Add and manage lab users

This article describes how to add student users to a lab, register them with the lab, control the number of additional hours they can use the virtual machine (VM), and more.

When you add users, by default, the Restrict access option is turned on and, unless they're in the list of users, students can't register with the lab even if they have a registration link. Only listed users can register with the lab by using the registration link you send. You can turn off Restrict access, which allows students to register with the lab as long as they have the registration link.

This article shows how to add users to a lab.

Add users from an Azure AD group


You can now sync a lab user list to an existing Azure Active Directory (Azure AD) group so that you don't have to manually add or delete users.

An Azure AD group can be created within your organization's Azure Active Directory to manage access to organizational resources and cloud-based apps. To learn more, see Azure AD groups. If your organization uses Microsoft Office 365 or Azure services, your organization will already have admins who manage your Azure Active Directory.

Sync users with Azure AD group


Make sure the user list is empty. If there are existing users inside a lab that you added manually or through importing a CSV file, the option to sync the lab to an existing group will not appear.

  1. Sign in to the Azure Lab Services website.

  2. Select the lab you want to work with.

  3. In the left pane, select Users.

  4. Select Sync from group.

    Add users by syncing from an Azure AD group

  5. You'll be prompted to pick an existing Azure AD group to sync your lab to.

    If you don't see an Azure AD group in the list, could be because of the following reasons:

    • If you are a guest user for an Azure Active Directory (usually if you're outside the organization that owns the Azure AD), and you are not able to search for groups inside the Azure AD. In this case, you can't add an Azure AD group to the lab in this case.
    • Azure AD groups created through Teams don't show up in this list. You can add the Azure Lab Services app inside Teams to create and manage labs directly from within it. See more information about managing a lab’s user list from within Teams.
  6. Once you picked the Azure AD group to sync your lab to, select Add.

  7. Once a lab is synced, it will pull everyone inside the Azure AD group into the lab as users, and you will see the user list updated. Only the people in this Azure AD group will have access to your lab. The user list will refresh every 24 hours to match the latest membership of the Azure AD group. You can also select the Sync button in the Users tab to manually sync to the latest changes in the Azure AD group.

  8. Invite the users to your lab by clicking on the Invite All button, which will send an email to all users with the registration link to the lab.

Automatic management of virtual machines based on changes to the Azure AD group

Once the lab is synced to an Azure AD group, the number of virtual machines in the lab will automatically match the number of users in the group. You will no longer be able to manually update the lab capacity. When a user is added to the Azure AD group, a lab will automatically add a virtual machine for that user. When a user is deleted from the Azure AD group, a lab will automatically delete the user’s virtual machine from the lab.

Add users manually from email(s) or CSV file

In this section, you add students manually (by email address or by uploading a CSV file).

Add users by email address

  1. In the left pane, select Users.

  2. Select Add users manually.

    Add users manually

  3. Select Add by email address (default), enter the students' email addresses on separate lines or on a single line separated by semicolons.

    Add users' email addresses

  4. Select Save.

    The list displays the email addresses and statuses of the current users, whether they're registered with the lab or not.

    Users list


    After the students are registered with the lab, the list displays their names.

Add users by uploading a CSV file

You can also add users by uploading a CSV file that contains their email addresses.

A CSV text file is used to store comma-separated (CSV) tabular data (numbers and text). Instead of storing information in columns fields (such as in spreadsheets), a CSV file stores information separated by commas. Each line in a CSV file will have the same number of comma-separated "fields." You can use Excel to easily create and edit CSV files.

  1. Using Microsoft Excel, create a CSV file that lists students' email addresses in one column.

    List of users in a CSV file

  2. At the top of the Users pane, select Add users, and then select Upload CSV.

  3. Select the CSV file that contains the students' email addresses, and then select Open. The Add users window displays the email address list from the CSV file.

  4. Select Save.

  5. In the Users pane, view the list of added students.

    List of added users in the Users pane

Send invitations to users

To send a registration link to new users, use one of the following methods.

If the Restrict access option is enabled for the lab, only listed users can use the registration link to register to the lab. This option is enabled by default.

Invite all users

This method shows you how to send email with a registration link and an optional message to all listed students.

  1. In the Users pane, select Invite all.

    The "Invite all" button

  2. In the Send invitation by email window, enter an optional message, and then select Send.

    The email automatically includes the registration link. To get and save the registration link separately, select the ellipsis (...) at the top of the Users pane, and then select Registration link.

    The "Send registration link by email" window

    The Invitation column of the Users list displays the invitation status for each added user. The status should change to Sending and then to Sent on <date>.

Invite selected users

This method shows you how to invite only certain students and get a registration link that you can share with other people.

  1. In the Users pane, select a student or multiple students in the list.

  2. In the row for the student you've selected, select the envelope icon or, on the toolbar, select Invite.

    Invite selected users

  3. In the Send invitation by email window, enter an optional message, and then select Send.

    Send email to selected users

    The Users pane displays the status of this operation in the Invitation column of the table. The invitation email includes the registration link that students can use to register with the lab.

In this section, you can get the registration link from the portal and send it by using your own email application.

  1. In the Users pane, select Registration link.

    Student registration link

  2. In the User registration window, select Copy, and then select Done.

    The "User registration" window

    The link is copied to the clipboard.

  3. In your email application, paste the registration link, and then send the email to a student so that the student can register for the class.

View registered users

  1. Go to the Lab Services web portal:

  2. Select Sign in, and then enter your credentials. Azure Lab Services supports organizational accounts and Microsoft accounts.

  3. On the My labs page, select the lab whose usage you want to track.

  4. In the left pane, select Users, or select the Users tile. The Users pane displays a list of students who have registered with your lab.

    List of registered users


    If you republish a lab or Reset VMs, the students will remain registered for the labs' VMs. However, the contents of the VMs will be deleted and the VMs will be recreated with the template VM's image.

Set quotas for users

You can set an hour quota for a student one of two ways:

  1. In the Users pane, select Quota per user: <number> hour(s) on the toolbar.

  2. In the Quota per user window, specify the number of hours you want to give to each student outside the scheduled class time, and then select Save.

    The "Quota per user" window

    The changed values are now displayed on the Quota per user: <number of hours> button on the toolbar and in the users list, as shown here:

    Quota hours per user


    The scheduled running time of VMs does not count against the quota that's allotted to a student. The quota is for the time outside of scheduled hours that a student spends on VMs.

Set additional quotas for specific users

You can specify quotas for certain students beyond the common quotas that were set for all users in the preceding section. For example, if you, as an educator, set the quota for all students to 10 hours and set an additional quota of 5 hours for a specific student, that student gets 15 (10 + 5) hours of quota. If you change the common quota later to, say, 15, the student gets 20 (15 + 5) hours of quota. Remember that this overall quota is outside the scheduled time. The time that a student spends on a lab VM during the scheduled time does not count against this quota.

To set additional quotas, do the following:

  1. In the Users pane, select a student from the list, and then select Adjust quota on the toolbar.

    The "Adjust quota" button

  2. In the Adjust quota for <selected user or users email address>, enter the number of additional lab hours you want to grant to the selected student or students, and then select Apply.

    The "Adjust quota ..." window

    The Usage column displays the updated quota for the selected students.

    New usage for the user

Student accounts

To add students to a lab, you use their email accounts. Students might have the following types of email accounts:

  • A student email account that's provided by your university's Azure Active Directory instance.
  • A Microsoft-domain email account, such as,,, or
  • A non-Microsoft email account, such as one provided by Yahoo! or Google. However, these types of accounts must be linked with a Microsoft account.
  • A GitHub account. This account must be linked with a Microsoft account.

Use a non-Microsoft email account

Students can use non-Microsoft email accounts to register and sign in to a lab. However, the registration requires that they first create a Microsoft account that's linked to their non-Microsoft email address.

Many students might already have a Microsoft account that's linked to their non-Microsoft email address. For example, students already have a Microsoft account if they've used their email address with other Microsoft products or services, such as Office, Skype, OneDrive, or Windows.

When students use the registration link to sign in to a classroom, they're prompted for their email address and password. Students who attempt to sign in with a non-Microsoft account that's not linked to a Microsoft account will receive the following error message:

Error message at sign-in

Here's a link for students to sign up for a Microsoft account.


When students sign in to a lab, they aren't given the option to create a Microsoft account. For this reason, we recommend that you include this sign-up link,, in the lab registration email that you send to students who are using non-Microsoft accounts.

Use a GitHub account

Students can also use an existing GitHub account to register and sign in to a lab. If they already have a Microsoft account linked to their GitHub account, students can sign in and provide their password as shown in the preceding section.

If they haven't yet linked their GitHub account to a Microsoft account, they can do the following:

  1. Select the Sign-in options link, as shown here:

    The "Sign-in options" link

  2. In the Sign-in options window, select Sign in with GitHub.

    The "Sign in with GitHub" link

    At the prompt, students then create a Microsoft account that's linked to their GitHub account. The linking happens automatically when they select Next. They're then immediately signed in and connected to the lab.

Export a list of users to a CSV file

  1. Go to the Users pane.

  2. On the toolbar, select the ellipsis (...), and then select Export CSV.

    The "Export CSV" button

Next steps

See the following articles: