How to create and deploy Windows 365 Enterprise Cloud PC Custom Images

UPDATE : A new version of this blog with Windows 11 Gen2 images is available here.

With Windows 365 you can deploy your Cloud PCs with a standard Azure Gallery image. There are Windows 10 Enterprise images available optimized for Cloud PC, with or without the Microsoft 365 Apps pre-installed on it (including Microsoft Teams with AV redirection optimization). However, with Windows 365 Enterprise you have the option to deploy your Cloud PCs with a custom image.

Within Azure, there are a few options to create custom images. If you want to fully automate this process you can use the Azure Image Builder. However, in this blog I will show you the manual steps for creating a custom image. I will discuss 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

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 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. By the Image selection make sure that you select a Windows 10 Enterprise image (single user). As mentioned before, there are Cloud PC images available with or without the Microsoft 365 App pre-installed on it. For this blog I will select the Windows 10 Enterprise Cloud PC, Version 21H1 + Microsoft 365 Apps – Gen 1. Note that at this time only G1 images are supported for Windows 365 Cloud PC but support for Gen2 is coming soon (including Windows 11 images).

Scroll down 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 10 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 (2021.09.08).

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 standard Gallery 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.

9 comments

  • key things to point out:
    capturing the image in Azure (takes 30 minutes to appear in Intune)
    uploading the custom image in Intune (takes 1 hour to complete)
    reprovisioning the Cloud PC (takes up to 1 hour to complete)

  • […] This week, Robin Hobo shared also another article with us on how to create and deploy Windows 365 Enterprise custom images. From the virtual machine creation on Azure, over image customizations, the import of the image in the Microsoft Endpoint Manager admin center till the deployment, Robin walks you through each step in detail! Read the full article here: How to create and deploy Windows 365 Enterprise Cloud PC Custom Images (robinhobo.com) […]

  • Do you need AADDS for the azure VM’s or are these intune connected “workgroup joined devices?

    • Hi Ali, at this moment you need an Azure vNet with access to your domain controllers. The Cloud PCs will be managed with Microsoft Intune (Cloud PC Enterprise version).

  • Hi, great post. I have almost finished this before but had to redo the image. Now i don’t remember where to choose what size the image is going to be deployed as. The image master as i understand must be 64 GB, but where do i choose number of cores, RAM and disk size of the provisioning ? I can’t see that mention in your blog.

  • Hi, thanks your article was helpful, but i just created the image as you directed, but it says “the image must be generalized before it can be uploaded” and upload failed. Moreover, i have selected os disk type, but when on the overview page of just created image, it says nothing in os disk type. Please help, where i went wrong.

About Robin Hobo

I am a Technology Specialist working for Microsoft with focus on the Modern Workplace. I am specialized in Microsoft Intune, Azure Virtual Desktop (AVD), Windows 365, Windows 11 and Azure AD. Also interested in mental health, NLP and personal development.

For more information, see the About Me page or my LinkedIn profile.

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