The new Reset Your PC option forms part of the latest Windows 10 Insider Preview update
As part of the latest Insider Preview update, Microsoft is trialling a way to let you reset your Windows 10 PC via the cloud.
If you’re seeing strange error messages or your PC isn’t running as it should, the Reset your PC option is a relatively straightforward way of restoring the software to its factory settings. This is also useful if you’re planning to sell your laptop on.
Previously, reinstallations required a backup copy of the software to be stored on a drive or in a recovery partition. In Windows 10 version 1507, Microsoft added the option to run a local reinstall and build a new Windows installation from existing Windows files, without the need for extra disk space to store a compressed, backup copy of Windows.
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Now, as part of Windows 10 Insider Preview Build 18970, the company has added the option to do this local reinstall over Wi-Fi. “We’ve heard feedback that some of you would prefer to use your high-speed internet connection to speed up this process by just downloading Windows,” said Dona Sarkar and Brandon LeBlanc in a Microsoft blog.
This cloud download option will reinstall the same build, version, and edition, that is currently installed on a device. You can still choose whether you want to keep your personal files or erase them, however, because this is a recovery operation, it will remove any apps that have bee installed. This is designed to, hopefully, take the software back to a state before the problems occurred. You can then install apps one-by-one to check which (if any) were at fault.
Additionally, if you select the “Remove everything” option, all your user data will also be deleted. You can learn more about the different Windows 10 recovery options here.
This new cloud download option is available to all Windows 10 devices but is different from the “Recover from the cloud” feature available on some earlier Windows 10 devices.
The updates are part of the latest Insider Preview, a series of previews given to testers in different “rings”. Windows Insiders in the so-called “Fast Ring” get updates prior to those in the Slow Ring, but as the software is in a really early stage, these Fast Ring testers typically experience more bugs and other issues before the updates and builds filter down.
The idea behind the system is for Microsoft to get feedback on features and refine them before adding them to the official build. As a result, there is a chance the cloud download option isn’t rolled out fully, depending on its success during testing.
Elsewhere in the update, Microsoft is testing a new tablet experience for 2-in-1 convertible PCs. This update allows users to keep their desktop view when switching to tablet mode and now has increased spacing between Taskbar icons. The search box on the taskbar can be collapsed into an icon and the File Explorer switches to touch optimised layout.
There’s every chance this update is being tested in anticipation of this year’s Surface event in New York, where Microsoft might be planning to launch a brand new hybrid laptop/tablet product.