Microsoft Recall testing new functionality - 'Screenray' and 'Topics'

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Key notes

  • Microsoft is testing new features for Recall, its desktop search tool, in a Windows 11 Insider build.
  • A new tool called Screenray allows real-time desktop analysis without opening Recall.
  • Recall’s UI is revamped with a home page for recent snapshots and a topic system for organized searching.

Microsoft is bringing Recall in the latest Windows 11 Insider build (version 26236.5000). Recall, which was initially planned for Copilot+ PCs, is currently undergoing further testing and won’t be available at launch.

A new function called Screenray lets users analyze their desktops in real time without opening the full Recall app. It can be activated via the keyboard shortcut Win+Shift+D. This comes after the Windows 11 Canary build introduced another feature inside Recall: “Search the web.”

Screenray. Credits: Toms Hardware

Screenray displays a window that reflects the current desktop contents. Similar to Recall, users can select and work with text, links, and images within this window. How is this useful? This could be useful for quick tasks like on-the-fly translations or obtaining information about something on the screen.

The Recall app itself is receiving a UI update. Launching Recall will now take users to a new home page displaying recent snapshots. Earlier, it was introduced that Recall will be turned off by default after it was called a privacy hazard.

A new feature called Topics is also here. Previously, launching the app automatically created a new snapshot. The new home page and Topics system ease the search process.


Topics work as search shortcuts. Users can create a Topic, for example, for “software development,” by making a relevant search and saving the results as a collection. From this, the users can revisit snapshots related to that specific topic later.

Recall is also getting integrated with Copilot. This lets users access Copilot directly from content found in snapshots or on their current screen.

Note: These features are currently only available in a very unstable build of Windows 11, accessible exclusively to Windows Insiders. To try out these new functionalities, users will need to be enrolled in the Insider program and comfortable with a potentially buggy system.

There is also an open-source Recall called OpenRecall if you’re concerned about privacy regarding Microsoft Recall.

More here.