Those running Windows 11 on unsupported hardware are getting an update, but not the kind that low-end hardware and VM users might expect.
The latest Windows 11 release preview adds an undocumented feature that slaps a line of text in the lower right corner of the Windows desktop and a similar warning in the Settings app for any system that doesn’t meet Windows 11’s rigorous standards.
The message is short and to the point: “Requirements not met. Go to settings to learn more.”
It’s also much less distracting than watermarks on non-activated Windows 11 systems, which show up in full-screen apps. This one doesn’t.
Microsoft’s strict hardware requirements for Windows 11 are well known, and the method to circumvent them is probably also known to anyone who needs to run Windows 11 on older computers or in a virtual environment.
Even in the event of a circumvention, Microsoft strives to notify users, which can become cumbersome in corporate environments. (That will be rare, since Windows 11 on unsupported hardware is an administrator’s nightmare.)
However, the caveats aren’t as heavy as the hardware requirements, which have prevented Windows 11 software from running on countless machines that didn’t meet the required 4GB of RAM, 1GHz 64-bit processor.
In November 2021, Microsoft’s latest operating system was on just 0.21% of systems included in a survey of 10 million IT assets, compared to 3.62% for Windows XP.
Microsoft hasn’t answered whether or not it plans to take further action against those running Windows 11 on unqualified hardware. The Windows maker has implemented a number of restrictions on unregistered copies of Windows 10, but the hardware requirements are not the same as violating the terms of service.
Microsoft would be bracing for some serious press backlash if it started restricting Windows 11 on unqualified hardware after upsetting people with strict hardware requirements in the first place.
Microsoft has previously said that installations of Windows 11 on unsupported hardware will not be eligible for updates, but when and how this cut is decided remains unclear, as this feature would have been useless if that time had already come. .
It should also be noted that, as noted earlier by The register, Hardware requirement checks on Windows 11 are only performed when upgrading a PC from Windows 10, and these are the cases where the workaround kicks in and the warnings will start appearing.
Fresh installs of Windows 11 from an ISO file don’t check for hardware requirements, so if you’re willing to start over, you might be able to avoid all that kerfuffle.
Unless Microsoft adds this watermark to all systems, even those with a fresh install that have not undergone hardware verification with an earlier version of Windows 11. ®