Windows 365 trials have closed - and that's great news for Microsoft

Microsoft has halted Windows 365 trials, only days after the cloud PC service opened up, though it's arguably for the best of reasons. The new platform – which effectively hosts a remote Windows PC in the cloud, and offers access to it through the browser on other devices – has seen a surge in interest, Microsoft claims.

Announced earlier this year, Windows 365 does for PCs what Xbox Cloud Gaming and Google Stadia do for console gaming. Rather than having a powerful Windows 10 PC physically on your desk, Microsoft's service allows users to subscribe to a PC for remote access.

Different configurations are available, covering everything from basic machines for everyday tasks, through to more potent computers designed for coding, design, and more. The advantage, Microsoft says, is that they're ubiquitously available wherever users have an internet connection and a browser. They're also more secure, because data stays in the cloud, and they'll automatically support updates to Windows 11 when that becomes available later in the year.

Microsoft began offering paid subscriptions earlier this week. At the same time, it also offered free trials so that businesses could get to grips with exactly what was on offer.

The "cloud PC" idea clearly struck a chord. "Following significant demand," Microsoft confirmed on Twitter, "we have reached capacity for Windows 365 trials." Those still wanting to try Windows 365 before they sign up can add their name to a waitlist, and get notified when trials resume again.

Those who want to sign up and start paying for a Windows 365 computer can do so immediately, it's worth noting. This new delay only affects free trials.

Currently, Windows 365 is only available for business and enterprise use. Microsoft hasn't said when it might open the system up for individual customers.

Pricing starts at $31 per user, per month, for a "basic" cloud PC on the Business plan. That gets you two vCPUs, 4GB of RAM, and 128GB of storage. A $66/month "premium" plan upgrades that to four vCPUs and 16GB of RAM. Enterprise versions offer integration with Microsoft Endpoint Manager, among other things, allowing the IT departments of bigger companies to better support both physical and cloud PC deployments.

It certainly sounds like demand exceeded even what Microsoft expected from the new platform. "We have seen unbelievable response to Windows 365," Scott Manchester, Director of Program Management for Windows 365, said on Twitter, "and need to pause our free trial program while we provision additional capacity."