Enable Enterprise State Roaming in Azure Active Directory

Enterprise State Roaming provides users with a unified experience across their Windows devices and reduces the time needed for configuring a new device. Enterprise State Roaming operates similar to the standard consumer settings sync that was first introduced in Windows 8. 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.

Note

This article applies to the Microsoft Edge Legacy HTML-based browser launched with Windows 10 in July 2015. The article does not apply to the new Microsoft Edge Chromium-based browser released on January 15, 2020. For more information on the Sync behavior for the new Microsoft Edge, see the article Microsoft Edge Sync.

To enable Enterprise State Roaming

  1. Sign in to the Azure portal.

  2. Browse to Azure Active Directory > Devices > Enterprise State Roaming.

  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 or newer 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 other configuration is required. For devices that use on-premises Active Directory, the IT admin must Configure hybrid Azure Active Directory joined devices.

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 isn't replicated across regions. For example:

Country/region value has their data hosted in
An EMEA country/region such as France or Zambia One or more of the Azure regions within Europe
A North American country/region such as United States or Canada One or more of the Azure regions within the US
An APAC country/region 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 can’t be modified later. 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 > All users.
  3. Select the user, and then select Devices.
  4. Select View devices syncing settings and app data to show sync status.
  5. Devices syncing for the user are shown and can be downloaded.

Data retention

Data synced to the Microsoft cloud using Enterprise State Roaming is retained until it's manually deleted or until the data is determined to be stale.

Explicit deletion

Explicit deletion is when an administrator deletes a user, directory, or 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 hasn't been accessed for one year (“the retention period”) will be treated as stale and may be deleted from the Microsoft cloud. The retention period is subject to change but won't 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 like language, then that collection becomes stale after the retention period and may be deleted.
  • If a user has turned off settings sync on all their devices, then none of the settings data will be accessed. 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. All settings data for all users will become stale and may be deleted after the retention period.

Deleted data recovery

The data retention policy isn't configurable. Once the data is permanently deleted, it isn't recoverable. However, The settings data is deleted only from the Microsoft cloud, 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 the Microsoft cloud.

Next steps