We wrote a week ago about a new “Cloud Download” restore feature for Windows 10 which would download a new copy of Windows 10 from Microsoft’s cloud when you wish to reset/fix your PC.

Now more detail has emerged, courtesy of Windows 10 hacker Albacore.

He revealed the feature currently downloads  Windows 10 Build 14393 ie Redstone 1, from August 2016, suggesting it is in fact an old feature which Microsoft is reviving.

The feature first showed up in Build 14908, from 2016, and download the same build of Windows as the Media Creation Tool, with no sophisticated customization or differential downloading.

As currently designed it would obviously only work with networking already set up, ie from inside Windows, as a refresh or reset option.

Interestingly the Surface Hub does include a Recover from the Cloud option which works when the device is otherwise inaccessible and downloads Windows from the Cloud.

Microsoft notes:

If for some reason the Surface Hub becomes unusable, you can still recover it from the cloud without assistance from Microsoft Support. The Surface Hub can download a fresh operating system image from the cloud, and use that image to reinstall its operating system.

You may have to use this type of recovery process under the following circumstances:

  • The Surface Hub or its related accounts have entered an unstable state
  • The Surface Hub is locked

This, of course, works best when your device is plugged into an Ethernet port.  Ultimately, like the Surface Hub, we see this as a way for Microsoft to turn your PC into an appliance which can be reliably reset, just like your router.

We will keep an eye on the feature and let our readers know more as it emerges.

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