Aug 3, 2021

Update: Are You Ready for the Future of Computing?

In the 28 May 2021 newsletter, I wrote an article describing the newly-announced but-not-yet-shipping Windows 365 Cloud PC. The article is still available at:

In that article, I wrote:

“The Windows 365 Cloud PC is intended to be used as your only computer but available at multiple locations. This piece of magic is accomplished by having the customer rent a new, high-powered Windows system that is installed “in the cloud.” That is, the new Windows system will be installed in (possibly multiple) data centers, possibly in different locations around the world, and being accessed via low-powered computers remotely through the Internet. This “remote computer” could be an older, lower-powered Windows computer or even a Macintosh, a Linux system, a laptop, an iPad, or even a (less than $100) Raspberry Pi. It also could be easily portable so that the user may access the Windows 365 Cloud PC from any location: from home, from the office, from on-board an airliner, or perhaps from a hotel room in a foreign county.”

I also wrote:

“I expect to write about my own “hands on” experience from a genealogist’s viewpoint as soon as these things become available and I can get my hands on one (remotely, of course).”

Well the Windows 365 Cloud PC is now being released. It isn’t hardware as much as it is new software. It runs much like other cloud-based computing services, such as GMail, Amazon Web Services, DropBox, Google Drive, and dozens of other web-based services. The one item that is the same in all web-based services is that the computing is performed by a high-powered server installed in distant data centers while the user accesses the server via a (usually) lower-powered keyboard, mouse, and video screen.

The Windows 365 Cloud PC is the same: it functions as a high-powered Windows server that the end user accesses via a remote computer of almost any sort, including Windows, Macintosh, Chromebook, Linux, iPad, and even very-low-cost Raspberry Pi computers.

The concept is wonderful: use a low-cost (and possibly aging) computing device to access a high-powered, modern, state-of-the-art Windows system.It sounds great when described by Microsoft’s PR department.

The Windows 365 Cloud PC is now available and I have read several reviews of the new device. After reading a number of reviews, I have changed my mind. I no longer plan to “can get my hands on one (remotely, of course).”

According the the many reviews I have read, the Windows 365 Cloud PC is available for rent for $20 a month for a stripped-down (low-powered) model and the price goes up quickly. For that price, you can get 1vCPU, 2GB of RAM, 64GB of storage, and 12GB of outbound data, a very modest-performance device. However, that requires you to have the Windows Hybrid Benefit. Without it, the minimum monthly buy-in is $24 (and a fully-decked out system will cost $158 a month).

See for more information about the limitations of the Windows 365 Cloud PC.

Most of the reviewers mentioned the slow performance of the base-model “Cloud PC” and then went on to describe other major limitations. In fact, a high-powered Windows 365 Cloud PC will cost close to $100 per month and then will still suffer from delays of accessing a computer across the internet, the fact that not all Windows programs will yet run on it (that is promised to be fixed in the future), difficulties with remote printing, and more.

In short, I have decided to stay with my medium-powered Macintosh systems.

If you are interested in the Windows 365 Cloud PC, I will suggest your search your favorite search engine to find ‘Hands on” reviews. Search for “review Windows 365 Cloud PC.”

Don’t wait for my review as you will be waiting a long time.