Microsoft is testing new features in Windows Recall: Screenray and Topics

Jun 18, 2024
Windows 11 News

It appears that Microsoft is not yet done with Recall. The A.I. tool, which was postponed due to some concerns regarding the quality and security, is getting some new features.

You could say that Recall was, you know, recalled. For those unaware, Recall is a tool that was designed to capture the screen of Windows devices, once every five seconds. These are essentially screenshots of everything you do on your computer, except private mode in browsers and DRM-protected data. The data the tool saves is then processed by A.I. which the user can interact with using natural language, to search for their activity. If that doesn't raise privacy concerns, I don't know what will.

And it did, security experts and users criticized Microsoft for hastily bringing Recall to Windows PCs, calling it unnecessary and intrusive. The complaints pointed out the fact that it was an opt-out feature, i.e. it was enabled by default on Copilot+ PCs. Martin pointed out several concerns about Windows 11 Recall on

Now, you would think that Microsoft would at least try to make some efforts to improve the security of the app, or better yet, toss it in the bin. But that's not happening, we got to have A.I. in everything.

Windows Recall adds two new features: Screenray and Topics

According to Albacore on Tom's Hardware, the most recent Canary Build (26236.5000) of Windows 11 in the Insider Preview Program, brings two new features to the controversial tool. The first of these is called Screenray. As the name suggests, Screenray instantly analyses the content on the screen. Since it works in real-time, so you could ask questions about the content immediately, and Recall will provide the information. The app allows you to select text, links and images. It could be used to translate text from one language to another. Screenray can be accessed by the Win + Shift + D hotkey, and it opens a tool that works independently, i.e. it does not require you to open Recall.

Topics is the other feature that is coming to the Recall app. It changes the way how the tool works. Instead of creating a new snapshot when it is run, Recall will display existing snapshots in a grid format. While the A.I. tool will take screenshots in the background, users can manually capture a snapshot with the Now button, that has been placed in the top right corner of the window. Recall automatically adds tags to snapshots, to make it easier to search for text or visual content, which will then let you search for a specific tag. You can create Topics manually. Topics are collections of a set of results that are tagged under the same name. Saving a Topic will display a grid of relevant results, a search filter. Users will be able to access Topics from the home page in the Recall app.

The report also mentions that Copilot support has been added to Recall. The menu that appears when you click on content in a snapshot now has an option that lets you ask Copilot about it, e.g. to describe an image, find similar images, or even create a similar image.

On a side note, Samsung is the latest to join the Copilot+ bandwagon. The electronics giant has launched the Galaxy Book4 Edge, and the laptop which is powered by a Snapdragon X Elite processor, ships with Windows 11 and Copilot+.

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Microsoft is testing new features in Windows Recall: Screenray and Topics
Microsoft has added some new features to Windows Recall in the Insider Preview Program.
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  1. Anonymous said on July 1, 2024 at 2:19 am

    microsoft can come out with all of this new crap and can’t fix windows 11

  2. Anonymous said on June 28, 2024 at 3:55 pm

    microsoft replay is big time spyware lock up all of the ones that made replay and ai it is called forced spyware

  3. MS Cult said on June 25, 2024 at 4:24 pm

    I “recall” a time when Windows respected user privacy and choice. No longer!

  4. Anonymous said on June 25, 2024 at 12:16 am

    You can start by firing the sales team at Microsoft! It’s just corporate greed – not a single user woke up and thought “You know what Windows needs? More spyware and adverts”. None of this benefits the end user.

    As someone who grew up with a BBC B micro, learned BASIC, went to uni and used Sun Sparc workstations, learned DOS, watched Windows develop over the years, tried magazine disk software, used the early internet with dial up, watched it grow, and now has become completely and utterly disillusioned as time has gone on… This is not what I imagined the future to look like.

    I switched to Linux in 2016 because I didn’t like the way the spyware apparatus was forming. Where has all the innovation gone? Oh sure, AI, like a way more advanced Eliza, but you can count on one hand the number of new innovations – blockchain anyone, or has that fallen out of fashion now? Where are the new software applications that make you want to try things? Remember when morphing photos was new, or Kai’s Power Tools, or what about Geocities hosting so many different, innovative, and creative ideas. Where has the “fun” gone in computing. Today it’s just corporate spyware with locked down PC’s, and worse still, you are expected to pay for it and you do not “own” it. How did we get it so wrong when Amazon, Apple, Google, Meta, Microsoft have become such dominant forces? Where’s the little guy with an innovative idea? Where’s the choice? I not only detest modern computing, I’m also actively avoiding it.

    I want RISC-V architecture running open source software, where everyone is welcome. I want programmers showing their true skills and have the freedom to do so. I want to see the new Meta’s and the new Apple’s, with a new Geocities Meshtastic web. I want people using weird graphic formats on self hosted websites that aren’t WordPress (Wordmess). I want the freedom to build a better internet and not this locked down, spying, soul crushing disaster that we have created. Please, we desperately need a breath of fresh air in this industry!

  5. Tim said on June 21, 2024 at 3:06 pm

    Am I alone in thinking this ‘screenray’ name is somewhat humorous and ill picked? Bordering on a “freudian slip” meme?

    Because, it conjures up likeness with the ‘Stringray’, a specific brandname for a of rogue cellphone tower device used for surveillance and spying.
    Not the best if you are looking to distance yourself from that message and reduce worries in the public. It certainly sets them up to be easily attacked on the confidence vector like that, in that the average user might not understand tech, but they’ll have enough memory of bad press about stringray type devices.
    But like I said, it is bordering on slip meming, aka what the mind is full of the mouth flows over with… and they could just be dying to point out what this has really big potential for.

    The actual features added, looks more like a mixed big bag of not wanting to miss the train on getting people dependent on *their* ML/AI stuff. Nothing inventive, just wanting to get there first, not really going to impress anyone but tech-ignorant old people. Which incidentally are the most likely group to actually want it, with their declining mental faculties.

    1. TelV said on June 22, 2024 at 8:42 am

      @ Tim,

      Deathray would be better. If users don’t allow ads, privacy access and all the other junk M$ wants to load us up with they get zapped.

  6. fish said on June 20, 2024 at 6:37 pm


    > NO, it’s not a clown company.

    Please refer to M$ as they should be referred to,

    * M$: Convicted Monopoly


    I don’t do business with ex-cons just as I don’t buy my groceries from the mob.

  7. Anonymous said on June 20, 2024 at 2:41 pm

    “Sometimes people ask me why there is no Windows port of XScreenSaver. The reason is that Microsoft killed my company, and I hold a personal grudge. They are a company with vicious, predatory, anti-competitive business practices, and always have been. They also happen to make terrible products, and always have. I do not use any Microsoft products, and neither should you.

    The longer version:

    In addition to being the author of a whole bunch of cool screen savers, I was one of the founders of Netscape, the company that brought the first usable web browser to the general public, and I was also a founder of, the organization that you know best for Firefox. I’ve been involved in the free software and open source community since the mid-80s.

    In 1994, while chasing the tail-lights of Netscape’s unprecedented success, Microsoft used their monopoly in one market — operating systems — to make competition with them impossible in a different market — web browsers. Specifically, they used their operating system monopoly to drive the market price for web browsers to zero, instantaneously eliminating something like 60% of Netscape’s revenue.

    It’s hard for any company to survive an injury like that. Netscape succumbed to its wounds three years later.

    In 1999, The Department of Justice found Microsoft guilty of Anti-Trust violations, but by then it was far too late: the company that I helped create had already been killed.

    Microsoft’s lawyers also subpoenaed my personal email at one point, which I took specific offense to. So seriously, screw those guys.”

  8. Micro$oft said on June 18, 2024 at 11:14 pm

    It is time someone fire everyone at Microsoft. What a clown company.

    1. Sri said on June 19, 2024 at 10:15 am

      This “clown company” just made 20,35% up in stock since January 1st. Quite good. How is your not-clown company doing?

    2. Anonymous said on June 19, 2024 at 6:48 am

      NO, it’s not a clown company. People who buy their products with these features are the clowns, and I bet M$ desktop market share won’t fall by more than 1% (at most) when introducing Recall (in opt-out or mandatory mode) and & Co.

      It’s not so much that Microsoft is insane, it’s rather that the majority of all people are just uneducated and incredibly dumb. That’s unfortunately the terrible truth.

  9. Anonymous said on June 18, 2024 at 1:43 pm

    i think microsoft has gone insane you see we the people have ask they to just fix windows 11 but they don’t they just add crap with no fix for the drivers like the usb ports no fix the video drivers no fix printer not printing no fix but they just keep making crap to put in to windows 11 and NO FIXS

    1. TelV said on June 18, 2024 at 7:10 pm

      @ Anonymous,

      As regards the printing issue your best bet will be to the manufacturer’s site and check to see whether it’s a known problem or not. If it is, they’ll likely be new drivers you can download from there.

      I had that problem recently with my ancient Canon printer which dates from Windows XP days. I figured initially that it wasn’t going to work with Windows 11, but on checking the Canon site I found a recent driver release which fixed the problem. Worth a look anyway.

      The moral of this story in any event is never rely on Microsoft for drivers because they only ever release generic drivers which don’t contain any of the enhancements you get from the printer manufacturer.

    2. bruh said on June 18, 2024 at 4:09 pm

      Are you sure you aren’t just missing some drivers? You don’t sound OK.

  10. John said on June 18, 2024 at 1:13 pm

    Actually, I am glad all the AI stuff will be exclusive to CoPilot Plus PC’s. That way I don’t have to deal with the BS for a while.

  11. RED STAPLERS FOREVER! said on June 18, 2024 at 12:23 pm

    But… But… It’s opt-in, right? RIGHT?

    (mubles about a red stapler)

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