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HomeTechMicrosoft Delays Release of Its Controversial Recall AI Feature

Microsoft Delays Release of Its Controversial Recall AI Feature



Kyle Barr

If you were chomping at the bit to get your hands on a brand-spanking new Copilot+ PC, you’d have to wait a bit before you can use the Recall feature.
The new slate of Copilot+ computers are still set to launch on June 18, but Microsoft is holding back the auto-screenshotting feature for everyone, including Windows Insiders. The new plan is to eventually release it as a beta-only program while the company works out the security kinks.

Recall is the upcoming Copilot+ feature that acts as a “photographic memory” of your PC. It does this by taking a screenshot of everything you do every few seconds. Then, users can prompt an AI model to search through the images based on the text or picture content they contain.

In an updated blog post published late Thursday, the Redmond tech giant said Recall will come later, and then only members of the Windows Insider Program. The company promised to publish another blog post soon to let WIP members know how to access it.

Microsoft promised Recall was still coming and “soon,” though there’s no definite timeline for when and how. Last week, security researchers and a wary customer base forced Microsoft to backtrack on its plans for Recall. The auto-screenshotting program was originally meant to be enabled on all Copilot+ PCs from the start, though now Windows 11 will give users the option to enable it when they first boot up their new computer.

Security experts pointed out the glaring privacy flaws in Microsoft’s design: the screenshots and text were pretty accessible in the Windows AppData folder, and a bad actor with access to the PC could siphon massive amounts of user data. That could include financial info or any sensitive personal data.

Now, Microsoft will force all users to use Windows Hello to access the timeline feature. Plus, anybody who wants to access the files must go through a Windows Hello Enhanced Sign-in Security check first.

Moving it to a beta program will “ensure the experience meets our high standards for quality and security,” the company said in its updated blog post.

The company also clarified that Recall would still be restricted to the new Copilot+ PCs. According to Microsoft, this is due to the NPU hardware requirements on the new PCs. Copilot+ requires an NPU with at least 40 TOPS to be considered for that class of PC with all the latest AI features.

However, a program called TotalRecall already allows non-Copilot+ PCs access to the Recall feature; no ARM-based chip is required. This does come with drawbacks, as the NPU does a lot of the heavy lifting for the AI features, but if you’re tech-savvy enough and desperate to look back through your PC use history, it’s there if you want it. Just remember, nerdowells may also be interested in accessing those screenshots.



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