Microsoft is taking steps to encourage users running Windows 11 on unsupported hardware to upgrade their systems or downgrade to Windows 10.
This change comes in the form of a watermark in the lower right corner of the desktop, displaying the message "System requirements not met. Go to Settings to learn more." Users have reported seeing this message since the January 2023 Patch Tuesday update.
The watermark prompts users to go to the Microsoft website, where they can learn about installing Windows 11 on devices with unmet system requirements or reverting back to Windows 10 within 10 days of upgrading. However, not all users are seeing this watermark, suggesting that Microsoft may be testing it on select accounts or rolling it out slowly. Windows 11 has strict minimum system requirements, including TPM 2.0 security and CPUs equivalent to, or newer than, Intel's 8th-Gen and AMD's 2nd-Gen processors, 4GB RAM, and 64GB storage. If your PC meets these requirements and you're still getting the watermark, you may need to enable TPM 2.0 in your BIOS.
While the watermark is currently just a mild nuisance, it could be the first step toward more drastic measures. Microsoft has warned that it may disable updates on unsupported systems, but this has yet to come to fruition. In the meantime, users can buy a new CPU, downgrade to Windows 10 within the 10-day window, or hide the message with a registry edit or a lighter-colored wallpaper. As for users who choose to stick with unsupported hardware and Windows 11, they may need to prepare for the possibility of future limitations or compatibility issues. It's unclear what Microsoft's next move will be, but this watermark signals that it's serious about enforcing its minimum system requirements.