonder where Windows will go next. Those in attendance for the opening keynote at Microsoft Ignite 2018, might have wondered where any news about Windows desktop would come in.  Technically, it didn’t.

Keynotes are supposed to be visionary speeches. But, when a vendor owns the conference, it becomes a tell-tale sign of where the company wants to herd its customers next so that it can optimize its revenue base for the future. So, the bigger news in a vendor keynote is what is NOT mentioned. Microsoft’s CEO, Satya Nadella, used today’s keynote to talk about the cloud and AI.

What was not mentioned during the opening keynote was Windows on PCs. However, Windows hasn’t been left out entirely from Ignite news. Instead, Windows was given new life – but in the cloud.

Microsoft today has unveiled its next vision of a desktop operating system. Called Windows Virtual Desktop, Microsoft will enable its customers (those subscribed to its new Microsoft 365 service) to run Windows virtual instances in Azure. Essentially, you bring the device – it doesn’t matter what device – and run Windows and Windows apps in a web browser. As we’ve found through recent testing and research, the underlying OS is irrelevant. In fact, we’re working up a full series on switching from Windows 10 to ChromeOS. Its become very clear that needing Windows to function is no longer a requirement and is actually a cost savings in itself. And, with this new service, you would only need to spin up a Windows instance when you need it – which is getting rarer and rarer. And, it possible that Microsoft is starting to realize it, too.

Incidentally, this is not new. Amazon has been providing this feature for a while with its AWS services. But, Microsoft provides the following bullet points to suggest it does it better:

  • The only service to enable a multi-user Windows 10 experience, including compatibility with Microsoft Store and existing Windows line-of-business apps while delivering cost advantages previously only possible with server-based virtualization.
  • The best service to virtualize Office 365 ProPlus running in multi-user virtual scenarios. Microsoft Office is the most virtualized app used, and we are committed to deliver the best possible virtual experience. In the months ahead, we will have more to share on our investments in the Office 365 virtualized experience for the Windows Virtual Desktop service.
  • The only service to provide Windows 7 virtual desktop with free Extended Security Updates, giving you more options to support legacy apps while you transition to Windows 10.
  • The most scalable service to deploy and manage Windows virtual machines, using Azure for compute, storage, rich diagnostics, advanced networking, connection brokering, and gateway. You no longer need to host, install, configure, and manage these components yourself—so you can deploy and scale in minutes.
  • The most flexible service allowing you to virtualize both desktops and apps, meaning you can choose between providing your users the entire desktop experience or delivering only specific apps. When you deliver virtual apps to a Windows 10 endpoint, they are integrated seamlessly into the user experience.
  • Deeply integrated with the security and management of Microsoft 365. The Microsoft 365 conditional access, data loss prevention, and integrated management are natively built in—providing the most secure and simplest solution for protecting and managing all your apps and data.


A public preview is in the works and expected to launch later this year. Microsoft has made no definite schedule. It will be available to Windows 10 Enterprise and Windows 10 Education customers.


Windows Virtual Desktop web site

Sign-up to participate in the preview (when available)

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