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Run Windows 11 New Recall AI Feature on Unsupported PCs: No NPU Needed

Microsoft recently introduced a new feature called Recall AI with much fanfare during the launch of Copilot+ PCs. If you haven’t heard, Recall AI is an innovative tool that captures screenshots of your screen every few seconds, creating an on-device memory that you can search using natural language prompts. Initially, Microsoft claimed that you need the latest Copilot+ PC with Snapdragon X series chipsets to use this feature.

However, Albacore, a Windows developer, has found a way to run Recall AI on PCs without a dedicated Neural Processing Unit (NPU). This breakthrough allows more users to experience Recall AI, even on unsupported PCs.

What is Recall AI?

Recall AI is a powerful artificial intelligence feature integrated into Windows 11. It captures periodic screenshots to build a visual history of your activities, which you can later search through using simple, conversational queries. The magic behind AI lies in its ability to perform Optical Character Recognition (OCR), object detection, and other AI-driven tasks to help you find specific moments or data points from your screen’s history.

Role of the NPU in Recall AI

An NPU, or Neural Processing Unit, is designed to handle AI operations efficiently by performing multiple tasks in parallel. For AI, the NPU manages these operations seamlessly in the background, ensuring smooth performance without draining your battery significantly.

The Official Requirements for Recall AI

Microsoft’s Stated Hardware Requirements

According to Microsoft, running Recall AI requires the next-generation Copilot+ PC equipped with Snapdragon X series chipsets. These chipsets come with built-in NPUs that facilitate the advanced AI processing needed for Recall AI to function optimally.

Importance of the Snapdragon X Series Chipsets

The Snapdragon X series chipsets are designed to deliver high performance and efficiency, especially for AI-driven tasks. Their integration of NPUs ensures that features like AI run smoothly without overloading the CPU or GPU.

Running Recall AI Without an NPU

Albacore’s Breakthrough

Albacore, a renowned Windows developer, has managed to get Recall AI running on PCs that do not have a dedicated NPU. By using small AI models that run directly on the CPU and GPU, Albacore demonstrated that AI could be functional, albeit with some performance trade-offs.

How Recall AI Operates on Non-NPU Devices

On devices without an NPU, Recall AI delegates its tasks to the CPU and GPU. While this approach works, it results in slower performance and higher power consumption compared to systems with an NPU.

Performance Considerations

Differences Between NPU and Non-NPU Performance

When running on an NPU, Recall AI can process tasks in parallel more efficiently, leading to faster response times and less battery drain. In contrast, non-NPU systems may experience lag and increased power usage as the CPU and GPU are not as optimized for these tasks.

Impact on CPU and GPU

Without an NPU, the CPU and GPU take on the AI processing load, which can slow down other tasks and drain the battery more quickly. This is a significant consideration for users who rely on their devices for extended periods.

Compatibility with ARM64 PCs

Albacore’s Testing on ARM64 PCs

Albacore tested Recall AI on ARM64 PCs and found that the performance was decent. While not as fast as systems with NPUs, ARM64 PCs could still run AI effectively, providing a viable option for users without the latest hardware.

Performance Benchmarks and Results

In tests, ARM64 PCs running Recall AI showed reasonable performance, with acceptable delays in processing tasks. This makes ARM64 PCs a good choice for those wanting to try out AI without upgrading to the latest Copilot+ PC.

Challenges on Intel and AMD PCs

Lack of Native Support for x86 PCs

Currently, Microsoft has not packaged the machine learning models needed for Recall AI to run natively on x86 PCs, which include most Intel and AMD systems. This limitation means users cannot directly install and use AI on these devices.

Emulation Options and Their Limitations

For those determined to run Recall AI on Intel or AMD PCs, emulating the ARM64 build is an option. However, this method is complex and results in significantly slower performance, making it less practical for everyday use.

Step-by-Step Guide to Install Recall AI on ARM64 PCs


Before starting, ensure you have:

  • An ARM64 PC
  • Administrator access
  • A stable internet connection

Detailed Installation Steps

  1. Download the Recall AI Package: Head over to the GitHub page where Albacore has posted the necessary files.
  2. Extract the Files: Unzip the downloaded package to a convenient location on your PC.
  3. Run the Installer: Execute the setup file and follow the on-screen instructions to install Recall.
  4. Configure Settings: Open Recall and adjust the settings according to your preferences.
  5. Test the Setup: Perform a few tasks to ensure AI is capturing and processing screenshots correctly.

Potential Issues and Solutions

Common Problems During Installation

  • Slow Installation: The setup might take longer than expected. Ensure your PC meets the minimum requirements.
  • Compatibility Errors: Check that you are using an ARM64 PC and not an x86 system.

Troubleshooting Tips

  • Re-run the Installer: Sometimes, running the installer again can resolve issues.
  • Check for Updates: Ensure you have the latest version of both Windows and Recall.

Privacy and Security Concerns

Data Privacy Issues with Recall AI

Many users worry about their data privacy, especially with a feature that takes frequent screenshots. Microsoft assures that all processing happens locally, and the database is encrypted using BitLocker.

Microsoft’s Encryption Measures

Microsoft uses BitLocker to encrypt the local database where Recall stores its screenshots. This measure aims to protect your data from unauthorized access.

Security Vulnerabilities

Researchers’ Findings on Potential Exploits

Despite Microsoft’s encryption efforts, security researchers have identified vulnerabilities. The vector index is stored in a local SQLite database, which can be accessed by malicious applications with administrative privileges.

Recommendations for Users

  • Regular Security Scans: Run frequent security scans to detect and remove potential threats.
  • Limit Admin Access: Only grant administrative privileges to trusted applications and users.

User Experience and Feedback

General Reception of Recall AI

Overall, users find AI promising but have raised concerns about performance on non-NPU systems and potential privacy issues.

User Testimonials and Reviews

Many users appreciate the innovative approach of AI, but some are hesitant due to the security risks and performance trade-offs on older hardware.

Future Prospects for Recall AI

Potential Updates from Microsoft

Microsoft may release updates to improve Recall AI’s performance on non-NPU systems and address security vulnerabilities.

Community-Driven Improvements

The developer community is actively working on tweaks and enhancements, potentially leading to better performance and broader compatibility in the future.


Recall AI is an exciting feature that brings powerful AI capabilities to Windows 11. While initially designed for the latest hardware, efforts by developers like Albacore have made it accessible on a wider range of devices. Despite some performance and security concerns, Recall offers a glimpse into the future of AI-driven productivity tools. Whether you decide to try it now or wait for further updates, it’s clear that AI has the potential to transform how we interact with our PCs.

VIA Tom’s Hardware

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