What is the Difference between Cloud PC and Virtual Desktop?

Admin rights, pooled use, and customization settings are just some of the distinguishing factors. Learn more below.
Cloud PCVirtual Desktop

Cloud PC

Windows 365 is Microsoft’s first official Cloud PC. Each user is given a designated virtual desktop on the cloud that they have full control over. Users are able to install and remove apps, change system preferences and settings, and manage their own desktops as if they were admins (they are). Employees ‘own’ this PC, but can also receive pushed updates and can be managed from the cloud.

Windows 365 Use Cases

New Hires
Does your work from anywhere business need recently hired employees to start ASAP? New hires can utilize a Cloud PC while their company device is in transit. Once employees receive their company device, seamlessly transition their desktops to their new device, or keep them on their Cloud PC from a company computer.

Does your business operate with short-term contractors frequently? Instead of purchasing new devices for these contractors, provide a Windows 365 Cloud PC that they can login to from their personal computers or devices. Avoid excess spending and don’t purchase computers your company will not utilize long-term.

Does your business have employees who are constantly traveling? Users can login from any device, anywhere in the world, whether it be a computer from a hotel lobby, or the office of a different company.
Does your business lack the capital to provide machines to new employees? Allow employees to bring their own device, and simply log in to their desktop from any location, and any device, for a low monthly cost with no overhead.

Virtual Desktop

Virtual Desktops, formerly known as ‘Desktops as a Service’, are great for larger businesses that want economy of scale or that want to fully maintain the backend. Azure Virtual Desktop (AVD) allows the deployment of an image to end-users, and generally utilizes pooled use. X amount of users login to the same servers with different sessions. All users using the same desktop will have the same software and settings as each other.

Benefits of Virtual Desktops


AVD is great for businesses who are prioritizing scaling. Easily create new sessions for employees with rigid constraints, and have all necessary programs already installed.


Only pay for the host of the virtual machines, not per desktop. Host machines generally cost between $200-$400 and can be scaled up or down depending on usage.

Similar Roles

Does your business have many employees in similar roles? Azure Virtual Desktops can be beneficial for setting up new employees and providing them the programs they need to succeed. Whether it be employees in data entry, or software engineers, set up a virtual machine to prioritize their needs while reducing costs.

Backend Control

Does your business need to adhere to strict compliance standards, or handle privileged information? Manage your backend in the way that makes most sense for your business. Utilizing virtual desktop allows you to have full control of your employees backend.

What is the Difference Between Cloud PC and Virtual Desktop?

Cloud PC

Cloud PC’s are dedicated to individual users and are a bit more costly per user than their Virtual Desktop counterparts. Along with the ability to completely customize their desktops, users are not sharing a limited resource; all capacity of the machine is dedicated to the sole owner of the PC and can be activated and deactivated quickly.

Virtual Desktop

Virtual Desktop’s allow companies to scale quickly and save money by splitting resources. Although users do not have the ability to personalize their machines, admins have full access to the backend. These admins can easily install new programs and change settings for entire groups of users rather than changing all individually.

Read our Blog for an In-Depth Comparison of Windows 365 and Azure Virtual Desktop