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Microsoft stops taking screenshots of everything you do on your computer

Microsoft stops taking screenshots of everything you do on your computer

The novelty was short-lived. After a deluge of controversy regarding the recall function, Microsoft has finally given up on enabling the tool by default on Windows 11 devices.

Invoke tool that takes screenshots of your activity // Source: Microsoft

This was supposed to be one of the major new features of the new Windows 11 operating system. In the end, it will be nothing more than another icon in the system's control panel. After announcing with great fanfare its “Recall” tool, which was supposed to allow artificial intelligence to remember everything you do on your computer, Microsoft has backed down and will no longer enable the feature by default on compatible devices.

In a blog post observer By wired mediaMicrosoft explains that the Windows 11 installation experience on Copilot+ PCs will be modified for “To provide a clearer choice» Users regarding whether or not to use Recall on their computers. “If you do not explicitly choose to enable the feature, it will be disabled by default», and Microsoft specifies in particular.

Microsoft is finally concerned about the security of the recall

This huge change is not the only change that Windows will make to its premium functionality. If you activate the function, you will only be able to access it after re-authenticating via Windows Hello (i.e. via facial unlock, fingerprint reading, or entering a PIN). This will prevent anyone with access to your computer from looking into your activity history. The database that allows Recall to search through the mountains of screenshots saved on the device will also be encrypted for added security.

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The page that will or will not allow you to activate the Recall feature on your Copilot+ PC // Source: Microsoft

If these changes are clearly welcome, they come precisely after a storm of controversy over the tool's lack of security. In its basic version, Recall left activity history freely available once the person was identified in their session. It stored the entire search database in plain text, without any protection measures. It's enough to give all computer security professionals a cold sweat and undermine the confidence needed to use such a tool.

Significant privacy risks

So what was supposed to happen happened, and scripts promising to extract all the personal information stored on your computer began to flourish on the web. And among them is what is called “intelligent.”Total recall » It allows, among other things, to recover all passwords that Recall may have seen on the go. OthersIt allows you to retrieve all the screenshots to analyze every small mouse movement made by the user. Pieces of code that can lead to disasters if they fall into the wrong hands.

We know that for people to fully benefit from experiences like Recall, they need trust“, wrote Pavan Davuluri, head of Windows at Microsoft. This trust will therefore come from the choice that will be made during the process of configuring a new device. If history has taught us anything, it is that features that are turned off by default tend to stay that way.

So Recall has gone from a revolutionary novelty for Windows 11 to an embarrassing failure for Microsoft in just a few weeks. It is enough to bring the church of cybersecurity back to the center of Windows Village.

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