Microsoft Recall

Yusuf Mehdi of Microsoft:

Now with Recall, you can access virtually what you have seen or done on your PC in a way that feels like having photographic memory. Copilot+ PCs organize information like we do – based on relationships and associations unique to each of our individual experiences. This helps you remember things you may have forgotten so you can find what you’re looking for quickly and intuitively by simply using the cues you remember.


Recall leverages your personal semantic index, built and stored entirely on your device. Your snapshots are yours; they stay locally on your PC. You can delete individual snapshots, adjust and delete ranges of time in Settings, or pause at any point right from the icon in the System Tray on your Taskbar. You can also filter apps and websites from ever being saved. You are always in control with privacy you can trust.

Recall is the kind of feature I have always wanted but I am not sure I would ever enable. Setting aside Microsoft’s recent high-profile security problems, it seems like there is a new risk in keeping track of everything you see on your computer — bank accounts, a list of passwords, messages, work documents and other things sent by a third-party which they expect to be confidential, credit card information — for a rolling three month window.

Microsoft says all the right things about this database. It says it is all stored locally, never shared with Microsoft, access controlled, and user configurable. And besides, screen recorders have existed forever, and keeping local copies of sensitive information has always been a balance of risk.

But this is a feature that creates a rolling record of just about everything. It somehow feels more intrusive than a web browser’s history and riskier than a password manager. The Recall directory will be a new favourite target for malware. Oh and, in addition to Microsoft’s own security issues, we have just seen a massive breach of LastPass. Steal now, solve later.

This is a brilliant, deeply integrated service. It is the kind of thing I often need as I try to remember some article I read and cannot quite find it with a standard search engine. Yet even though I already have my credit cards and email and passwords stored on my computer, something about a screenshot timeline is a difficult mental hurdle to clear — not entirely rationally, but not irrationally either.