The 20H1 Update for Windows 10 includes a "Cloud Download" that downloads the latest Windows files from Microsoft and uses them to reinstall Windows. Now Microsoft Aaron Lower has explained exactly how the cloud download works.
In a blog post on Microsoft's Windows Insider Blog, Lower discusses the history of Windows 1
The next major enhancement came with Windows 10 and Imageless Recovery. A new copy of Windows will be created from the existing installation. Because this approach does not use a recovery image, disk space is saved and the latest security updates are preserved. The downside of this approach is that it can take more than 45 minutes and Windows can not always be repaired if the installation is in really bad condition or too damaged. Here the latest cloud download option under "Reset this PC" can help.
Apart from the extra time and a clean Windows installation, the default image recovery feature has another issue that Lower does not mention: if you have the latest Windows updates installed, you'll need to install them after the reset.
The new cloud download feature avoids these disadvantages. Instead of trying to capture all the files you need from your computer's local storage, Windows can download the latest Windows installation files from Microsoft's servers. You will receive the latest files so that no major updates are required afterwards. It's like creating and reinstalling a USB drive with the latest version of Windows 10, except that you do not need to create installation media.
To use this feature with the 20H1 update of Windows 10 currently under development, you only need to under Settings> Update and Security> Recovery, click Getting Started under Reset This PC. After you've decided to either keep your files or remove everything from your PC, you can choose "Cloud Download" to download the installation files from Microsoft's servers, or "Local Reinstall" to get the local files on your system Using also explains exactly what happens when resetting. In summary, Windows will download the files and then restart them in Windows RE, the Windows recovery environment. During the installation process, the drivers are tracked by your current Windows system to ensure that your hardware continues to function. It also applies "OEM customization, including pre-installed Windows apps," so you do not have to worry about removing all bloatware components installed by your manufacturer on your PC. You may also need the function "Restart" for this. For more information, see the blog post.
Cloud Download is also available in the recovery environment, which loads when you can not start your PC. The "Reset this PC" feature allows you to download new files from Microsoft and reinstall Windows, even if Windows itself is corrupted and unable to boot.
Lower notes that a connection is made over a wireless network during recovery The environment can be a problem – it is up to the PC manufacturer to load drivers that allow or disallow this.
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