If you've lost your Windows 8.1 or Windows RT 8.1 PC, or it's damaged beyond repair, you can make the PC you replace it with like your lost or damaged PC.
Making your new PC look more like your lost or damaged PC depends on the following.
Using your Microsoft account. Signing into your PC with your Microsoft account associates your PC settings and information with your account. If you weren't signing in to your PC with your Microsoft account, you can't make a new PC like a lost or damaged PC.
Keeping your files in the cloud. If you kept your files on SkyDrive, you won't have lost them with your PC. You can get to them on any device you use, including the new PC.
Backing up files on your PC with File History. If you set up and used File History to back up personal files that you kept on your PC, you can restore them after you've set up your new PC.
Backing up your PC settings. The individual settings unique to your PC are backed up to SkyDrive by default when you use a Microsoft account. You can only restore these settings if you kept backup turned on.
Here's how to make a new PC like your previous Windows 8.1 or Windows RT 8.1 PC.
Start your new PC for the first time.
During setup, sign in with the same Microsoft account that you used with your previous PC. You'll also be asked for a security code. For more information about verifying your identity, see Two-step verification: FAQ.
When you're asked about how you want to set up your PC, choose the name of your previous PC.
As your new PC continues to set up, you'll get the settings that were backed up for your previous PC.
When your new PC is ready to use, plug in the external drive or connect to the network drive that you used for File History on your previous PC.
The personal files that you backed up with File History on your previous PC will automatically be restored to your new PC. This could take a while depending on how many versions of backed up files you have.
Swipe in from the right edge of the screen, tap Settings, then tap Change PC settings.(If you're using a mouse, point to the bottom-right corner of the screen, move the mouse pointer up, click Settings, then click Change PC settings.)
Tap or click Update and recovery, then tap or click File History.
You'll see the restore progress under Restoring files on this PC.
If you don't want to finish restoring the remaining files, tap or click Stop restoring files.
It's a worthwhile investment to get your PC ready in case it gets lost or damaged. Here's how to make sure that the PC you're using now is set up so you can make a newer PC like it later.
Use your Microsoft account.
This is required because your settings and services are all connected through your Microsoft account. To learn more about Microsoft accounts, see Microsoft accounts.
Save your files to SkyDrive.
Make sure that your SkyDrive has all the files you want on it, and if your PC has a camera, make sure that copies of the photos you take will be saved to SkyDrive automatically.
Open the SkyDrive app to check which files are on your SkyDrive.
When you move files to SkyDrive, you don't keep separate copies of them on your PC. They're only stored on SkyDrive.
In File Explorer, you can drag files from your PC to SkyDrive. To move files to SkyDrive using the SkyDrive app, follow these steps.
Swipe in from the right edge of the screen, then tap Search.(If you're using a mouse, point to the top-right corner of the screen, move the mouse pointer down, then click Search.)
Enter File Explorer in the search box, then tap or click File Explorer.
Tap or click the arrow next to SkyDrive, then tap or click This PC to browse the files on your PC.
Swipe down on or right-click the files you want to move to SkyDrive.
Tap or click Cut.
Browse to a folder on SkyDrive.
Swipe in from the top or bottom edge of the screen or right-click to open the app commands, then tap or click Paste.
Tap or click SkyDrive.
On the Camera roll tab, tap or click Upload photos at good quality or Upload photos at best quality.
Back up the PC settings that are unique to your PC. For more information, see Synchronising settings between PCs.
You can sync settings between your PCs so that they're the same whenever you sign in with your Microsoft account. Some PC settings don't sync, and you might choose not to sync other settings. So it's important to back up any settings that aren't synchronised.
On the Sync settings tab, scroll down to the bottom and make sure that Back up settings is turned on.
Back up files stored on your PC with File History.
Use File History to back up versions of the files you keep in the Pictures, Music, Videos, Documents and Desktop folders on your PC. File History isn't turned on by default. To set up and turn it on, see Setting up a drive for File History.