Microsoft’s Windows Virtual Desktop

windows virtual desktop

Blog Written By | Microsoft 365

Windows Virtual Desktop is now generally available worldwide

In September this year, Microsoft released news of the Windows Virtual Desktop (WVD) service with enhanced capabilities to increase productivity. Windows Virtual Desktop is the only service that delivers simplified management, a multi-session Windows 10 experience, optimizations for Office 365 ProPlus, and support for Windows Server Remote Desktop Services (RDS) desktop and apps. With Windows Virtual Desktop, you can deploy and scale your windows desktop and apps on Azure in minutes.

Since Microsoft announced Windows Virtual Desktop last September, and through the public preview announced in March, thousands of customers have piloted the service and taken advantage of the Windows 10 multi-session capability – validating the importance of this feature as a core part of the service. Customers also represented all major industries and geographies, helping Microsoft get feedback from different customer types and locations. As a result, the service is now available in all geographies. In addition, Windows Virtual Desktop client is available across Windows, Android, Mac, iOS, and HTML5.

With the end of extended support for Windows 7 coming in January 2020, Microsoft also understands some customers need to continue to support Windows 7 legacy applications as they migrate to Windows 10. To support this need, you can use WVD to virtualize Windows 7 desktops with free Extended Security Updates (ESU) until January 2023. If you’re in the process of migrating to Windows 10 and need app compatibility assistance, read more about how Microsoft can help with the Desktop App Assure program.

To help increase productivity, Microsoft invested heavily in the Office experience in a virtualized environment with native improvements, as well as through the acquisition of FSLogix. In July, Microsoft made the FSLogix technology available to Mircosoft 365, Windows 10 Enterprise, and RDS customers. Today, all FSLogix tools are fully integrated into WVD, enabling you to have the smoothest, most performant Office virtualization experience available today.

In addition to the significant architectural improvements for deployment and management, Microsoft is also simplifying app delivery by supporting MSIX packaged apps to be dynamically “attached” to a virtual machine instead of installing it permanently. This is important because it significantly decreases storage and makes it easier for the admin to manage and update the apps while creating a seamless experience for the user.

Check out the video from Scott Manchester, Principal Engineering Lead for WVD, where he does a great job of walking you through the app “attach” experience.

Extending WVD

Microsoft also worked closely with its partner ecosystem to help customers extend WVD and get the most out of existing virtualization investments.

  • Citrix can extend Windows Virtual Desktop worldwide, including support for Windows 10 multi-session, Windows 7 with free Extended Security Updates for up to three years, and support for Windows Server 2008 R2 with free Extended Security Updates on Azure. 
  • VMware Horizon Cloud on Microsoft Azure will extend Windows Virtual Desktop and its benefits, such as Windows 10 Enterprise multi-session and support for Windows 7 with free Extended Security Updates for up to three years. The preview will be available by the end of the calendar year.
  • Microsoft also engaged with hardware partners, system integrators (SI), who provide turnkey desktop-as-a-service (DaaS) offerings, and value-added solutions providers, who add capabilities such as printing, application layering, assessment, and monitoring on Azure Marketplace.

The general availability of Virtual Desktop is just the beginning. Microsoft will continue to rapidly innovate and invest in desktop and app virtualization. In the meantime, you can get started with Windows Virtual Desktop today.

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Microsoft 365: New features in Office improves productivity

Microsoft 365

Blog Written By | Microsoft  Office 365

Microsoft 365 improves web and desktop productivity with new features in Office that help people brainstorm, create, and present

Microsoft 365 announces new features to help you brainstorm, create, and present more effectively. They’re committed to empowering people to use the cloud to work and learn from anywhere, and Office for the web now fully enables this new productivity.

Practice makes perfect with Presenter Coach in PowerPoint for the web

Public speaking doesn’t have to be nerve-wracking. Microsoft’s public preview of Presenter Coach in PowerPoint for the web uses the power of artificial intelligence (AI) to help business professionals, teachers, and students become more effective presenters.

When you enter rehearsal mode and speak into a microphone, Presenter Coach gives you real-time on-screen feedback to improve public speaking skills. This includes helpful tips on pacing, including inclusive language, using too many filler words like “basically” or “um”, and avoiding the sense that you’re just reading the slides.

At the end of the rehearsal session, a handy report highlights the areas for improvement. Currently, the Presenter Coach only works in English. Presenter Coach in PowerPoint for the web is now in public preview.

Present, annotate and interact naturally with Inking if Office for the web

Microsoft 365 announced new capabilities to help you create more effective presentations in Office for the web – including Inking in PowerPoint for the web. Now that you can present in PowerPoint for the web and ink and annotate in real-time, there’s no need for a laser pointer to highlight or point to important information.

Ink has come a long way since Microsoft 365 first introduced it. Based on the feedback, they made numerous improvements to Inking in Slide Show across all platforms. One of the top requests from customers – the ability to effectively animate process flows and diagrams – is now possible with the new Ink Replay in Slide Show feature. Ink appears, step by step, to create impactful animations that bring work and ideas to life.

Ink Replay animations on PowerPoint for Windows and Mac, as well as annotating with a digital pen in Slide Show on PowerPoint for the web, are available for Office Insiders and rolling out now. Additional Inking in Office for the web support will be coming soon.

Brainstorm together and get work done with the new Microsoft Whiteboard templates for desktop

Microsoft also announced templates in Microsoft Whiteboard to help you collaborate more effectively – whether you’re trying to brainstorm your next big idea or get everyone on the same page. These templates can help you run more effective meetings with KANBAN sprint planning, SWOT analysis, project planning, learning, and more.

Pre-created layouts provide an immediate structure – with helpful tips for running activities – and expand to fit all your content. Read more about the new Microsoft whiteboard templates.

Microsoft Whiteboard templates are now in public preview for Windows 10 and rolling out to iOS. To add templates, click or tap the Insert button in the toolbar.

Bring your ideas to life with new 3D models and lesson plans in Office for desktop

Visual learning is essential for effectively educating students in the digital age. 3D if Office allows anyone to easily communicate their ideas by inserting their own 3D models or selecting one from our library of content. Based on overwhelming feedback from users, Microsoft has added a set of 23 education-based 3D models and 10 lesson plans on topics, including geology, biology, and space.

These engaging models help parents and teachers quickly communicate comprehensible and retainable information to students. Created bt Lifeliqe, the new lesson plans complement the models to create a comprehensive learning experience. The new 3D models and lesson plans are now generally available to Office 365 subscribers in Windows.

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FastTrack helps to speed up Windows 10 deployment

fasttrack

Resource Credit | Bob Davis, Corporate Vice President, Microsoft 365

Speed up your Windows 10 deployment with new FastTrack guidance

Upgrading and updating complex technology environments is no small task. To support you through every step of your Windows 10 deployment, Microsoft 365 has made investments to help you assess compatibility, make informed decisions, and reduce cost and complexity. While most people are on their way to upgrading to Windows 10, Microsoft knows there can be unforeseen challenges. They have created FastTrack for Windows 10 deployment guidance to help.

Investments to help with your Windows 10 deployment journey

With Windows 7 end of support coming on January 14, 2020, Microsoft 365 has made investments to help you through every step of your journey to get and stay current with Windows 10.

To start, Microsoft 365 has built Windows 10 and Office 365 with compatibility as a core design principle, making investments across applications, add-ins, and macros in Windows 10 and Office 365 to ensure your environment continues to work as expected following an upgrade.

Tools like Windows Autopilot can help eliminate the cost and complexity associated with creating, maintaining and loading of custom images. Desktop Analytics (currently in public preview) provides intelligence to help you make informed decisions about the update readiness of your Windows clients. The Office Readiness Toolkit helps you assess compatibility as you make the move to Office 365 ProPlus. The Desktop App Assure program from Microsoft FastTrack provides dedicated engineering resources to help remediate any application compatibility issues you might have across Windows 10 and Office 365.

New FastTrack deployment guidance for Windows 10

Sometimes you have a complex scenario and aren’t even sure where to start, or you’ve encountered a problem that has your migration stalled. There are times when you need to talk to an expert to get guidance on where to go next. Microsoft 365 has announced the new FastTrack for Windows 10 deployment guidance to do just that.

With FastTrack, we help you to envision a technical plan, determine how to onboard and deploy new services and/or users, and work with you as you deploy to get the most value out of your technology investments. This assistance is available at no additional cost for those with 150 or more licenses of eligible service or plan.

Learn more and get started

Microsoft 365 – which includes Windows 10 and Office 365 – provides the most secure productivity experience. Microsoft 365 is committed to working with you every step of the way. To learn more, watch the Microsoft Mechanics video and then sign in to www.microsoft.com/FastTrack to request assistance and get started.

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