Danish Kapoor
Danish Kapoor

Microsoft's Recall feature worked on older hardware

After Microsoft introduced the new Copilot Plus computers, Windows enthusiasts were able to run Microsoft's new artificial intelligence-supported feature Recall on unsupported hardware. Recall uses native AI models on new Copilot Plus computers to take snapshots of everything done or seen on the computer. With this feature, users can access a timeline where they can search for photos, documents, conversations, or anything else.

Microsoft stated that the Recall feature will work on new computers with the latest neural processing units (NPU). However, this feature can also run on older Arm-based hardware. Windows watchdog Albacore has developed a tool called Amperage that enables Recall on devices with older Qualcomm Snapdragon chips, Microsoft's SQ processors, or the Ampere chipset.

To use the Amperage tool, the latest 24H2 update of Windows 11 must be installed. This tool currently only works on older Windows on Arm hardware. However, considering that AMD and Intel-based Copilot Plus computers will also be released soon, this feature is expected to become available on a wider range of hardware.

Microsoft has currently only released its AI components for the Windows on Arm platform. This is a limiting factor for Recall to run on Intel and AMD hardware. Technically, it's possible to enable Recall on x86 devices as well, but this app won't be fully functional unless Microsoft releases x64 AI components.

Rumor has it that both AMD and Intel are close to announcing Copilot Plus computers. This means that Microsoft may soon release artificial intelligence components for these devices. Running Recall on an x64 Windows 11 virtual machine allowed testing this feature on a wide range of hardware.

The fact that Recall can be run on older hardware is a development that makes you question why Microsoft limits this and many other AI-supported Windows features to only new devices. The fact that features like Recall can run on much older Arm hardware suggests Microsoft needs to reconsider its hardware requirements. It is estimated that Microsoft set these limitations to lay the foundation for future AI-powered experiences.

Microsoft argues that the 40 trillion operations per second (TOPS) requirement is necessary for Recall, Image Cocreator, and other AI features to work efficiently. This requirement is intended to preserve laptop battery life by ensuring features run on a separate NPU instead of the CPU and GPU. However, in a period when PC sales will increase with the launch of AI-supported computers, the efforts of Microsoft and its OEM partners to sell new hardware should not be ignored.

Running Recall on older hardware could lead Microsoft to reevaluate the hardware requirements it sets for future AI projects. Additionally, Microsoft's efforts to optimize AI components for a wider range of hardware could enable users to better benefit from AI-powered experiences. These developments could increase competition and innovation in the PC market.

Danish Kapoor