Microsoft Teases 'Cloud Download' Feature for Windows 10

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Microsoft released another Windows 10 preview build to Windows Insider Program members yesterday. Most of the build's updates were consistent with its predecessors--meaning it focused on small improvements rather than big changes--but Microsoft teased an upcoming feature. It's called "cloud download," and if Microsoft's brief description is anything to go by, it should make doing an emergency reinstallation of Windows 10 easier than ever.

"Insiders may notice some references to 'Cloud download' relating to PC reset or refresh," Microsoft said in its announcement of Preview Build 18950. "This feature isn’t available and working quite yet. We’ll let you know once it is, so you can try it out!" The Verge said this feature would most likely bring all Windows 10 devices in line with the Surface lineup (which already has a similar feature) and macOS by making it easier to do a clean install of Windows 10 when something goes wrong.

Microsoft offers a cloud recovery option for its Surface devices and why Apple lets Mac owners download macOS via the built-in recovery system. It seems like Microsoft's essentially just bringing the option to all Windows 10 devices rather than leaving it exclusive to its products. That's a win for Windows users--it would be unfortunate if Surface devices got preferential treatment just because they're also made by Microsoft. 

And if Microsoft is moving into the cloud with a Core OS, which is rumored to compete with Chromebooks, it only makes sense to have a cloud recovery system for those devices as well.

Hopefully we'll learn more about what "cloud download" entails sooner than later. Preview Build 18950 belongs to the 20H1 development branch of Windows 10, which is the version expected to debut in the first half of 2020, and Microsoft will probably want to test any recovery options before publicly releasing them. The build is currently available to Fast ring members of the Windows Insider Program; it will reach Slow ring members later.

Nathaniel Mott
Freelance News & Features Writer

Nathaniel Mott is a freelance news and features writer for Tom's Hardware US, covering breaking news, security, and the silliest aspects of the tech industry.