Overview of Azure Cloud Shell (Preview)

Azure Cloud Shell is an interactive, browser-accessible shell for managing Azure resources.


Browser-based shell experience

Cloud Shell enables access to a browser-based command-line experience built with Azure management tasks in mind. Leverage Cloud Shell to work untethered from a local machine in a way only the cloud can provide.

Pre-configured Azure workstation

Cloud Shell comes pre-installed with popular command-line tools and language support so you can work faster.

View the full tooling list for Azure Cloud Shell here.

Automatic authentication

Cloud Shell securely authenticates automatically on each session for instant access to your resources through the Azure CLI 2.0.

Connect your Azure File storage

Cloud Shell machines are temporary and as a result require an Azure file share to be mounted as clouddrive to persist your $Home directory. On first launch Cloud Shell prompts to create a resource group, storage account, and file share on your behalf. This is a one-time step and will be automatically attached for all sessions.

Create new storage

A locally-redundant storage (LRS) account can be created on your behalf with an Azure file share containing a default 5-GB disk image. The file share mounts as clouddrive for file share interaction with the disk image being used to sync and persist your $Home directory. Regular storage costs apply.

Three resources will be created on your behalf:

  1. Resource Group named: cloud-shell-storage-<region>
  2. Storage Account named: cs<uniqueGuid>
  3. File Share named: cs-<user>-<domain>-com-uniqueGuid

All files in your $Home directory such as SSH keys are persisted in your user disk image stored in your mounted file share. Apply best practices when saving files in your $Home directory and mounted file share.

Use existing resources

An advanced option is also provided allowing you to associate existing resources to Cloud Shell. When presented with the storage setup prompt, click "Show advanced settings" to select additional options. Dropdowns are filtered for your assigned Cloud Shell region and locally/globally-redundant storage accounts.

Learn about Cloud Shell storage, updating file shares, and uploading/downloading files.


  • Cloud Shell runs on a temporary machine provided on a per-session, per-user basis
  • Cloud Shell times out after 20 minutes without interactive activity
  • Cloud Shell can only be accessed with a file share attached
  • Cloud Shell is assigned one machine per user account
  • Permissions are set as a regular Linux user

Learn more about all Cloud Shell features.


  • Create or edit scripts to automate Azure management
  • Simultaneously manage resources via Azure portal and Azure CLI 2.0
  • Test-drive Azure CLI 2.0

Try out all these examples at the Cloud Shell quickstart.


The machine hosting Cloud Shell is free, with a pre-requisite of a mounted Azure file share to persist your $Home directory. Regular storage costs apply.

Supported browsers

Cloud Shell is recommended for Chrome, Edge, and Safari. While Cloud Shell is supported for Chrome, Firefox, Safari, IE, and Edge, Cloud Shell is subject to specific browser settings.


  1. When using an Azure Active Directory subscription, I cannot create storage due to Error: 400 DisallowedOperation. To resolve this, please use an Azure subscription capable of creating storage resources. AD subscriptions are not able to create Azure resources.

For specific known limitations, visit limitations of Cloud Shell.