Microsoft adds Azure AD Join to Windows 365 Cloud PC

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Fancy some Windows 365 Cloud PC in your life, but less than keen on throwing yourself into the world of Azure infrastructure? Microsoft has added AD Join as a Cloud PC join type option.

Exactly why you'd want a Cloud PC is entirely different matter. We weren't impressed with what we saw last year as it wasn't the snappiest experience on Earth (or in the cloud). However, things have moved on a bit since, and the option is undeniably convenient for provisioning kit without having to worry about all that physical nonsense.

To that end, Microsoft is making things easier for administrators via a public preview and its Azure AD Join tech. Previously, users needed a full-on Azure subscription to provision Cloud PCs.

Now it's a simple case of selecting Azure AD Join, choosing the Microsoft Hosted Network along with an appropriate region during provisioning policy creation before catapulting users cloudwards.

This is assuming you're a user of Windows 365 Enterprise edition, Microsoft's take on desktop-as-a-service.

Azure AD Join allows administrators to join devices directly to Azure AD without the need to join to on-premises Active Directory. The aim is to nudge users toward a cloud-first model and, as such, it's a little surprising it has taken this long for AD Join to turn up as a Cloud PC join type option.

Also hitting public preview is the ability to select from one of 38 language packs to be installed on the Cloud PC during provisioning, making life easier for admins dealing with users scattered around the world.

Both will make life easier for customers too. Microsoft noted that ditching the Azure subscription requirement via Azure AD Join was "by far the most requested feature since Windows 365 reached general availability."

Microsoft continues to face stiff competition in the desktop-as-a-service arena, not least from the likes of Citrix and former Dell darling VMware.

While the tweaks probably won't win over existing customers of its rivals, making things a bit easier in the Windows 365 world might keep administrator eyes fixed on Redmond. ®


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