You may recall that the watermark, which appears above the system tray, bottom-right on the desktop, was previously spotted in limited testing with certain Windows preview builds, but the change has now made its way to beta and release preview builds (version 22000.588) that Windows Insiders use.
Confirmed: 22000.588 introduces the “System requirements not met” watermark.#WindowsInsider pic.twitter.com/RrizjV2g8iMarch 15, 2022
This was highlighted by @XenoPanther, a keen Windows tester on Twitter, and as the move is reportedly now widely deployed to Release Preview, it’s likely only a matter of time before the change debuts on the full version of Windows 11.
This would mean that anyone who has installed Microsoft’s latest OS on a machine that isn’t officially supported by the software will see the warning message. It informs these users: “System requirements not met. Go to Settings to learn more.”
Analysis: Get ready for more restrictions on unsupported PCs
This is no major surprise, as Microsoft has always said that people shouldn’t be running Windows 11 on a machine that isn’t up to the required hardware spec, and has even observed that doing so could ‘damage’ your PC.
A one-line warning watermark is quite annoying and intrusively placed on the desktop, but on the bright side, it could have been worse – meaning that Microsoft isn’t placing major restrictions on Windows 11 with unsupported devices, such as not allowing apps to run, or removing the facility to get vital security updates.
That said, Microsoft has always said that unsupported PCs won’t be able to get updates – even though they still can – but it seems clear enough that eventually, updates will likely get cut off for these devices.
If you have hardware that doesn’t meet the requirements, the idea of allowing Windows 11 to be installed at all is just to give you a flavor of how the OS works – not to let you keep running it permanently. And then if you like it, the theory is that you’ll perform whatever hardware upgrades are necessary (like, for example, a TPM module) to support Windows 11, or at least that’s the impression we’ve always been given.
So, in short, this watermark is likely only the first step towards clamping down on folks who are permanently keeping Windows 11 on unsupported hardware.
- Check out our guide to Windows 11 problems and how to fix them
Via Windows Latest