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How to use cloud download to reset computer on Windows 10 May 2020 Update

Reset this PC with cloud download option
Reset this PC with cloud download option (Image credit: Windows Central )

Although the Windows 10 May 2020 Update won't reinvent the way we use computers, it ships with a bunch of incremental changes and features, such as the new cloud download option available for the "Reset this PC" recovery experience.

If you're not familiar with it, "Reset this PC" is a feature of the recovery experience that allows you to rollback your device to the factory settings to resolve performance, startup, memory usage, and virtually any software related problems.

The process is done using a locally-available image, but there's a caveat. If this image gets damaged, the reset won't complete successfully, and you'll need to use an alternate method to reinstall Windows 10.

Full review: May 2020 Update brings welcome improvements to everyday essentials

To overcome potential issues resetting a device, the May 2020 Update for Windows 10 introduces a new option for the recovery feature to download the installation files from the Microsoft servers, instead of using the local image.

In this Windows 10 guide, we walk you through the steps to use the Reset this PC feature to restore your computer to a working condition using a fresh image and the cloud download option available with the May 2020 Update.

How to use cloud download and keep files with Reset this PC

To reset your computer while keeping your files using the cloud download option, use these steps:

  1. Open Settings.
  2. Click on Update & Security.
  3. Click on Recovery.
  4. Under the "Reset this PC" section, click the Get started button.

Source: Windows Central (Image credit: Source: Windows Central)
  1. Click the Keep my files option.

Source: Windows Central (Image credit: Source: Windows Central)
  1. Click the Cloud download option.

Source: Windows Central (Image credit: Source: Windows Central)
  1. Click the Next button.
  2. Click the Reset button.

Source: Windows Central (Image credit: Source: Windows Central)

Once you complete these steps, the Reset this PC feature will download a fresh image from Microsoft, and it'll reset your device, preserving your files and settings.

How to use cloud download and erase files with Reset this PC

To reset your computer removing everything on your device using the cloud download option, use these steps:

  1. Open Settings.
  2. Click on Update & Security.
  3. Click on Recovery.
  4. Under the "Reset this PC" section, click the Get started button.

Source: Windows Central (Image credit: Source: Windows Central)
  1. Click the Remove everything option.

Source: Windows Central (Image credit: Source: Windows Central)
  1. Click the Cloud download option.

Source: Windows Central (Image credit: Source: Windows Central)
  1. Click the Change settings option.

Source: Windows Central (Image credit: Source: Windows Central)
  1. Turn off the Clean data toggle switch to remove the files quickly. Or turn on the Clean data switch toggle to remove files and erase the hard drive (recommended when you're trying to get rid of the device).

Source: Windows Central (Image credit: Source: Windows Central)
  1. Click the Confirm button.
  2. Click the Next button.
  3. Click the Reset button.

Source: Windows Central (Image credit: Source: Windows Central)

After you complete the steps, the Reset this PC feature will download a fresh image from the cloud, erase the hard drive, and install a copy of Windows 10.

If you're keeping the device, then once the reset using cloud download completes, you'll need to restore files from backup and reinstall all your applications.

While this option makes it possible to start fresh with a copy of Windows 10, it's not meant to upgrade to a new version. When you use the cloud download option, the recovery feature will download the same version and edition currently installed on your device. If a new version of Windows 10 is available, you'll need to use the Windows Update or other supported methods, such as the Media Creation Tool or Update Assistant.

Mauro Huculak is technical writer for WindowsCentral.com. His primary focus is to write comprehensive how-tos to help users get the most out of Windows 10 and its many related technologies. He has an IT background with professional certifications from Microsoft, Cisco, and CompTIA, and he's a recognized member of the Microsoft MVP community.

4 Comments
  • "After you complete the steps, the Reset this PC feature will download a fresh image from the cloud, erase the hard drive, and install a copy of Windows 10." If the Windows installation is on the same drive I don't see how it can erase the drive?
  • What! The Cloud option installs an old Windows 10 version. If it's going to the effort of downloading Windows who would want it to download an old version. Rubbish! Seems like Windows Defender "Fresh Stat" is a much better feature, this specifically say "up-to-date installation of Windows". Although Fresh Start will always keep your files. So if you want to wipe the PC it's still better to use a USB Stick with the latest Windows 10 on it. Also rubbish! Still confusing having two similar features too.
  • Where does it say that? Or are you saying you tried it and it installed an older version?
  • @bradavon, think about it lol. 1) The latest of versions of Windows 10 is unfortunately now widely known to have some sort of install breaking bugs. The team just doesn't have enough coding hours to test, develop, re-iterate. So they can't test all manner of configs windows 10 runs on. The QA team used to be responsible for this but the bean counters thought it was fine and dandy to have windows insiders replace the QA team lol. 2)In the event you need to reinstall Windows 10 due to a borked new install or cumulative update it's best to go back to the known stable version of Windows 10, ergo the old version that worked. Sure, they could provide an option for users if the want to re-install the new version but people will still complain that the new version still does the same thing and borked up their drive. So yeah, any developer worth their salt will always tell you it's always best to go back to the last known stable and error free version of any application and that applies to operating systems.