Windows is getting the Internet Recovery feature that Macs have had since 2011

Among all the ways you can start up your Mac, the Internet Recovery option is perhaps the most useful troubleshooting feature. First debuted as part of the OS X Lion update eight years ago in July 2011, Internet Recovery is now coming to Windows 10 PCs courtesy of Microsoft.

The Verge spotted this line in the release notes for Windows 10 Insider Preview Build 18950.

Insiders may notice some references to ‘Cloud download’ relating to PC reset or refresh. This feature isn’t available and working quite yet. We’ll let you know once it is, so you can try it out!

The feature was recently brought to Microsoft’s Surface devices which can download a copy of Windows 10 and reinstall it on the device when in “recover from the cloud” mode. And now, the very same feature is coming to Windows 10 PCs with the upcoming software update.

In macOS, a hidden recovery partition allows the user to boot their computer into standard Recovery Mode in order to perform various troubleshooting tasks, such as repairing disk errors, using Safari to access online resources, installing or reinstalling macOS, etc.

Its cousin, Internet Recovery Mode, makes it easy to install the most recent version of macOS that the feature automatically downloads from Apple’s servers. It’s a great fallback mechanism for those times when your computer has stopped functioning and nothing could bring it back up because the startup volume has been corrupted.

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Apple stopped shipping any recovery media with Mac computers years ago, replacing these with Internet Recovery. As a matter of fact, our video editor Harris Craycraft took advantage of Internet Recovery to install a fresh copy of macOS onto his mom’s Mac after replacing the factory SSD with OWC’s speedy Aura Pro X2 SSD, as shown near the end of the above video.

TUTORIAL: Here are some useful Mac startup keyboard combinations

You can start up your Mac in Internet Recovery mode easily by restarting the computer and holding down the Command (⌘) – Option (⌥) – R keys on the keyboard immediately upon hearing the startup chime.

Continue holding the keys until you see an animated globe along with a message saying, “Starting Internet Recovery. This may take a while.” If you’d like to instead boot the computer in standard Recovery Mode (it doesn’t require Internet access), hold down the keys Command (⌘) – R after restarting your Mac and continue holding them until the Apple logo appears.