Should you use Cloud Download or Local Reinstall when resetting Windows?


When you are about to reset a PC running Windows 10 or Windows 11, you will always be asked by the operating system if you want to reinstall the system using the form “Cloud Download” or “Local Reinstall”. These two options both serve the same purpose, but the process is slightly different. Each option has its own advantages and disadvantages. Let’s see which is the right choice for you.

Both will help you reinstall Windows on your PC

The “Reset This PC” feature is basically responsible for reinstalling the Windows operating system on your computer. You also have the option to keep your personal files or delete them—or even erase the entire drive. Windows will replace your system files with the new ones. Then you will have a like-new system and will of course have to configure the system and reinstall your programs from scratch.

To find this feature, on Windows 10, navigate to Settings > Update & Security > Recovery and click “Get Started” in the “Reset This PC” section. For Windows 11, you’ll find this feature at Settings > System > Recovery > Reset PC.

As mentioned, both “Cloud Download” or “Local Reinstall” are options that can help you achieve the same goal” Reset Windows 10 or Windows 11 system to its original state. Think of them as factory reset features for your Windows PC.

What is Cloud Download?

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

Note that this downloadable data plan may be more than 4GB in size. Therefore, if your network data plan is limited or your network connection is weak and intermittent, then Cloud Download is not the optimal choice. On the contrary, if your network connection is stable, then Cloud Download will give Windows reinstallation speed quite quickly and simply.

This option will be essential if your PC’s system files are corrupted. In that case, the “Local Reinstall” option may not help reinstall the PC properly, now you should try Cloud Download instead.

What is Local Reinstall?

If you select “Local Reinstall”, Windows will use the system files already on the PC to reinstall Windows.

Windows has to go through its files, find the original ones, and reassemble them into a new Windows system. For this reason, Local Reinstall will often take longer than Cloud Download, especially when you have a fast, stable internet connection. On average, it can take more than 45 minutes to create a new copy of Windows from an existing installation.

In general, Local Reinstall will be useful in cases such as limited network bandwidth, slow network connection, or your device cannot connect to the network. Local Reinstall will also keep the Windows updates that you have installed on your computer.

However, as mentioned, the Local Reinstall process can crash if the Windows system files on your PC are corrupted.

Should I use Cloud Download or Local Reinstall?

For a regular Windows PC, both of these options can help you get there. However, on a case-by-case basis, one option may be more appropriate than the other. Such as:

  • If you have a stable, high-speed Internet connection, and network data is not a concern, use Cloud Download.
  • If you have a slow network connection or do not want Windows to download some more files, using Local Reinstall is reasonable.
  • If your PC is not working properly, or you have tried Local Reinstall with no success, use Cloud Download and vice versa.

Wish you have the most suitable choice!

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