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Microsoft's New Recall Feature: Why You Should and Should Not Use It

Updated: Jun 6

Heard of Microsoft Windows 11's New Recall Feature? Here is why you should -- and should NOT use it.

In Windows 10, Microsoft took a shot at keeping track of what you did so that you could go back and find things easily. It really did not work out the way they had hoped for a variety of reasons, so it faded away. Last week, Microsoft announced their newest line of Surface devices armed with ARM-powered processors and Windows 11 Recall. Windows Recall, essentially, is powered by the ability of the ARM processor's AI capabilities and helps you find things you have done on your computer in the past, and BOOM -- here is what you are looking for. Fully functional computer search across every aspect of your computer use. This is a simplified explanation because we could go on and on about how the Snapdragon X processors work, but that's not what we are here for, so there it is.

What does Microsoft Recall Do? Recall when coupled with the Microsoft Surface device powered by the Snapdragon X processor is designed to help enhance your productivity by helping you find information more efficiently. That's what Microsoft says and how they are sugarcoating this to the general public. Let’s explore the key features of Microsoft Recall in Windows 11 with the Snapdragon processor:

  1. Real-Time Screen Recording:

  • Recall captures screenshots of your active window every few seconds, recording your PC activity in real-time. These snapshots are analyzed by the on-device Neural Processing Unit (NPU) and an AI model to extract relevant data1.

  1. Natural Language Search:

  • You can use natural language to search through your snapshots. Recall helps you find what you’ve seen on your PC by using the clues you remember. Whether it’s text or visual content, you can scroll back through time and retrieve the information you need.

  1. Cocreator in Paint:

  • With Cocreator, you can describe the image you want to create using your ink strokes and words. This feature makes it easier to refine and evolve your creative ideas in near real-time. AI assists you in expressing your concepts.

  1. Live Captions with Translation:

  • Live Captions provide consistent English captions for audio passing through your PC. Now, with live translation, you can experience real-time captioning in English. It’s a powerful accessibility feature that enhances communication and understanding.

  1. AI-Powered Magic Mask in Davinci Resolve:

This is all well and good -- Right? So, what's to worry about?

A LOT!! Read on. Please.

1. Privacy Concerns

Who's #1? You are... and your privacy is -- as is the privacy of your clients and their data. One of the top concerns about this feature is privacy. Microsoft has explained many times that Windows Recall stores the snapshots on the computer, and the feature uses on-device AI models to process the information. However, it'll never be clear whether or not the feature sends any type of data to the company's servers. As of right now, there is no clear answer as to how to secure this information -- or if it will ever be possible to keep it out of the hands of Microsoft and/or its partners -- many of whom have been victims of data breaches.

2. Security Concerns

Security is also another major concern using Microsoft Recall because there does not seem to be any built-in security features, and we are all well to aware of data breach statistics. On one hand, the idea that the Recall data never leaving your machine sounds good because then no one sees it -- right? But what happens when the computer you use is infected with malware, or worse -- someone on your network is infected with ransomware?

The default security from Microsoft is its built in BitLocker if it is enabled, which is OK if you are protected by a company like STCNtech, but if you are not and your in-house IT department does not turn it on -- you are at risk because your antivirus/malware protection may not be enough. And by default, BitLocker does not force your device to be password protected. Enterprise-level networks all password lock their devices, but we see small organizations that do not every day. And these Surface devices are aimed directly at these organizations. This could be a gaping hole for bad actors to access all of your data, and all it takes is one hole for them to get in and close your business down.

Also, Windows Recall doesn't moderate content on the snapshots, meaning that passwords, bank account numbers, and other sensitive information will be even more easily accessible if at any time you paste this information in plain text anywhere, or you have to review your information from any of your accounts.

3. Storage Needs

Windows Recall isn't cheap in storage since it requires a lot of space to build and maintain the database.  If you have a device with 256GB SSD, the default space allocation will be 25GB. On a 512GB SSD, the default storage allocation will be 75GB, and if you have a 1TB SSD, the default space allocation will be 150GB. Furthermore, it's important to note that 25GB will only store up to three months of Recall data, so if you want to go further in time, you will only have to allocate more space, but you may also need to upgrade the storage to change the settings.

Want to disable it? Here's How:

Head into Settings and then into Privacy & Security, then Recall & Snapshots. Once you are in you can toggle the feature on and off. Note that this will not delete any existing data. You will need to click Delete Snapshots to make that happen.

To find out more information on how the TechSperts at STCNtech can help you stay secure from your endpoints to the cloud, contact the TechSperts at STCNtech us today. Give us a call, shoot us an email, fill out our form -- we will keep you safe and secure -- and show you how to make the best use of AI in your day-to-day business whether you waht to use CoPilot, Recall, or ChatGPT.

Contact us TODAY - 610-910-9347 - or click here

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