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Microsoft has seemingly abandoned the idea of rolling out new distinct versions of Windows every couple of years. Instead, it just releases more updates for Windows 10. It let one update sneak out before it was ready last week, showing off a revised Start menu. That build also has another secret to spill. Microsoft is apparently working on cloud recovery options in Windows 10, PCMag reports. 

We’ve all been there: some horrible, data-destroying thing has happened to your computer, and you need to reinstall Windows. At times like that, the last thing you want to do is dig through boxes and manuals to find your Windows install media. If you find it, the system image on it might be years old. With your computer incapacitated, you might not even have a way to make a new, up-to-date installation drive. 

The leaked Windows build has a simple solution to that vexing problem. It offers the option of downloading a fresh copy of Windows from the cloud alongside the option to “reset locally” and reinstall the version you already have. Downloading a fresh build of Windows from the cloud has the potential to save hours of downloading and installing patches for an old version. 

For this feature to work seamlessly, Microsoft would need its hardware partners to provide drivers or rely on the generic ones already bundled in Windows. Otherwise, users would have a fresh, new version of Windows and a bunch of non-functional hardware. That’s a problem most casual users wouldn’t know how to solve. Microsoft has the pull in the industry to make hardware vendors get in line, but it has to be serious about the effort. If OEMs are allowed to ignore the cloud restore option, no one is going to use it. Apple has a similar feature on Macs, but it has complete control over the hardware. So, there are no OEMs to strongarm. 

Microsoft hasn’t commented on any features from the leaked build. It never intended to send that version of Windows 10 out to the Insider program, but the cat is out of the bag. If cloud downloads become an official feature, we should see them in the upcoming 20H1 update in spring of next year. As always, this is a leaked version of non-final software. The cloud download feature may end up delayed or altogether canceled.

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