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.
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.
- Check out our guide to Windows 11 problems and how to fix them
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Darren is a freelancer writing news and features for TechRadar (and occasionally T3) across a broad range of computing topics including CPUs, GPUs, various other hardware, VPNs, antivirus and more. He has written about tech for the best part of three decades, and writes books in his spare time (his debut novel - 'I Know What You Did Last Supper' - was published by Hachette UK in 2013).