Microsoft rolls out new name and features for Windows Virtual Desktop

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Microsoft Azure Hero (Image credit: Microsoft)

What you need to know

  • Microsoft renamed Windows Virtual Desktop to Azure Virtual Desktop.
  • With the name change, Microsoft announced enhanced support for Azure Active Directory in preview.
  • Microsoft also announced a monthly per-user pricing option for delivering apps through Azure Virtual Desktops to external users.

Microsoft announced several changes and improvements to Windows Virtual Desktop today. Going forward, the service will now be known as Azure Virtual Desktop. With that new name comes a growing list of features and some new pricing options for delivering apps to external users.

Azure Virtual Desktop also gains public preview access to enhanced support for Azure Active Directory today. The Azure blog post explains:

We are pleased to announce that you'll soon be able to join your Azure Virtual Desktop virtual machines directly to Azure Active Directory (AAD) and connect to the virtual machines from any device with basic credentials. You'll also be able to automatically enroll the virtual machines with Microsoft Endpoint Manager. For certain scenarios, this will help eliminate the need for a domain controller, help reduce cost, and streamline your deployment.

Microsoft promises further integration with Azure Active Directory in the future, including single sign-on support, working with more credential types like FIDO 2, and support for Azure Files for cloud users.

You can now also manage Windows 10 Enterprise multi-session virtual machines with Microsoft Endpoint Manager and use a new streamlined onboarding process for Azure Virtual Desktop in the Azure portal. Both of these new features are in public preview.

Going forward, organizations will have the option to use monthly per-user access pricing options for delivering apps from the cloud to external users. Microsoft has a promotional period for this new pricing option that runs from July 14, 2021 to December 31, 2021.

During this promotion, there's no charge for access to Azure Virtual Desktop for streaming first or third-party apps to external users. Organizations still need to pay for underlying Azure infrastructure during the promotional period.

Sean Endicott
News Writer and apps editor

Sean Endicott brings nearly a decade of experience covering Microsoft and Windows news to Windows Central. He joined our team in 2017 as an app reviewer and now heads up our day-to-day news coverage. If you have a news tip or an app to review, hit him up at