How to create and deploy a Windows 11 custom image with Windows 365 Enterprise Cloud PC

Less then a month ago I wrote a blog about How to create and deploy Windows 365 Enterprise Cloud PC Custom Images. What could be the case with cloud services such as Windows 365 is that developments can go fast. So, what have changed in the last 4 weeks after wring my previous blog? In this case a lot! First of all, Microsoft released Windows 11 (Oct, 5) and made it directly available for Windows 365 deployments. Secondly, Windows 365 now supports Gen2 images. It’s not possible to create new Gen1 images for Windows 365 anymore, but you can still use your existing Gen1 images.

Gen2 VMs are supporting OS disks that are bigger than 2 TB and are more secure then Gen1 VMs by supporting trusted launch, secure boot and vTPM. For more information about Gen2 VMs/images click here and here.

For me this is enough reason to rewrite my old blog with these updates. This blog will cover the following steps:

Step 1 : Create a new Azure Virtual Machine
Step 2 : Customize the image and prepare for provisioning
Step 3 : Create the image capture
Step 4 : Add the image to Microsoft Endpoint Manager – Microsoft Intune
Step 5 : Update the Provisioning Policy
Step 6 : Reprovision the Cloud PC with the new custom image

Just like before, this blog assumes that Windows 365 Enterprise Cloud PC is already up and running in your environment. The current Cloud PC will be reprovisioned with the new custom image. See one of my previous blog if you want to know how to deploy and manage Windows 365 Enterprise Cloud PC with a standard image.

Step 1 : Create a new Azure Virtual Machine

First a new Virtual Machine needs to be created in Azure to customize the image. For the next steps open a browser and navigate to the Microsoft Azure Portal.

Open the Virtual Machines blade and click + Create

Select your Subscription and the Resource group. Give your VM a name of choice and select the Region. Click See all images.

Search for Cloud PC and click Select under Windows 365 Enterprise – Cloud PC

Select the Windows 11 Enterprise Cloud PC + Microsoft 365 Apps – Gen2 image.

Scroll down, enter the administrator account information and select I confirm I have an eligible Windows 10 license with multi-tenant hosting and click Next : Disks

Select the OS disk type of choice. For this demo I select Premium SSD.

Click Next : Networking

Select your network and click Review + create (I will skip the Management, Advanced and Tags steps for now).

Click Create

Step 2 : Customize the image and prepare for provisioning

Once the VM deployment is completed, connect to the desktop.

Note that the Cloud PC image with the Microsoft 365 Apps pre-installed also have Microsoft Teams installed, including the AV Redirect optimization service!

This is the time where you can customize the image like application installation. Also think about the Windows Store and Windows 11 updates.

When ready, run c:\Windows\System32\Sysprep\sysprep.exe

Select Enter System Out-of-Box-Experience (OOBE) as System Cleanup Action. Make sure Generalize is selected. As Shutdown Options, select Shutdown and click OK.

Once the VM have the Stopped status, stop the VM so the machine will be deallocated.

Step 3 : Create the image capture

Once the VM is deallocated we can create an image capture of it.

Within the Microsoft Azure portal open the Overview page of the Virtual Machine and click Capture.

Select the Resource group for the VM capture. You can share this image to the Azure Shared Image Gallery. However, this is not a requirement for Windows 365 Enterprise Cloud PC. For now, I will skip the Shared Image Gallery steps and just store the image in the Azure Resource Group.

Select Automatically delete this virtual machine after creating the image (you can’t use the VM anyway since you run Sysprep). Give the image a Name and click Review + Create.

Click Create

Step 4 : Add the image to Microsoft Endpoint Manager – Microsoft Intune

Now that the generalized image is created, we need to add it to Microsoft Endpoint Manager – Microsoft Intune. Go to the Microsoft Endpoint Manager admin center.

Within the Microsoft Endpoint Manager admin center navigate to Devices > Windows 365 > Device images and click the + Add button.

Give the image a Name and an Image version. This must be in the “x.x.x” format, so for example, 1.0.0 or, what I do, the date (2021.10.05).

Select the just created image that will be visible in the pull down menu and click Add.

The upload will now start, this may take a while. In my case more than one hour.

After the upload is complete, the status will be changed to “Upload successful”.

Step 5 : Update the Provisioning Policy

After the image is added the Microsoft Endpoint Manager – Microsoft Intune we need to create a new Provisioning Policy or update the current one. In this case I will Update the current one to deploy the new custom image.

Open the Provisioning policies tab and open your current Provisioning Policy.

Next to Image click Edit

Select the custom image and click Next

Click Update

Step 6 : Reprovision the Cloud PC with the new custom image

To apply the new custom image to the Cloud PCs we need to reprovision them. This will re-create the Cloud PC.

Open the All Cloud PC tab. As you can see, my Cloud PC is provisioned with the current Win10 ENT G1 image. Click on the Device name.

Click Reprovision

Click Yes.

This will start the reprovisioning and may take a while (up to 60 minutes).

After the provisioning is complete you can see that it is now using the new custom image.

When login the Cloud PC you see the custom image with all the installed applications.

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About Robin Hobo

I work as a Senior Solution Architect with focus on the Modern Workspace. I am specialized in Azure Virtual Desktop (AVD), Windows 365 and Microsoft EM+S (including Microsoft Endpoint Manager - Microsoft Intune).

For my full bio, check the About Me page.

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