It looks as though Microsoft is trying to borrow a feature from Apple that has long been present in macOS: the ability to do a cloud-based restore for the operating system. As it currently stands, if you want to perform a clean install on Windows 10-based machine, you typically either have to use a recovery partition with an image loaded on it, or use physical recovery media (i.e. a DVD or USB thumb drive).
However, what do you do if your recovery partition has become damaged/corrupted or if you don’t have immediate access to recovery media, but need to quickly get back up and running with a functioning operating system? That’s where cloud recovery comes in. On Macs, you can boot into macOS Recovery and reinstall a copy of the operating system by directly downloading it from the internet. Thanks to some sleuthing by WalkingCat, we now know that Microsoft is working on its own solution.
According to the reliable Microsoft leaker, Windows 10 users will be presented with two options: Reset Locally or Cloud Download. The former will allow you to restore your Windows 10 install using currently available solutions (i.e. with physical install media), while the latter will allow you to download a copy of Windows 10 from the internet.
The benefits of this approach are obvious. First of all, you wouldn’t have to deal with installation media or have to worry about a recovery partition taking up valuable space on your HDD or SSD. Secondly, directly downloading a copy of Windows 10 from Microsoft could mean that the most recent patches and security updates are applied in-transit which would save a lot of time post-install.
18950 bootux :— WalkingCat (@h0x0d) July 29, 2019
How would you like to reinstall Windows?
> Cloud download : Download Windows
> Reset locally : Reinstall my existing Windows operating system
Of course, customers would still only have generic built-in drivers installed once Windows 10 is up and running; that is unless Microsoft somehow teams up with its hundreds of hardware OEMs to bundle drivers to make the process as efficient as possible. We could see this not being much of a problem for top tier Windows partners like Hewlett-Packard, Dell, Lenovo, etc.We should note, however, that this is simply a feature that was found in a test build of Windows 10 – build 18950 to be exact – so there’s no guarantee that it will find its way into production builds of the operating system, i.e. the forthcoming Windows 10 20H1 Update.