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Please explain Power Automate Desktop Licensing--Why not just use Azure free 750 hours

Our use case is we receive emails with a pdf and we need to extract the pdf from the email, so we were recommended PA desktop and it works but i have a few questions

If we run PA desktop every 12 hours, will that mean the software knows when the previous time it was ran and will check for all emails within the last 12 hours?  Or how does it know what emails to check when we turn it on and run it.  It kind of seems like it gets some emails, but not all since the last time we ran it.

 

We are planning on using the scheduler code where it turns on the flows at a set schedule.  If this is the case, why should we upgrade to a 15 and 45 dollar license(we have m365 license).    

Would we be able to use the free azure 750 hours windows to host this?  Or am i missing something and there is an easier way to do this.  

 

12 REPLIES 12
Pstork1
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Most Valuable Professional

You can more easily extract and store attachment from an email using regular Power Automate.  I would not use PAD for that purpose unless you want to store them somewhere on your desktop.



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oh, that would be totally much better.   can you share how to do that ?  we were told they needed to be downloaded and then extract/scrape the email address that way.

we also have a flow where we get a link to a 1 page html doc with an email address, so we extracted it also using DPA.  you think we can do that on the cloud as well

Pstork1
Most Valuable Professional
Most Valuable Professional

Are the PDFs sent as attachments to the email or some other way?  Attachments are easy to get using Power Automate.  Also when you say extract/scrape the email address it sounds like you are getting that out of the contents of the PDF.  If that is true then you may be better served using PAD.



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ok got it.  So in that case, whats the required minimum to get PAD going on a scheduler?  Could we use the free 750 hours in the cloud?  is that silly or is there  some other way to do this 

will the PAD flow if we run it every 12 hours check the previous 12 hours of email, or less than that.  how many emails does it know to check and download if its not always on.  

If we run PA desktop every 12 hours, will that mean the software knows when the previous time it was ran and will check for all emails within the last 12 hours?  Or how does it know what emails to check when we turn it on and run it.

 

The retrieve email messages action has a parameter for reading only the unread emails.

So if you enable this, PAD will pick up only the unread emails lying in the inbox from the previous run and in every run.

 

VJR_0-1670554624708.png

 

Also make sure to enable this so that the email is marked as read after being processed by PAD and will not be picked up in the next run.

VJR_1-1670554740484.png

 

Regarding PDF extraction:

Not sure if the PDFs are text based or image based.

Depending on that use Text extraction or OCR action.

 

Pass the PDF text to the below action and extract the email address

VJR_2-1670555117414.png

 

 

To run the desktop flow in an attended mode (running on your desktop) you would need the Power Automate with RPA license.  The 750 hours in the cloud won't apply.  To run the desktop flow unattended (On a VM or some other desktop) you'll need the Power Automate license with RPA and an unattended Add-on.

 

If all you want is scheduling you can use the desktop AT scheduler to run the flow at the appointed time using your credentials.  That doesn't require a premium license, Just a Windows 10/11 license.



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Hi @Pstork1 

 

For my knowledge could you share information on what is a "desktop AT scheduler"?

If it is the Windows Task Scheduler I have tried using a Desktop Flow URL in the Task scheduler and it did not accept, therefore would like to know of the free way of scheduling desktop flows with a Windows license.

 

Can confirm what VJR is saying. Running a flow from URL currently requires either a paid or a trial license. 

You mean running it from cloud initiatint a desktop power automate requires a license 

 

But for opening emails in pda on a schedule we don't need any license 

Running flows manually in PAD is free.

Running a desktop flow from the cloud is a premium functionality.

Using the Run URL (flow details) to run flows locally, is also premium functionality.

To run a flow on a schedule you either need to schedule a cloud flow to run your desktop flow, or use the run flow URL and create a schedule locally (via the task scheduler or any other tool). 

 

I hope this helped to clarify your question.

Pstork1
Most Valuable Professional
Most Valuable Professional

It used to be possible to create a shortcut on the desktop and run that with the Windows Task Scheduler.  I just checked and creating a desktop shortcut is now a premium action.  So there is no way that I know of to run an attended desktop flow on a schedule without a Premium license.



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Why would a win11 function of creating a schedule to run a win program be related to PDA?  Or are you saying win scheduler can open it, but PDA wont automatically start the flow once PDA is opened

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