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Windows 11 provides clues as to how Microsoft's 'Cloud PC' might work

Hidden nuggets in a test build of Windows 11 give us a better idea of how Cloud PC might be implemented - but we're still in the dark to a large extent.

Windows 11 provides clues as to how Microsoft's 'Cloud PC' might work
2 minutes & 6 seconds read time

Microsoft's idea for a 'Cloud PC' feature appears to be progressing, at least going by hidden clues unearthed in a Windows 11 test build.

This comes courtesy of well-known Microsoft leaker Albacore, who has been peeking under the hood in the recent Windows 11 build 23419, and found that the feature is being fleshed out in the background.

There's now an option to access the Cloud PC in two different ways - you can do so either directly from the desktop, or via an app.

Albacore also points out new options for what you want to share when using the Cloud PC. That includes USB ports (and the drives in them), smart cards, the PC's microphone, printer, and clipboard (with whatever you've cut or copied there), among other elements.

The broad idea might be that if you're away from your PC, when out and about, you could access it via the cloud in these various ways (providing you leave the computer switched on at home, of course). Or this could perhaps eventually take the form of a full virtual PC in the cloud, a product that Microsoft already offers business users (Windows 365).

Exactly how the Cloud PC concept will be implemented remains to be seen. Indeed, it's still very early days for the feature, and this is just the groundwork being laid (and as mentioned, it's not even live in test builds yet, but hidden away under the hood).

Despite being readied in Windows 11 right now, given a possibly lengthy timeframe for development, it's entirely plausible that this functionality could be incoming for Windows 12. If that is indeed what the next incarnation of Microsoft's desktop operating system ends up being called.

We can't rule out it being implemented with Windows 11, mind you, we'll just have to see how things progress. The Cloud PC feature could even be canned, because not every feature in testing makes the cut for final release.

The latter prospect seems unlikely, though, as we've a feeling this concept is one pretty firmly entrenched in Microsoft's future plans for the PC (and as noted, it's something already in play in the enterprise arena).

Elsewhere in other preview builds for Windows 11 in recent times, we've seen the Bing chatbot return to the taskbar, or at least it's present in the search box for some users (those who've been accepted into the preview to test the AI). That Bing chatbot, by the way, appears to be very much working to drive traffic to Microsoft's search engine - which could be a real headache for Google.

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Darren has written for numerous magazines and websites in the technology world for almost 30 years, including TechRadar, PC Gamer, Eurogamer, Computeractive, and many more. He worked on his first magazine (PC Home) long before Google and most of the rest of the web existed. In his spare time, he can be found gaming, going to the gym, and writing books (his debut novel – ‘I Know What You Did Last Supper’ – was published by Hachette UK in 2013).

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