Microsoft’s new cloud PC with Windows 10/11 service potentially offers a way for some Linux users to circumvent what could be the last barrier for businesses to adopt the Linux desktop without leaving must-have Windows applications behind.
But if you lack the backing of a company, for now you can expect Microsoft’s new platform to find it inappropriate. Therefore, personal use of Windows 365 is not a real option for all Linux users.
Windows 365 was released on August 2, 2021 as a software-as-a-service offering that initially objectives commercial and business users.
Microsoft so far is silent about expanding that target user base to non-business users. Linux and Chromebook users looking to pay the monthly subscription price, especially if they have a concert at the home office, could sign up for the Windows 365 streaming service.
Microsoft’s announcement said that Windows PC “is a new way to experience Windows 10 or Windows 11 (when available) through the power of the cloud on all your devices. We believe this will give organizations of all sizes the power, simplicity and security they need to address the changing needs of their workforce as they embrace hybrid work. “
Microsoft just smashed the only reason we couldn’t use the Linux operating system, offered Alina Clark, co-founder and chief marketing officer of CocoDoc.
“It feels like independence. If anything, a large number of Linux users will now be able to enjoy Word and other Microsoft Office tools, which provide the most consistency in that regard, while still enjoying the super-efficient, lightweight sheen of the Linux operating system, “he said. the tech expert and growth manager at LinuxInsider.
Windows Cloud PC could lead to a surge in Linux users, he reasoned, as all those who were prevented from using it due to compatibility issues with Microsoft Office may simply consider switching.
What is the difference?
Windows 365 is not the same product as the free and subscription services that still exist from Microsoft Office and Office.com. The new service is a cloud computing product that costs users a monthly fee. With it, you get a fully functional Windows operating system accessed by streaming the Windows operating system from your cloud PC settings to your local devices.
The difference is that you don’t have to install cloud-delivered Windows software on every Windows computer you use. Instead, you can access a fully functional Windows operating system with full access to any Windows application you use over the Internet instead of installing it on your local hardware. You can stream the same access to all your desktop and mobile devices, including smartphones, Chromebooks, and Linux-based desktops and laptops.
Microsoft’s other Office suite is a web-based platform that only provides Office applications. You cannot use it to run other Microsoft operating systems and Microsoft Windows applications. That’s a fundamental difference that Linux and Chromebook users (and indeed macOS users) need to understand.
This new “Windows as a service” is an option for individuals and businesses who prefer to run Linux on their local computers without configuring a virtual machine to access Microsoft Windows and Windows applications installed within Linux.
That VM option isn’t even fully available on Chromebooks. But just as Chromebook users can run Linux apps, just like Android apps, on a Linux partition within the Chrome operating system, that ability comes to Chromebooks through a similar Windows partition.
Windows 365 will give Microsoft the ability to compete for market share on a wide variety of new devices, according to Devon Fata, CEO of the web design firm. Pixoul. It also positions Windows 365 as a plug-in for those who primarily run Linux or macOS.
“I see this cutting both ways. On the one hand, it will be easier to run Linux and supplement with Windows 365 when necessary. But on the other hand, Windows can now compete with Linux on more platforms, ”he told LinuxInsider.
Quick and easy registration (maybe)
Signing up to subscribe to the Windows 365 cloud service is similar to the process Microsoft uses for its Office.com and Microsoft.com offerings. If you already have a Microsoft business account, you should be able to use your same email address to get started. I have an Outlook.com address on file for my web-based access to other Microsoft products.
My initial efforts were a futile exercise. ECT News Network (the parent company of LinuxInsider) has a Microsoft business account, at least that’s what the sign-up page confirmed when I improvised my user credentials to set up a Windows 365 account.
When I entered my outlook.com address, the Windows 365 sign-up page refused and said I needed to create a new Microsoft account. The automated process had me enter my suggested business company account name, and after several attempts I approved an available username.
The next step automatically put in the required domain name of “.onmicrosoft.com”. That is required for the Windows 365 license. So Microsoft approved my suggested password. I needed to provide a secondary email address to prove my identity with a unique passcode provided.
After that, I was asked to provide my credit card information for monthly billing. An initial free trial period was no longer available. But subscribers can cancel at any time by notifying Microsoft through the administrator’s account manager page.
Clicking the ‘Next’ button at this point loaded the Microsoft 365 page. Cloud-based delivery provided options to add other Microsoft business applications and tools.
Subsequent login attempts begin to display the Windows desktop before jumping to the page load failed screen.
Over the course of several days, two other Windows screens of death appeared. Despite sending copies of multiple screenshots requesting technical support, email responses suggested logging in to submit help requests. I would if I could, Microsoft!
Overall, Microsoft’s latest Windows 365 offering appears to have an identity crisis. A few login attempts led me to my Office.com page or a Microsoft.com page. Some of the emails I received after contacting Microsoft prompted me to reply https://support.office.com/home/contact.
Another answer suggested that I go to https://social.msdn.microsoft.com/Forums/en-US/home to scan the list of problems and solutions. That only added to my frustration. Almost all the entries there referred to other Microsoft products. I didn’t see any tagged with Windows 365.
To add insult to injury, I searched other Microsoft databases for troubleshooting and also general Internet searches. That got similar results without solutions. Again, there was hardly any mention of Windows 365.
Finally, when I was finishing this article on Windows 365 as a non-option for most Linux users, I received an email response from a Microsoft media representative offering a suggestion, but not an actual solution.
“Since your initial access to Windows 365 is through a separate paid subscription / trial, we are unable to verify the status of your Windows 365 environment. We recommend checking out this Tech Community blog post, which provides a detailed guide on how configure Windows 365, “wrote Nick Heinz for Microsoft.
Well, I didn’t sign up for a trial subscription. That option was no longer available for Windows 365. Clicking the link to the Tech Community blog post that Heinz provided only added more insult to injury, as another glitch on Microsoft’s website shows.
“We would also like to remind you that Windows 365 is designed for organizations, so you will need an existing Windows license and a Microsoft 365 Business or Microsoft 365 Enterprise account for Windows 365 to work, as it would with a physical Windows 10 device on your organization. Provisioning can be done in the Microsoft 365 admin center ”, he concluded.
Therein lies the problem, perhaps! My initial registration for Windows 365 took me beyond the admin center page. I have a licensed purchase of Windows 10. I previously signed up for a Microsoft 365 Business account, which I had no problem accessing, but which I will not renew now.
Microsoft’s limitation of Windows 365 to only qualified business accounts is a huge disappointment to would-be Linux users. Being able to migrate to Linux for personal use without leaving the must-have Windows 10/11 apps remains an unfulfilled dream.
Why doesn’t Microsoft want to get more subscription fees from interested Linux users with no commercial affiliations? Or for that matter, non-commercial users of other computer and mobile platforms?
That’s just bad business, Microsoft.
From a Linux user’s perspective, Windows 365 can be a convenient, but expensive, option for streaming the Windows operating system to any of your non-Microsoft devices using the web browser of your choice. But Windows 365 is not an option for personal use for Linux or any other platform without commercial links.