How to reinstall or reset Windows 10 via the Cloud

Windows 10 offers to reinstall or reset Windows 10 using the Recovery method right from within the OS. It does not need to download any form of ISO, and it works well. The Windows team is taking it one step ahead by offering the same feature which can not be initiated from the Cloud. The process downloads a new image from the cloud instead of using the existing Windows 10 files store on the machine. In this post, we will show you how to reinstall or reset Windows 10 via the Cloud. This feature will be available from Windows 10 1909 onwards.

One of the major drawback of recovery or reset without any ISO is when the installation is in a terrible state or is too corrupted. The process will ask you for an ISO if it finds something beyond repair or usable. That is where this latest cloud download option in Reset this PC can help.

Says Microsoft, The cloud download option will reinstall the same build, version, and edition, that is currently installed on your device. This new cloud download option is available to all Windows 10 devices and is different from the “Recover from the cloud” feature available on some earlier Windows 10 devices.

Read: Fresh Start vs. Reset vs. Refresh vs. Clean install.

How to reset or reinstall Windows 10 via the Cloud

Microsoft rolled out this feature when a lot of feedback came which talked about unsuccessful attempts to use Reset this PC feature. To make the process more reliable and faster, this feature is being introduced. Here is how it works.  There are three phases of this process:

  1. Initiate Cloud Reinstall/Reset
  2. Preparation
  3. Offline.

Using Cloud reinstall, Windows Team has saved you from the trouble of downloading the ISO. Many complained about the trouble they face downloading the ISO from the internet or creating the bootable device. Now, Microsoft Cloud Reset will do this job for you.

Cloud Reset Reinstall Windows 10

1] Initiate Windows 10 Cloud Reset/Reinstall

To reset yourWindows 10 computer using the Cloud Download option, follow these steps:

  1. Open Settings
  2. Navigate to Update & Security
  3. Click Recovery
  4. Select Get started under Reset this PC
  5. You will see two options Cloud download & Local Reinstall
  6. Select Cloud download to proceed
  7. Once you are sure, click the Reset button.

Cloud Reset Reinstall Windows 10

Windows 10 will now start downloading the files from the Cloud to perform a Reset or Reinstall. The Cloud download option will connect to Windows Update over your current network connection. If you have a high-speed internet connection, then it is going to be a lot faster.

You can also access this feature via the Advanced Startup Options. After selecting Troubleshoot > Reset the PC option, you will be offered two options – Cloud download and Local reinstall.

2] Preparation phase

As soon as you click on Cloud download, the reset process starts its work in the background. It checks for the following things to make sure the download works as expected.

  1. Ensure the device is not on battery power
  2. Checks if the Windows Recovery Environment (Windows RE) is present and enabled
  3. Scans to find a list of optional features and languages are installed
  4. Checks connectivity with the Windows Update and determines download size.

When you are done with your options in the front-end and click on the Reset button, the download starts. Once the download is complete, the process will move to the Offline phase by rebooting the computer in Windows RE.

3] Offline phase

The steps involved are:

  • Boot to Windows RE
  • Apply image from the downloaded payload
  • Gather user profile from the previous OS and apply to the new OS
  • It gathers Drivers
  • Optional features and languages of the prior installation, and use it to the new one.
  • Switch OS root folder from the previous OS to the new OS
  • Delete downloaded payload
  • Reboot into the new OS, and apply drivers, OEM customization, preinstalled apps.
  • Reboot to the Out-Of-Box-Experience (OOBE)
  • (Keep my files) Skip OOBE and proceed to login screen

This will complete Cloud Reset or Reinstall in Windows 10.

Troubleshooting if Cloud reinstall fails

If your computer is not able to boot into Windows, you can reset the computer using the cloud download option from the Windows Recovery Environment (Windows RE). When Windows is unable to boot after two consecutive failed attempts, the device should boot into Windows RE automatically.

If you previously connected over WiFi, then it will still work but will depend on drivers loaded by the PC manufacturer. We always suggest using an Ethernet port if available.

Does Windows 10 Cloud Download look good?

There are a few things still missing in the Cloud download. In case of a connection failure, does it redownload the whole ISO again? Because this has been the primary reason why many prefer to download the ISO and create bootable devices. Does it roll back if there are multiple failures? Does it allow you to use the Windows while the download is in progress? It is important for those who don’t have very high-speed internet and download an ISO can take about 40 minutes.

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Anand Khanse is the Admin of TheWindowsClub.com, a 10-year Microsoft MVP Awardee in Windows (2006-16) & a Windows Insider MVP. Please read the entire post & the comments first, create a System Restore Point before making any changes to your system & be careful about any 3rd-party offers while installing freeware.