If users fail to comply with system requirements, Microsoft will bug them with watermarks. Have you secretly installed Windows 11 on your Kaby Lake or first-gen Ryzen system? If you’re reading this, Microsoft has some things to say about you.
Microsoft has been tinkering with its software again again. This time, Microsoft is placing a watermark on copies of Windows 11 that are running on PCs that do not meet the operating system’s minimal system requirements. That is, after all, the entire aim of Microsoft’s Insider program: to test new features on a diverse range of different computers in the real world. However, it appears that this is one of the patches that will make it through testing and into the final release patch.
According to a report on Sweclockers, several Dev Channel users noticed in February that a watermark, which stated “Dev Channel” had shown on their screen “The system requirements have not been met. More information can be found in the Settings menu “On incompatible computers, the cursor was being dropped into the bottom right corner of the screen. While the Dev Channel is the most experimental of all of the Insider Program channels, it contains the most volatile Windows builds and is also a place where different features are tested, many of which never see the light of day in any other Insider Program channel.
There are also Beta and Release Preview Channels, which is where the watermark first debuted, and where it has been appearing more recently. Accordingly, this is one feature that has unquestionably passed the testing phase and has been given the go-ahead by Microsoft to be included in the final release of the public builds of Windows.
According to reports, it does nothing more than occupy a small portion of the bottom right corner of the screen, taking up very little screen real estate. But then again, neither does the larger watermark that informs you that you are running a non-activated version of Windows; nevertheless, that watermark does not only appear on your desktop, but it will also overlay on top of games as well.
We haven’t confirmed whether the system requirements watermark will behave in the same way, but it would be quite inconvenient if it did so. fTPM has been disabled on my Ryzen 3600-based Win11 office computer, and it is no longer displaying anything on the same version of Chrome (Build 22000.588). Alternatively, I could try re-installing Windows on my Steam Deck, which is currently classified as unsupported, and see if it performs the watermark dance again, but honestly, I don’t want Windows to come into contact with Valve’s portable device again.
Insiders, including the Twitter user who first brought it to their attention, are of the opinion that “it’s only one line and something that will only be visible on the desktop.” So, fingers crossed that it remains in place.
The Trusted Platform Module (TPM) 2.0 requirements, which prevent any Intel 6th Gen or AMD Ryzen 1st Gen machine from participating in Windows 11, will be the system requirement that will most likely stand in the way of your Windows 11 participation. Or at least it would if it weren’t so damned easy to get around the installation restrictions. The standard Microsoft ISO file and the Rufus file manager are all that is required these days to generate a Windows installation USB stick.
A simple one-click option is included in the most recent versions of Rufus to circumvent the TPM 2.0 requirement, making it quite simple to get yourself a new watermark.
The reasoning behind Microsoft’s TPM requirement makes a great deal of sense. Because it is the most commonly used operating system in the world, Windows is a prime target for malware, and making it as secure as possible is always going to be at the forefront of the industry’s collective consciousness. The problem is that the demand for TPM 2.0 results in a hard cut-off for a lot of hardware that is otherwise still highly capable in today’s world, which is a bad thing for everyone.
Fortunately, getting past these constraints was accomplished fast, and I’d be amazed if there wasn’t a modification you could make down the road that would make that watermark completely invisible.