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Truly portable computing with a Windows365 Cloud OS?

Leaks last year and now this week suggest that Microsoft may be working on a cloud-based Windows, which could revolutionise desktop computing. In the absence of any facts, here’s what we’d like to see in a cloud-based Windows operating system.

Google’s Chromebook uses its Google Apps cloud service (Gmail, Drive, Docs, Sheets, etc) for authentication, permissions and the core applications. Using such a cloud-based computer is as simple as logging into a website. And you can pick up any Chromebook, log in, and get all your settings, preferences, applications and files. A truly portable desktop environment and a very simple experience for users. But Chromebooks can run only applications that are available in a web browser, and many of us rely on apps that need a full desktop operating system such as Windows.

So we’ve long wished for the best of both worlds: a web-based user and identity management service (for access, permissions and settings) for a desktop operating system. In Windows terms, this would be a web-based Active Directory and user management console, hosted by Microsoft in the cloud. It would radically simplify the current complex nest of local Domain Controllers, Active Directory, Group Policies etc, which all require complex setup and administration.

This would be a game changer. With such a “Windows365” and Office365 working together over the web, you could log into any PC and all your settings, files, email, applications etc would be available to you.

Which would radically benefit everyone, except perhaps your IT support company.