Microsoft Recall: an AI-powered tool that remembers your PC activity

Microsoft is introducing a new type of search tool that won’t let you have any secrets as it captures everything you do on your computer.

Microsoft has just presented a new category of AI-driven personal computers called Copilot+. One of the most innovative features is called Recall.

Satya Nadella, the CEO of Microsoft, calls it a tool with “photographic memory.”

But what Recall really does is take images of an active computer screen every few seconds. This information is encrypted and is saved onto a user’s PC hard drive.

Recall can be used to find information once viewed on a PC. This feature is intended to help people find certain content faster.

How does Recall work?

Users can look for information using a search or a timeline bar or simply look through snapshots. When a user finds relevant content, the data is analyzed, and options on what to do with it are given.

Recall can also open the original source from where the snapshot was taken. “It will open the actual source document, website, or email in a screenshot.”

Recall is available in English, Chinese (simplified), French, German, Japanese, and Spanish. The feature is able to get snapshots of searches based on these languages.

Recall can get screenshots from “PC’s timeline based on text-to-text searches in more than 160 languages.”

Can you turn the “photographic memory” feature off?

While the idea behind Recall is to help people find information faster, some people have doubts about the new feature. One such person is Elon Musk, who shared a post on X about “definitely turning this ‘feature’ off.”

Microsoft claims that “screenshots are only linked to a specific user profile and Recall does not share them with other users, make them available for Microsoft to view, or use them for targeting advertisements.”

Nevertheless, users can restrict Recall from taking screenshots or turn off the feature completely.

Where is the information from Recall stored?

The information is stored on local hard disks of Copilot + PCs and is protected using data encryption on your device and (if you have Windows 11 Pro or an enterprise Windows 11 SKU) BitLocker.

An important aspect when using Recall is storage. “The default allocation for Recall on a device with 256 GB will be 25 GB, which can store approximately three months of snapshots.” When the storage is full, the old screenshots are deleted to make room for the new snapshots.

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