Finally, it’s back! The Cloud download option in Windows Reset has been missing in action for some time now. But Cloud download reset reappears in Build 19555.1001, aka the latest Fast Ring Insider Preview. I’ve been checking build after build for the past 3 months waiting for it to come back. And now, that wait is over. I see something different after this selection sequence: Settings → Update & Security → Recovery → Get started → Keep my files. A new intermediate step appears as shown here:
The “Cloud download” optioon shows up first in this newly-returned Insider Preview Reset screen.
[Click image for full-sized view.]
What Cloud Download Reset Reappears in Build 19555.1001 Really Means
Before incorporating this new capability, the Windows 10 Reset function could only use local files to reset Win10. This might or might not work, depending on state of image files on that PC. But some PCs might have file system issues, malware problems, or disk drive woes. In such cases, a clean install using alternate installation media is the only option. No more: this option means users can download the latest Feature Upgrade image directly from Microsoft’s servers.
I heard from Aaron Lower last year, MS Engineering Program Manager in charge of image recovery in Windows 10. He mentioned that for people with fast Internet connections, this option might be faster than a local reinstall. That’s because of the time involved in integrity checks for on-disk OS components used during reset. That said, the window shown above clearly states that “Cloud download can use more than 4GB of data.” I usually get about 0.5 Gbps from my nominal gigabit Internet link from Spectrum/Charter. 4GB of data is 32 Gigabits. At half a gig per second, that’s 64 seconds to do the download, or just over a minute. At 0.1 Gbps, that’s 5 times slower, or 320 seconds (5.33 minutes). Go slower and it takes longer, so you’ll have to decide on your threshold of pain.
My gut feel is that if you’ve got 100 Mbps download speeds or higher (and don’t pay for metered bandwidth), the Cloud option makes sense. Otherwise, stick to the local files, or build yourself an ISO instead. When this option shows up in Feature Update 2004 (aka 20H1), it will be a welcome addition to the Windows 10 recovery/repair arsenal — at least for those with fast enough Internet connections to warrant its use.