Microsoft will bug Windows 11 users with watermarks if they ignore system requirements

Microsoft is experimenting again. This time putting a watermark on versions of Windows 11 running on systems that ignored their minimum system requirements. I mean, that’s the whole purpose of the Insider program: to test different features on a wide variety of different machines in the wild. But it looks like this is one that will undergo testing for a final release patch.

In February, states the report on Sweclockers, it was reported by some Dev Channel users that a watermark, which said “System requirements not met. Go to Settings to learn more”, was being placed in the lower right corner of the screen on incompatible systems. The Dev Channel is the most experimental of all the Insider Program channels, containing the most volatile builds of Windows, as well as a place where different features are tested, with many never seeing the light of day elsewhere.

There’s also the Beta and Release Preview Channels, which is where the watermark appeared most recently. This suggests that this is a feature that has definitely passed the testing phase and has been approved by Microsoft for final release on public versions of Windows.

It’s not large, and supposedly does nothing but sit in the bottom right corner, taking up a bit of screen space. But not even the biggest watermark that complains about you running an unactivated version of Windows, but this one not only appears on the desktop but also overlays games.

We still don’t know if the system requirements watermark will do the same, but it would be really annoying if it did. I disabled fTPM on my Win11 Ryzen 3600 based office machine and it’s not showing anything on the same version (Build 22000.588). I could go and reinstall Windows on my Steam Deckwhich is listed as unsupported, and see if it does the watermark dance, but honestly, I really don’t want to let Windows near Valve’s portable again.

Right now, word from Insiders, including the Twitter user who most recently mentioned it, is that “It’s just a line and something you’ll only see on the desktop.” So, fingers crossed, stay there.

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The system requirement most likely to get in your way will be the Trusted Platform Module (TPM) 2.0 requirements, which prevents any 6th Gen Intel or 1st Gen AMD Ryzen system from joining the Windows 11 party. Or it would if it weren’t so easy to bypass installation blocks. Currently, all you have to do is create your Windows installation USB stick using the standard Microsoft ISO file and the Rufus file manager.

The latest versions of Rufus include a simple one-click option to bypass the TPM 2.0 requirement, making it super easy to get a new watermark.

Microsoft’s thinking behind the TPM requirement makes sense. Windows is a big target for malware as it is the most used operating system in the world, and making it as secure as possible will always be at the forefront of your collective mind. The problem is that the demand for TPM 2.0 means a hard cut for a lot of hardware that is still very capable in today’s world.

On the plus side, getting around these requirements was quickly achieved, so I’d be surprised if there wasn’t an adjustment you could make to the line that makes this watermark invisible.

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