Windows 11 desktop watermarks start appearing on unsupported systems
Microsoft may start more aggressively blocking older CPUs from running Windows 11By Daniel Sims 33 comments
Facepalm: Users have been circumventing Windows 11's controversial system requirements since the OS first launched, and Microsoft has held an executioner's sword over the "unsupported" PCs' heads ever since. A recent update suggests Redmond may finally bring it down soon.
Microsoft may finally be introducing a dreaded feature it first teased last year. Since the January 2023 Windows update, some Windows 11 users have reported seeing a watermark on their desktops warning them about unmet system requirements.
According to comments on Microsoft's website and Windows blogs, a new watermark has appeared in the lower right corner saying "System requirements not met" and directing them to the settings menu. Some users report that Microsoft suggests reverting to Windows 10.
Windows 11's strict system requirements have faced criticism for not officially supporting CPUs older than Intel 8th Gen Coffee Lake, AMD Zen+, or Zen 2. The main reason is that Microsoft wants to ensure every Windows 11 system possesses TPM 2.0 security.
However, the company thus far hasn't prevented users from installing its latest operating system on processors as old as Intel 6th gen. Last spring, reports confirmed that a watermark would appear to warn those using Windows 11 on systems below its official specifications, and it seems to have finally arrived for some.
Reports are scattered, but Redmond could be running another A/B test like the ones it performed last year. However, the watermark has also appeared on systems that technically meet the requirements. If yours is one of them, it's possible the recent update changed a BIOS setting which could have disengaged TPM.
Windows 11's unusual system requirements could be one reason it hasn't gained user market share as quickly as Windows 10. Multiple analyses, including Statcounter and the Steam survey, reveal it is slowly gaining, but Windows 10 is still the dominant OS. Likewise, although AdDuplex hasn't updated its numbers since last year, it shows a stark difference between Windows 11 and Windows 10 adoption speeds.
It's not like Microsoft hasn't tried to make Windows 11 more appealing. Recently, the company refreshed its task manager, notepad app, file explorer, snipping tools, and other features. Despite the improvements and the still-available free Windows 11 upgrades, many users likely can't or won't upgrade from older CPUs.
Image credit: Windowslatest.com