Microsoft is preparing a cloud restore feature for Windows 10: this means that the system will be downloaded over the internet as well as recovering macOS, instead of requiring a USB stick or DVD. A researcher has found that this has been around since 2016, but it is hidden and requires a special command to activate.
Researcher Albacore, known as @thebookisclosed on twitter, managed to access the new “Restore this PC” menu: it asks “How would you like to reinstall Windows?” and offers the options “download from the cloud” (Cloud download) and “restore locally”.
The “download from cloud” button does not work: the researcher explains to the Bleeping Computer that, in order to restore in this way, it is necessary to enter the Windows recovery environment (WinRE) and execute the command sysreset.exe -CloudRefresh.
Windows 10 has enabled cloud restoration for years
That’s when he discovered something curious: this command downloads an old version of Windows 10, the Anniversary Update released in 2016. The functionality has been hidden in the system since then, but will only be tested with users this year.
“It seems that the reason he downloads an old ESD is because the feature itself is very old; maybe it was abandoned long ago and only now recovered? ”says Albacore on twitter.
“The first build with this feature is build 14908, from 16 August 2016, so it is almost 3 years old. It is surprising to see Microsoft recovering this idea after so long ”, he adds.
The latest build of Windows 10, build 18950, is being tested among users of the Insider program and has some references to “download from the cloud” related to PC restoration. “This feature is not yet available or working; we’ll let you know as soon as it is so you can try it out ”, Microsoft promises.
Apple offers a similar feature called MacOS recovery. It has existed since 2011, Mac OS X Lion 10.7: the system downloads the latest version from the internet to reinstall without requiring physical media.
With information: Bleeping Computer.