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When resetting your Windows 10 or Windows 11 PC, you will be asked if you want to “ Cloud Download” or “Local Restore”. These options work a little differently, and each one has an up and down side. There is a difference between the two.

Both will reinstall Windows on your computer.

The “Reset this PC” feature reinstalls the Windows operating system on your computer. You also have the option to keep or delete your personal files – or even delete your entire drive. But, whatever you do, Windows will replace your system files with fresh files. Later, you will get a new system and you will have to configure it and reinstall your programs.

On Windows 10, go to Settings> Update & Security> Recovery and click “Start” under Reset this PC to find this feature. On Windows 11, you’ll find this feature in Settings> System> Recovery> PC Reset.

Both “cloud download” and “local reinstall” are different ways to get to the same state: such as the new Windows 10 or Windows 11 system. Think of it as a factory reset feature for your Windows PC.

“Cloud download” download system files.

Reset this PC dialog with cloud download and local reinstall options.

When you select “Cloud Download”, Windows will download the latest system files from Microsoft’s servers and use them to reinstall Windows on your computer.

As reset it notes PC interface, it can be more than 4GB in download size. If you have limited internet data or have a slow connection, this may be a problem and you may want to use Local Restore instead.

This option is necessary if your computer’s system files are corrupted. If the “Local Uninstall” option fails and you can’t reset your computer properly, you should try CloudDownload instead.

Believe it or not, if you have a fast internet connection, cloud downloads can actually be faster than a local reinstall. This is because Local Restore works.

“Local Uninstall” uses files on your computer.

If you choose “Local Restore”, Windows will use system files already on your computer to reinstall Windows.

This is much more than sound for Windows. Windows has to go through its files, find the original files, and reassemble them into a new Windows system. Because of this, local reinstall can actually slow down from cloud downloads, especially when you have a fast internet connection.

Microsoft’s Aaron Lower says a local reinstall can take more than 45 minutes.[construct] A new copy of Windows from the current installation ”when he explained how cloud download works differently.

Local reinstall is especially useful if you have Internet data speed limits, slow connections, or your device is offline. This will keep any Windows updates installed on your computer safe.

Also, if the Windows system files on your computer are corrupted, the local reinstall cannot be completed. If you want to reconfigure Windows due to system issues, Cloud Download may be more reliable.

Which one should you choose?

For a typical PC, either a cloud download or a local reinstall will work. Assuming you have a fast internet connection with no hard download limits and your computer is not in bad condition, either your computer should be restored to a new state in due course.

However, some conditions are better for some situations:

  • If you have a high speed internet connection and data is not a concern then use Cloud Download. You can save some time.
  • If you have a slow connection or want to avoid additional downloads, use Local Restore. You will avoid unnecessary downloads.
  • If your computer is not working properly or you have already tried Local Reinstall and it has failed, use Cloud Download.

Whatever you choose, your computer will end up in the same place with the new Windows installation.

And don’t worry: if the local reinstall fails, you’ll see a message telling you there’s a problem. It will not just reinstall Windows with corrupted system files. If the PC completes this process, it works properly.

(If this PC process is complete but you still have crashes, blue screens, or other system issues? This is a sign that your computer has hardware issues instead of software issues) can.)

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