Windows 11 update crashes and burns on some PCs due to ‘unsupported CPU’ error

Windows 11 has a new spanner in the works with the latest update for the operating system, a worrying one that crashes the PC with an ‘unsupported processor’ error.

The Verge reports that they – and other folks on Reddit – have experienced this error, and that it happened after installing the KB5029351 update for Windows 11 22H2. Note that this is a preview update, so it’s optional and doesn’t have to be installed (it won’t be downloaded unless you manually check for updates and choose to do so).

In affected cases, after installing the update, a Blue Screen of Death appears with the mentioned error message about the CPU not being supported by Windows 11, and the PC then reboots.

The good news is that the system apparently recovers and rolls back the patch, according to reports (and The Verge says this is what happened to them).

Microsoft has acknowledged the problem, and advises: “KB5029351 might automatically uninstall to allow Windows to start up as expected.”

The common factor among those who have encountered this bug is that they have an MSI motherboard (with an Intel CPU) that has been updated to the most recent BIOS release.

Microsoft informs us: “We are presently investigating to determine if this is an issue caused by Microsoft. We will provide an update when more information is available.”

Analysis: Prevention measures in place – but there’s still scope for concern

While we’re all likely aware that Windows 11 brought in some much stricter requirements for supported CPUs compared to Windows 10, being told that their processor was unsupported probably caused a few folks to almost fall out of their chairs.

As reported, the error should allow the PC to reboot and uninstall the update to go back to normal, but Microsoft’s use of the term ‘might’ automatically uninstall in its advisory does leave some room for concern. What if it doesn’t? That could be a nasty problem indeed.

The good news is that Microsoft has now instigated measures to prevent the Windows 11 update in question from being delivered to PCs that will be affected (those with Intel chipset-toting MSI motherboards on that most recent BIOS). So, at this point, you don’t have to worry – if you do fall into this group of PC owners, the patch will be pulled, and you won’t be offered it under Windows Update.

The remaining concern, then, is that this optional preview patch becomes the full (mandatory) update for Windows 11 22H2 in September. So Microsoft will have to make very sure this bug is fully squashed by that time – or that MSI addresses it with a new BIOS update that happens in a swift manner, if it isn’t a glitch in the Windows matrix.

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Windows 11 could be watermarked on unsupported PCs

Windows 11 has been changed so that it now presents a more visible warning, using a watermark on the desktop to caution those running the OS on an unsupported PC that the device doesn’t meet its system requirements – although this move is only in testing right now.

It follows a previous tweak whereby Microsoft placed a cautionary ‘system requirements not met’ message within System Settings, again only in preview builds of Windows 11, but the watermark – which appears above the system tray (where the clock is, bottom-right) – is a far heavier-handed warning.

Again, it states ‘system requirements not met’, but its permanent presence as a desktop watermark, in the same vein as the Windows warning that the OS isn’t activated, is a definite eyesore and a more annoying introduction.

Windows Latest spotted this, and further observes that Microsoft is currently testing the new watermark with some Windows 11 users running preview builds, and gauging reaction.

So, while this may not necessarily make the cut for the release version of Windows 11, it could well do in theory.

Given this, and the addition of the previous minor warning under Settings, we can guess that Microsoft’s intention is to go further down the road of taking action against Windows 11 being run on unsupported machines.

Analysis: Unsupported PCs effectively on borrowed time?

The long and short of this latest move is that those running Windows 11 on a PC which doesn’t meet the system requirements are seemingly on borrowed time.

When the previous warning was introduced in settings, we recall some commentators saying ‘at least it’s not a desktop watermark or something horrible like that’. Well, now it is a permanent watermark, in test builds anyway.

We’ve said all along that Microsoft has maintained that when it comes to unsupported PCs, Windows 11 updates won’t be delivered, and even though they are still piped through to these systems now, eventually it seems very likely they won’t be.

This potential shift up a gear with warnings is another indication that Microsoft will actually cut support for updates perhaps sooner rather than later, so anyone running Windows 11 on an unsupported device needs to begin rethinking their operating system strategy.

Microsoft has always maintained that using Windows 11 on a PC that doesn’t meet its requirements could cause ‘damage’ to the machine. And really, the only reason there are loopholes to get the new OS on such devices is to allow folks to give Windows 11 a run out and test to see if they like it, presumably with the hope that if this is the case, they will upgrade whatever elements are necessary to fully support the operating system.

At any rate, it’s very much starting to look like the day when updates are cut-off completely may not be all that far away.

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