Features & tools for Azure Cloud Shell

Azure Cloud Shell is a browser-based terminal that provides an authenticated, preconfigured shell experience for managing Azure resources. Cloud Shell comes with the tools you need, already installed.

Azure Cloud Shell runs on Azure Linux, Microsoft's Linux distribution for cloud infrastructure edge products and services. You can choose Bash or PowerShell as your default shell.


Secure environment

Microsoft internally compiles all the packages included in the Azure Linux repository to help guard against supply chain attacks. For more information or to request changes to the Azure Linux image, see the Cloud Shell GitHub repository.

Cloud Shell automatically authenticates your Azure account to allow secure access for Azure CLI, Azure PowerShell, and other cloud management tools.

$HOME persistence across sessions

When you start Cloud Shell for the first time, you have the option of using Cloud Shell with or without an attached storage account. Choosing to continue without storage is the fastest way to start using Cloud Shell. Using Cloud Shell without storage is known as an ephemeral session. When you close the Cloud Shell window, all files you saved are deleted and don't persist across sessions.

To persist files across sessions, you can choose to mount a storage account. Cloud Shell automatically attaches your storage (mounted as $HOME\clouddrive) for all future sessions. Additionally, your $HOME directory is persisted as an .img file in your Azure File share. The machine state and files outside of $HOME aren't persisted across sessions. Learn more about Persisting files in Cloud Shell.

Use best practices when storing secrets such as SSH keys. You can use Azure Key Vault to securely store and retrieve your keys. For more information, see Manage Key Vault using the Azure CLI.

Azure drive (Azure:)

PowerShell in Cloud Shell provides the Azure drive (Azure:). You can switch to the Azure drive with cd Azure: and back to your home directory with cd ~. The Azure drive enables easy discovery and filesystem-like navigation of Azure resources such as Compute, Network, Storage, and others. You can continue to use the familiar Azure PowerShell cmdlets to manage these resources regardless of the drive you are in.


Any changes made to the Azure resources, either made directly in Azure portal or through Azure PowerShell cmdlets, are reflected in the Azure: drive. However, you must run dir -Force to refresh the view of your resources in the Azure:.

Deep integration with open source tooling

Cloud Shell includes preconfigured authentication for open source tools such as Terraform, Ansible, and Chef InSpec. For more information, see the following articles:

Preinstalled tools

The most commonly used tools are preinstalled in Cloud Shell. This curated collection of tools is updated monthly. Use the following commands to see the current list of tools and versions.

  • In PowerShell, use the Get-Module -ListAvailable command to get a list of installed module
  • In Bash or PowerShell
    • Use the tdnf list command to list the TDNF packages that are installed
    • Use the pip3 list command to list the Python packages that are installed

Azure tools

Cloud Shell comes with the following Azure command-line tools preinstalled:

Other Microsoft services

Productivity tools

Linux tools

  • bash
  • zsh
  • sh
  • tmux
  • dig

Text editors

  • Cloud Shell editor (code)
  • vim
  • nano
  • emacs

Cloud management tools

Developer tools

Build tools

  • make
  • maven
  • npm
  • pip

Source control

  • Git
  • GitHub CLI

Database tools

Programming languages

  • .NET 7.0
  • PowerShell 7.4
  • Node.js
  • Java
  • Python 3.9
  • Ruby
  • Go

Installing your own tools

If you configured Cloud Shell to use a storage account, you can install your own tools. You can install any tool that doesn't require root permissions. For example, you can install Python modules, PowerShell modules, Node.js packages, and most packages that can be installed with wget.

Next steps