Windows 11 is FINALLY getting a cloud-powered backup and restore feature

Microsoft Store
(Image credit: Future)

What you need to know

  • Microsoft is finally bringing a cloud-powered app backup and restore feature to Windows 11 PCs.
  • Powered by the Microsoft Store, users will be able to restore all the apps from their previous PC when setting up a new PC for the first time.
  • Windows will begin downloading your old PCs apps from the Microsoft Store as your new PC is set up.

Good news! Microsoft is finally adding the ability to back up and restore settings and apps via the Microsoft Store, a feature that will make setting up a new PC for the first time much more straightforward. This feature was announced a year ago at Build 2022, and at Build 2023, the company says the feature is almost ready.

The feature works much like you'd expect. The Microsoft Store remembers which apps you've installed on your current PC, so when you go to set up a new PC for the first time, the Windows setup experience will ask if you'd like to restore a backup from your previous PC.

If the user chooses yes, Windows will automatically apply the old wallpaper and settings and even begin preloading apps you had installed on your old PC. Once the user hits the desktop, they'll see all their previously pinned apps already in the Taskbar, and clicking on them will initiate an automatic download from the Microsoft Store. 

Users will be able to quickly restore apps and settings during setup. (Image credit: Microsoft)

Windows 11 could restore things like the wallpaper and some settings for a little while, but it hasn't been able to restore apps across PCs. Now, with this new feature which will likely begin shipping later this year, users can seamlessly upgrade to a new PC without worrying about having to reinstall all their apps manually. Windows should streamline that process.

It's unclear what happens to apps that were not sourced from the Microsoft Store. Likely, they won't be backed up, but we'll have to test that for ourselves once the feature is made available. In the meantime, Microsoft has unveiled a bunch of new features it's working for Windows 11 later this year, including a new AI assistant, RGB controls, and more.

Zac Bowden
Senior Editor

Zac Bowden is a Senior Editor at Windows Central. Bringing you exclusive coverage into the world of Windows on PCs, tablets, phones, and more. Also an avid collector of rare Microsoft prototype devices! Keep in touch on Twitter and Threads