Enable Enterprise State Roaming in Azure Active Directory

Enterprise State Roaming is available to any organization with an Azure AD Premium or Enterprise Mobility + Security (EMS) license. For more information on how to get an Azure AD subscription, see the Azure AD product page.

When you enable Enterprise State Roaming, your organization is automatically granted a free, limited-use license for Azure Rights Management. This free subscription is limited to encrypting and decrypting enterprise settings and application data synced by Enterprise State Roaming. You must have a paid subscription to use the full capabilities of Azure Rights Management.

To enable Enterprise State Roaming

  1. Sign in to Azure AD admin center.

  2. Select Azure Active Directory > Devices > Device settings.

  3. Select Users may sync settings and app data across devices. For more information, see how to configure device settings.

    image of device setting labeled Users may sync settings and app data across devices

For a Windows 10 device to use the Enterprise State Roaming service, the device must authenticate using an Azure AD identity. For devices that are joined to Azure AD, the user’s primary sign-in identity is their Azure AD identity, so no additional configuration is required. For devices that use on-premises Active Directory, the IT admin must connect the domain-joined devices to Azure AD for Windows 10 experiences.

Data storage

Enterprise State Roaming data is hosted in one or more Azure regions that best align with the country/region value set in the Azure Active Directory instance. Enterprise State Roaming data is partitioned based on three major geographic regions: North America, EMEA, and APAC. Enterprise State Roaming data for the tenant is locally located with the geographical region, and is not replicated across regions. For example::

Country/region value has their data hosted in
An EMEA country such as “France” or “Zambia" one or of the Azure regions within Europe
A North American country such as “United States” or “Canada” one or more of the Azure regions within the US
An APAC country such as “Australia” or “New Zealand” one or more of the Azure regions within Asia
South American and Antarctica regions one or more Azure regions within the US

The country/region value is set as part of the Azure AD directory creation process and cannot be subsequently modified. If you need more details on your data storage location, file a ticket with Azure support.

View per-user device sync status

Follow these steps to view a per-user device sync status report.

  1. Sign in to Azure AD admin center.

  2. Select Azure Active Directory > Users and groups > All users.

  3. Select the user, and then select Devices.

  4. Under Show, select Devices syncing settings and app data to show sync status.

    image of device sync data setting

  5. If there are devices syncing for this user, you see the devices as shown here.

    image of device sync columnar data

Data retention

Data synced to Azure using Enterprise State Roaming is retained until it is manually deleted or until the data in question is determined to be stale.

Explicit deletion

Explicit deletion is when an Azure admin deletes a user or a directory or otherwise requests explicitly that data is to be deleted.

  • User deletion: When a user is deleted in Azure AD, the user account roaming data is deleted after 90 to 180 days.
  • Directory deletion: Deleting an entire directory in Azure AD is an immediate operation. All the settings data associated with that directory is deleted after 90 to 180 days.
  • On request deletion: If the Azure AD admin wants to manually delete a specific user’s data or settings data, the admin can file a ticket with Azure support.

Stale data deletion

Data that has not been accessed for one year (“the retention period”) will be treated as stale and may be deleted from Azure. The retention period is subject to change but will not be less than 90 days. The stale data may be a specific set of Windows/application settings or all settings for a user. For example:

  • If no devices access a particular settings collection (for example, an application is removed from the device, or a settings group such as “Theme” is disabled for all of a user’s devices), then that collection becomes stale after the retention period and may be deleted.
  • If a user has turned off settings sync on all his/her devices, then none of the settings data will be accessed, and all the settings data for that user will become stale and may be deleted after the retention period.
  • If the Azure AD directory admin turns off Enterprise State Roaming for the entire directory, then all users in that directory will stop syncing settings, and all settings data for all users will become stale and may be deleted after the retention period.

Deleted data recovery

The data retention policy is not configurable. Once the data is permanently deleted, it is not recoverable. However, The settings data is deleted only from Azure, not from the end-user device. If any device later reconnects to the Enterprise State Roaming service, the settings are again synced and stored in Azure.