Microsoft’s May 2020 update for Windows 10 brings the addition of cloud recovery to the operating system, making it much easier to reinstall Windows using new installation files downloaded from Microsoft.
What is cloud recovery?
Cloud recovery brings the advantages that would come with using up-to-date USB installation media created using the Media Creation Tool, with the convenience that comes with using the built-in Windows reset features.
Cloud recovery reinstalls and resets Windows using new installation files, this can be useful if you are experiencing issues with your current Windows installation but do not wish to worry about drive partitions or creating installation media.
Cloud recovery can be used within Windows or from the “Advanced options” boot screen if you are unable to boot into Windows.
To follow this tutorial, you’ll need to ensure that you’re running Windows 10 with the May 2020 update installed, version 2004 or newer. Downloading the necessary installation files in this tutorial can use up-to more than 4GB of data.
Before we continue, it is important to understand that you will want to have backed up any files you wish to keep to an external medium, whether it be a USB drive or a cloud storage service. The methods I show in this tutorial will remove all data, including files and applications, from your system’s drive.
Your data is your responsibility, Richard Tech is not responsible for any loss of data following this tutorial.
Using cloud recovery within Windows
To get started, open the Settings app and go to “Update & Security”. From here, you’ll want to select “Recovery” from the menu on the left-hand side. Under “Reset this PC” click “Get started” to begin the process – this will bring up the wizard where we can select our options and customise any settings.
As we’re looking to go for a clean install experience, select “Remove everything” now we can choose to use the cloud download feature or use existing Windows recovery files located on the system, we’ll be using the cloud download for the advantages mentioned at the start of the tutorial.
By default, some options are already selected but this can be customised if you wish to do a more thorough deletion of data on your drive or erase all your drives and not just your Windows drive.
Double check that you’re happy with the options selected and then continue. You’ll then have a final chance to double check everything and then click “Reset” to begin.
Windows will now start to download the installation files it needs and restart automatically, when it’s done, you’ll be greeted by the Windows setup and can configure your computer as if it were new.
Using cloud recovery from advanced start-up
If you’re struggling to get to the desktop but can reach advanced start-up, you can still make use of cloud recovery to reinstall Windows. To use cloud download within advanced start-up your computer will need to be connected to the internet via ethernet.
Advanced start-up can be started from the same “Recovery” section of the settings app as the previous method, or you can find it by clicking “Restart” on your Start Menu or lock screen whilst holding the Shift key. It may also automatically load if your computer is struggling to boot.
If advanced start-up isn’t obtainable, you may want to look into reinstalling Windows 10 using external installation media.
When you’ve loaded into advanced start-up, select “Troubleshoot” from the initial list of options and then select “Reset this PC”. As we’re looking to go for a clean install experience, select “Remove everything” and your computer will restart into the resetting procedure.
From here we can now select “Cloud download” and, if you have multiple drives, choose whether we want to remove the data from only the Windows system drive, or all the drives connected to the computer. You also have the choice between a more thorough data removal or a faster process.
Before clicking “Reset”, Windows will give you the opportunity to double check the choices you have made. When you’re ready to continue, click “Reset” and your computer will begin to download the files it needs and begin the resetting process.
When it’s done, you’ll be greeted by the Windows setup and can configure your computer as if it were new.
So, there you have it, Windows has been reinstalled on your system using new Windows installation files downloaded from Microsoft.
Windows should be able to find most of the drivers it requires automatically, but you may still need to install some specialised drivers such as graphics drivers manually, depending on your system configuration.