All your privacy questions answered – Computerworld

If you do have a Copilot+ PC, Recall is an optional feature that can capture snapshots of your screen every five seconds. (It won’t capture audio or video — just pictures of what’s on your screen.) You will then be able to search those snapshots using plain-language search. For example, you could say: “Show me that PowerPoint presentation I was looking at three weeks ago, the one with the green bar chart” — or “What was that message Dave sent me about the quarterly budget two months ago?” These searches all happen entirely on your device, and they’ll even work offline. Microsoft’s servers aren’t involved.

It’s a more plain-language way of your PC remembering what you were doing and allowing you to dig through it, and it’s clear how this type of feature could be a boost to productivity for anyone who works on their PC — and anyone using their PC for any other type of task, from online shopping to vacation planning to chatting with friends.

Macs have something similar with Rewind, which also captures your computer activity and lets you search it. But Rewind is a third-party tool, not something built into macOS by Apple.

Microsoft Windows Recall privacy: Search
Windows Recall doesn’t just take screenshots — it uses AI models to analyze the contents so you can search for them in plain language.


Is Microsoft sneaking Recall onto my PC with an update?

No. I can’t state this emphatically enough: Recall will not arrive on your current Windows 11 or Windows 10 PC. As Microsoft puts it, this feature is “exclusive” to those new Copilot+ PCs. It won’t suddenly arrive on any of your existing PCs via a Windows Update or any other mechanism.

Do I have to use Recall?

Recall is completely optional. When you’re signing into a new Copilot+ PC for the first time, Microsoft says you’ll be informed about Recall and given an ability to make a decision. You can choose not to use Recall at that time, in which case it won’t do anything or collect any sort of data.

If you do enable Recall, you’ll see a Recall icon pinned to your taskbar by default, and Recall will also have a system tray icon while it’s running. It’s very visible — it doesn’t just run silently in the background. After all, Microsoft wants you to use Recall to find things.


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