Overview of Azure Cloud Shell

Azure Cloud Shell is an interactive, authenticated, browser-accessible shell for managing Azure resources. It provides the flexibility of choosing the shell experience that best suits the way you work, either Bash or PowerShell.

You can access Cloud Shell in three ways:

  • Direct link: Open a browser to https://shell.azure.com.

  • Azure portal: Select the Cloud Shell icon on the Azure portal:

    Icon to launch Cloud Shell from the Azure portal

  • Code samples: In Microsoft technical documentation and training resources, select the Try It button that appears with Azure CLI and Azure PowerShell code snippets:

    az account show

    The Try It button opens Cloud Shell directly alongside the documentation using Bash (for Azure CLI snippets) or PowerShell (for Azure PowerShell snippets).

    To run the command, use Copy in the code snippet, use Ctrl+Shift+V (Windows/Linux) or Cmd+Shift+V (macOS) to paste the command, and then press Enter.


Browser-based shell experience

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

Choice of preferred shell experience

Users can choose between Bash or PowerShell.

  1. Select Cloud Shell.

    Cloud Shell icon

  2. Select Bash or PowerShell.

    Choose either Bash or PowerShell

    After first launch, you can use the shell type drop-down control to switch between Bash and PowerShell:

    Drop-down control to select Bash or PowerShell

Authenticated and configured Azure workstation

Cloud Shell is managed by Microsoft so it comes with popular command-line tools and language support. Cloud Shell also securely authenticates automatically for instant access to your resources through the Azure CLI or Azure PowerShell cmdlets.

View the full list of tools installed in Cloud Shell.

Integrated Cloud Shell editor

Cloud Shell offers an integrated graphical text editor based on the open source Monaco Editor. Create and edit configuration files by running code . for seamless deployment through Azure CLI or Azure PowerShell.

Learn more about the Cloud Shell editor.

Multiple access points

Cloud Shell is a flexible tool that can be used from:

Connect your Microsoft Azure Files storage

Cloud Shell machines are temporary, but your files are persisted in two ways: through a disk image, and through a mounted file share named clouddrive. On first launch, Cloud Shell prompts to create a resource group, storage account, and Azure Files share on your behalf. This is a one-time step and the resources created are automatically attached for all future sessions. A single file share can be mapped and is used by both Bash and PowerShell in Cloud Shell.

Read more to learn how to mount a new or existing storage account or to learn about the persistence mechanisms used in Cloud Shell.


Azure storage firewall isn't supported for cloud shell storage accounts.


  • Cloud Shell runs on a temporary host provided on a per-session, per-user basis
  • Cloud Shell times out after 20 minutes without interactive activity
  • Cloud Shell requires an Azure file share to be mounted
  • Cloud Shell uses the same Azure file share for both Bash and PowerShell
  • Cloud Shell is assigned one machine per user account
  • Cloud Shell persists $HOME using a 5-GB image held in your file share
  • Permissions are set as a regular Linux user in Bash

Learn more about features in Bash in Cloud Shell and PowerShell in Cloud Shell.


Encryption at rest

All Cloud Shell infrastructure is compliant with double encryption at rest by default. No action is required by users.


The machine hosting Cloud Shell is free, with a pre-requisite of a mounted Azure Files share. Regular storage costs apply.

Next steps