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Windows 11's 'AI Explorer' debuts as Recall, a feature that remembers everything you do

The official Copilot Plus PC banner

Microsoft has officially announced "Recall," a new feature for Windows 11 that was rumored under the "AI Explorer" name. This tool will keep track of everything you do and let you get back to any moment whenever you want.

During the special May 20 event, Microsoft revealed that Recall can remember apps, websites, chats, files, and much more. Moreover, Recall can dig deeper into specific files, like finding a certain slide in a PowerPoint presentation.

The Recall feature in Windows 11

Here is how Microsoft describes it:

Recall uses Copilot+ PC advanced processing capabilities to take images of your active screen every few seconds. The snapshots are encrypted and saved on your PC’s hard drive. You can use Recall to locate the content you have viewed on your PC using search or on a timeline bar that allows you to scroll through your snapshots. Once you find the snapshot that you were looking for in Recall, it will be analyzed and offer you options to interact with the content.

Recall will also enable you to open the snapshot in the original application in which it was created, and, as Recall is refined over time, it will open the actual source document, website, or email in a screenshot. This functionality will be improved during Recall’s preview phase.

Microsoft's description of Recall in Windows 11 sounds a bit concerning privacy-wise, so it is very important for the company to make sure its users know how it works. The official FAQ page assures that all that data will be gathered in one single timeline and processed locally on your device.

The company also stresses that it won't store your encrypted data anywhere but your local computer and it won't use that information to train its AI models. Also, you will be able to specify what apps or content should never be processed by Recall, plus it will automatically ignore "certain kinds of content," such as InPrivate browsing in Microsoft Edge. Finally, you will be able to pause snapshots at any moment by clicking an icon in the tray area.

As expected, Recall will only be available on "Copilot Plus PCs" with Qualcomm chips and NPUs inside them—no luck for existing hardware with Intel or AMD chips. Also, you will need to allocate at least 25GB (a minimum of 50GB on your drive should be free) of your drive to keep approximately 3 months of snapshots. The Settings app in Windows 11 will let you increase storage allocation for Recall.

Also worth noting is that Recall is currently "optimized for English, Chinese (simplified), French, German, Japanese, and Spanish," but support for more languages is in the plans, plus you can retrieve information in 160 languages.

The first Copilot Plus PCs include Microsoft's Surface Laptop and Surface Pro, Samsung's Galaxy Book4 Edge, and a pair of laptops from Lenovo, Dell, Acer, and HP.

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