Some Windows PCs won’t get the smart upgrade they were promised – are you affected?

Microsoft recently lifted the lid on its next generation of Windows 11 with Copilot+, the company’s beefed up artificial intelligence chatbot assistant that will be baked into all new Windows PCs with Qualcomm Snapdragon X Elite and Snapdragon X Plus processors. One of the headline new features for these extra powerful computers is called Recall, a tool Microsoft described as “like having photographic memory” – but after a severe backlash, the tech giant is scrapping Recall for the launch of Copilot+.

Recall is a feature that, in basic terms, takes a screenshot of everything you do on your PC and stores it so you can go back and search for things easier when you need to find them using Copilot’s artificial intelligence (AI). When you search for, say a photo of a dog you’d been thinking of, Recall scans all the screenshots that are stored locally to faster find what you’re looking for.

But this screenshot method caused a backlash, with critics claiming a computer that makes a visual record of everything you do is a major privacy concern. As reported in The Register, Microsoft’s FAQs on Recall said: “Recall does not perform content moderation. It will not hide information such as passwords or financial account numbers. That data may be in snapshots that are stored on your device, especially when sites do not follow standard internet protocols like cloaking password entry.”

Following this, Microsoft has now confirmed that rather than rolling out on all Copilot+ PCs, many of which are due to hit store shelves this week, instead Recall we remain as a preview for the select few Windows users worldwide who are signed up to Microsoft’s Insider program and receive previews of new software early. It means even if you get a shiny new Copilot+ laptop, you won’t necessarily be able to use Recall any time soon.

“Recall will now shift from a preview experience broadly available for Copilot+ PCs on June 18, 2024, to a preview available first in the Windows Insider Program (WIP) in the coming weeks,” Microsoft announced in a blog post.

“Following receiving feedback on Recall from our Windows Insider Community, as we typically do, we plan to make Recall (preview) available for all Copilot+ PCs coming soon.”

Just weeks ago at the launch of the Microsoft Surface Pro and Surface Laptop at the company’s headquarters, Microsoft touted Recall as one of the new Copilot+ PC’s biggest new tools.

“Recall leverages your personal semantic index, built and stored entirely on your device. Your snapshots are yours; they stay locally on your PC,” the firm said. “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.”

But for now if you get your hands on a shiny new Copilot+ machine – which will also be available from companies such as Asus, Lenovo, HP and Samsung – you’ll have to sign up to preview potentially unstable versions of Windows 11 in order to test out Recall. You can preview the controversial feature on compatible PCs from Tuesday 18 June.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *