Microsoft Renames Windows Virtual Desktop to Azure Virtual Desktop

Posted on June 7, 2021 by Paul Thurrott in Cloud, Microsoft with 6 Comments

Microsoft announced today that it is renaming Windows Virtual Desktop to Azure Virtual Desktop (AVD) and is adding new capabilities to the service.

“The rebrand to Azure Virtual Desktop represents Microsoft’s expanded vision to become a flexible Azure-based cloud VDI platform for nearly any use case, accessible from [almost] anywhere,” a Microsoft representative told me. “A modern desktop and app virtualization platform needs to be secure, scalable, and easy to manage, while delivering a seamless, high-performance experience to end-users.”

New capabilities coming to Azure Virtual Desktop include:

Enhanced support for Azure Active Directory (AAD). Coming soon in public preview, users will be able to domain join their AVD machines directly to AAD and connect to the virtual machine from any device with basic credentials, which Microsoft says reduces costs and streamlines deployment.

Manage Windows 10 Enterprise multi-session VMs with Microsoft Endpoint Manager. Available now in public preview, users can enroll in Windows 10 Enterprise multi-session AVD virtual machines with Microsoft Intune and manage them in the Microsoft Endpoint Manager admin center.

Quickstart deployment. Coming soon in public preview, customers will be able to set up a full AVD environment in their Azure subscriptions in just a few clicks.

Desktop apps as a service for customers and partners. AVD users will be able to deliver desktop applications “as-a-service” to customers and business partners, and not just employees. To facilitate this usage, Microsoft is now offering a new monthly per-user access pricing option for organizations. “This would enable software vendors to deliver their app as a SaaS solution that can be accessed by their customers without requiring the user to have an eligible Windows license,” Microsoft told me. “In addition to the monthly user price for Azure Virtual Desktop, organizations also pay for Azure infrastructure services based on usage.”

Microsoft’s Kam VedBrat has written a more comprehensive post about these changes if you’re curious.

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Comments (6)

6 responses to “Microsoft Renames Windows Virtual Desktop to Azure Virtual Desktop”

  1. pauldain

    Do you think this: "accessed by their customers without requiring the user to have an eligible Windows license" means delivery to macOS, Linux, Chromebook clients?

    • Cardch

      Yes presumably it is exactly that. And presumably that’s one of the main drivers behind dropping Windows from the product name. For some reason, I have a bad feeling about this...

  2. will

    Curious how this will be different than CloudPC?

  3. waethorn

    Why is Microsoft so bad at figuring out a way to turn Win32 into a modular runtime with dependency tracking?


    The Linux world gets this right. You can install any application in a modern Linux distribution and have the package manager pull in all the dependencies for that app, including going from a command-line terminal environment to a limited GUI environment necessary for a GUI app without the full desktop OS environment.


    Not getting this right is what keeps Microsoft from building minimal-environment, self-contained applications that can be deployed to any hypervisor, thereby making them portable. This is what would get them away from Windows as an operating system, and closer to Windows as an app runtime.


    They're showing that they can't, given the push for full VM's as a working hosted desktop app environment. This brings up greater storage, bandwidth, processing, and most importantly, maintenance requirements as a result.

    • factoryoptimizr

      Project Reunion will let developers build a single-file executable that can be installed on nearly any Windows version. The build process pulls all dependencies into the executable package. We've been waiting for this for a LONG time!

      • ghostrider

        I think I've lost track of the number of 'Projects' MS have worked on over the years to try and simplify Windows development, or merge, or align, or create single installers, or phase out win32, or re-package UWP or to merge win32/UWP. Come on - does anyone really hold out much hope they'll get it right this time?

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