How to restore Windows 10 via the cloud

The process has been greatly simplified, adding the ability to restore Windows while retaining user data, reducing the steps and time to get back to using the device.

The next big improvement came with Windows 10 and "no images" recovery. This is possible by rebuilding a new copy of Windows from the existing installation. Since this approach does not use a recovery image, it saves disk storage space and preserves the latest security updates.

The downside to this approach is that it can take more than 45 minutes and can't always repair Windows if the installation is in an excessively corrupt state. And it is precisely in these cases that it can help the new cloud download option in "Reset your PC" that Microsoft has anticipated and that we will see on board Windows 10 20H1, the first feature update of 2020.

You will then be able to use the new cloud download option to reinstall Windows rather than reusing existing Windows files to create a new copy. This should be a more reliable way to reinstall Windows, and depending on your internet speed, it could be even faster. Previously, to achieve this, it was necessary to download Windows and create a bootable USB stick.

With Windows 10 20H1 you will be able to start PC recovery and select the cloud download option by doing the following:

“Start” - “Settings” - “Security Update” - “Reset”.

After selecting "Keep my files" or "Remove all", the "Cloud Download" and "Local Reinstall" options will appear. The cloud download option will connect to Windows Update via your current network connection.

There are also two phases to overcome. The first is the preparation phase, which consists of selecting options from the interface while the background software checks the requirements. During this phase it is necessary to:

  • make sure that the PC does not turn off, therefore it must not be powered by battery;
  • verify that the Windows RE (Recovery Environment) is present and enabled.

Next, you need to scan to see which optional features and languages ​​are installed, check the connection with Windows Update, determine the size of the download and click "Restore".

The download will start automatically and will continue without any interruption. When finished, rebooting into Windows RE (if the recovery was initiated from Windows RE the system will not reboot and will simply continue), the offline phase will begin.

In the second phase, the offline one, it will be necessary to:

  • start Windows RE
  • apply the image from the downloaded payload;
  • choose whether to enable the “Keep my files” option by collecting the user profile from the previous operating system to apply it to the new one;
  • collect drivers from the previous operating system;
  • apply optional features and languages ​​to the new operating system;
  • switch the operating system root folder from the old one to the new one;
  • delete the downloaded payload;
  • restart the new operating system;
  • apply the drivers to the new operating system;
  • apply OEM customizations, including pre-installed Windows apps;
  • customize the out-of-box (OOBE) experience or select “keep my files” by skipping the OOBE operation and proceed to the login screen.

If your device is unable to restart Windows, you can start “Reset this PC” with the cloud download in the Windows recovery environment (Windows RE). If Windows is unable to boot after two consecutive failed attempts, the device should automatically boot into Windows RE.

Select “Troubleshoot”> “Reset this PC”, then select “Keep my files” or “Remove all”. If you have a wired Internet connection, you can select “Download from the cloud” (connection via wireless network in Windows RE may be available depending on the drivers loaded by the PC manufacturer).

This new cloud download option will allow you to reinstall Windows and restore your device to a healthy state. Whether it is booted via Windows 10 settings or screwed in via the Windows RE troubleshooter. The steps and operations are almost identical.

How to restore Windows 10 via the cloud

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