Microsoft confirms Windows 10 is getting cloud-based OS restore like macOS

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Microsoft has just pushed out the Windows 10 20H1 Build 18950 for Windows Insiders zooming along in the Fast Ring. Most of what it includes is pretty boring, to be honest, but there is one bit of significant interest – this build lays the groundwork for allowing reinstalls of Windows 10 through the cloud rather than fiddling around with a local install.

Tucked in near the bottom of the update notes, Microsoft says “Insiders may notice some references to “Cloud download” relating to PC reset or refresh. This feature isn’t available and working quite yet. We’ll let you know once it is, so you can try it out!” It’s not ready yet then, although it sounds as if it’s not too far off from becoming reality.

MacOS users will be aware that exactly such a feature is already available for macOS. It sounds as if it’s going to work in much the same way on Windows 10, allowing users to automatically install the latest available version of the operating system. Traditional OS reinstalls rely on creating a recover partition on either your HDD/SSD or flash storage. Windows can then use this partition to store important files and folders which are then restored upon OS reinstall. With cloud reinstalls, Microsoft would simply pull down the appropriate information directly from the web.

On MacOS, users are given the options of: a cloud install of the latest version of macOS; a cloud reinstall of the original version of masOS which came with the computer; a local reinstall from the built-in recovery disk.

For proficient PC users this probably won’t make much of a difference on Windows 10. However, cloud reinstalls will greatly simplify the process of recovering OS installs across a wide range of devices from all sorts of PC providers. It’s a further shift towards a cloud-based operating system of course, but it’s hopefully all in the aim of making Windows 10 easier to use and easier to troubleshoot.