A few weeks ago, I had the pleasure and privilege of sitting in on an NDA, Windows Insider MVP only briefing. It came from Aaron Lower, Microsoft’s Program Manager on the Core OS and Intelligent Edge (COSINE) Fundamentals team. Some of what I learned then I can now share with you, because Aaron has “guest-written” a post to the Windows Insider blog. It’s entitled “Optimize Windows 10 PC reset using the cloud.” It’s very much worth reading, but I’ll recap some high points here. In a nutshell, it reports that Windows Insider Previews Builds 18970 and up — 20H1 gains cloud reset capability.
What Does 20H1 Gains Cloud Reset Capability Mean?
It means that when you click Settings → Update & Security → Recovery → Reset this PC, you’ll see a screen like this one on your machine:
Note the Cloud Download option in first position above.
[Click image for full-sized view; Source: Microsoft.]
Note the top item in this new screen. It reads “Cloud download Download and reinstall Windows.” Lower describes the intent of this option very nicely as follows:
You can use the new cloud download option to get Windows from the cloud to reinstall instead of reusing the existing Windows files to construct a fresh copy. This can be a more reliable way to reinstall Windows and, depending on internet speed, can be a faster as well. To achieve a similar result previously you would have to download Windows and create a USB stick, but because this is built-in to Windows it doesn’t require the extra steps of creating a USB stick to do the installation.
I plan to try it out right away on one of my Insider Preview test machines. I ‘d like to see how it works (and how long it takes). But first, I’ve got to make a backup because it will need to be restored again afterward. That’s because my understanding remains that Reset still blows away all your installed apps and applications, personalizations, settings, preferences and so forth. I don’t want to have to redo all that work, so I’ll simply try it out, report on what happens, and then restore the previous backup to return to my normal working environment.