Microsoft Tests New Warnings for Windows 11 PCs Not Meeting Minimum Specs

Posted on February 22, 2022 by Laurent Giret in Windows 11 with 41 Comments

Microsoft has started testing new ways to warn Windows 11 users that they’re running the OS on unsupported hardware. In recent Windows 11 Insider builds, Twitter user Albacore recently spotted a warning message in the System page of the Windows 11 Settings app telling users that “System requirements not met.”

Now, Windows Latest is reporting that Microsoft has also introduced desktop watermarks displaying the same message on recent Windows 11 Insider builds. The warning message can be seen right above the Insider build number in the bottom right corner of the screen.

system requirements not met watermark message

Image credit: Windows Latest.

This new desktop watermark isn’t as visible as the semi-transparent message Windows 10 and Windows 11 users can see when using the OS without a valid license. Anyway, these warning messages on the desktop and the Windows 11 Settings app could remain experiments, and they may or may not ship in a future Windows 11 update.

Microsoft caused quite a stir last year with its minimum hardware requirements for Windows 11, which is the first version of Windows to require 8th gen Intel Core CPUs or newer, as well as security features such as Secure Boot and a TPM 2.0 chip. While it’s still possible the manually install the OS on a PC with unsupported hardware, Microsoft doesn’t recommend it as these devices will no longer be guaranteed to receive updates, including security updates.

If you may think that the strict hardware requirements for Windows 11 would have left many Windows 10 users on the sidelines, Microsoft said last month that this wasn’t the case. Since the launch of Windows 11 in October, we have seen strong demand and preference for Windows 11 with people accepting the upgrade offer to Windows 11 at twice the rate we saw for Windows 10,” announced Microsoft’s Chief Hardware Office Panos Panay.

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Comments (41)

41 responses to “Microsoft Tests New Warnings for Windows 11 PCs Not Meeting Minimum Specs”

  1. polloloco51

    Just when you thought, Microsoft would do the logical, and right thing, and allow just slightly older, perfectly fine systems (7th & 6th gen Intel) to run Windows 11.

    They do this!


    • will

      They are slowly moving to a model of hardware restricting where the OS can even be installed.

      • miamimauler


        Yep, absolutely. What this does though is open an opportunity for another player be it some version of unified Linux or Google actually getting serious with ChromeOS or even a new player stepping into the void that MS may leave.

        Interesting times indeed.

  2. JH_Radio

    I like new stuff sure. but I just want it to last more then a few years is all.


  3. JH_Radio

    Its not about missing anything one way or the other for me.

    I just hate for example the fact that I have the 2006 Dell inspirin E-1705 witn nothing wrong with it, and now its a freakin paperweight.

    We live in such a throwaway culture.

    I want to buy a PC and have it last more then 10 years.

    Meaning if the hardwhere works, why have to throw it out if the software doesn't supported anymore?

    I don't like that my iPhone SE, first generation won't most likely support iOS16.

    Yes, I've had it since 2018 (which is 2 years after the phone was released.

    Got it brand new.

    But now what. I gotta throw out things or put them in the recycle been because its not supported anymore.

    I'll probably sell it on eBay or maybe I'll use it for a music player or something.

    Still. why!

    But maybe i'm just old.

    Younger people are used to throwing away things?


  4. greatrexmark

    Ive been thinking about this a lot lately and listening to windows weekly. Are we saying that there needs to be hardware level elements of security like the tpm, fingerprint or whatever else. That software like windows on an old machine is just going to be inherantly vulnerable and insecure even if its up to date and patched?

    • wright_is

      Theoretically, the more security you can throw at a PC, the more secure it is - it will never be 100% secure, unless you encase it in concrete and sink it in the Marianas Trench.

      Adding it at the hardware level (TPM or the new Pluton extensions to processors), along with SecureBoot can help to stop malware before it gets a foothold in the boot process. It also helps with keeping information secure.

      That is what Microsoft pushed as the reason, when they announced Windows 11, but then proved it was bunkum by allowing 11 on old hardware that didn't meet those security standards...

      As long as a Windows 10 PC is fully patched and all software on it is fully patched, it is relatively safe. The weakest link will usually be the user - clicking on links in emails or opening attachments etc. There will always be security problems on any platform that aren't currently patched, and if the user isn't vigilant, they can fall foul of cyber criminals.

      Windows 11 won't necessarily help any more, when a user does something dumb, although, if the PC has SecureBoot and TPM/Pluton, it might stop malware from installing a rootkit, which means the security software should be able to find it and kick it off the machine...

      • jimchamplin

        With the computer encased in cement at the bottom of the deepest part of the ocean...

        ... A Russian hacker will build a Glomar Explorer style ship to drill into the cement and extract your credit card number to buy gold on MMO RPGs.

  5. dmitryko

    I am amused by people who agree to give up control of their PCs to built-in DRM spyeare that will always treat them as "untrusted" users, while some random guy sitting five thousand miles away will get to decide what they can or cannot run on their own hardware.

    Last time Microsoft tried to enforce these restrictions in the form of Palladium (Next Generation Secure Compute Base), their pretence of "security" didn't fool anyone, but this time a wave of mobile phone "consumers" are perfectly OK with corporate spyware if it's labeled "secure" by its provider.

    Whatever, I surely won't miss all this stupid TPM "security", useless DRM kernel-mode "virtualization" and mindless forcing of Microsoft Account / OneDrive / Edge / Bing down your throat, not to mention stupid touch-based UI ripped from ChromeOS and OS X/Mac OS.

  6. digiguy

    For me the strategy is very simple. I have 12 Windows 10 devices, of which only 2 are supported and only around half are used regularly / for work. I will not update any of the important ones (including the 2 supported ones) until 2025 since I am perfectly fine with Windows 10. For now I have only updated one unsupported device for testing purposes and it's working fine and receiving updates.

    Come 2025 I'll update all the devices to Windows 11, as they would not receive Windows 10 updates anyway after October. If they keep receiving security great, I'll keep using them like now, if not I'll turn them into "special purpose devices" (where browsers, email clients etc. are not used), like plex servers, remote desktop clients, tablets for annotating documents (synced via dropbox for instance). Updating to Windows 11, even without or with "partial" security, should allow to continue using software like cloud services, remote desktop etc. even after these softwares drop compatibility with Windows 10.

  7. blue77star

    A company ran by idiots.

  8. mike2thel73

    This requirement crap is about 2 things:

    1. Microsoft's partners nudging microsoft to issue a new OS to drive hardware upgrades/new system purchases; 2. Microsoft's need to cut older systems from support to make it easier & faster to issue faster updates/patches.

    We can all debate if #2 makes a difference or not but Intel didn't do Microsoft any favors when Intel's own CPU's we're a security liability that could only sorta be patched.

    I had a Dell desktop system from 2008/2009 that ran windows 10 without a hitch. I took it apart and ended up bringing most of the parts to a recycling center because I could not fit a modern middle/high end video card into the system. There was room for a single slot video card only. It was a BTX system. I have no use for a bigger desktop non-gaming machine. I live in a condo. Real estate is premium.

    I own a few different Intel sandy bridge/ivy bridge systems that work great so believe me I am just as unhappy as a lot of you are but we still have choices:

    A. Keep using the system after patches have ended for specific use cases (in my case gaming) Stop using it for regular online use.

    BA. Learn how to put a version of Linux on your system and learn to use Linux if you haven't already done so.

    BB. Put chrome OS flex on your system and learn that system.

    C. (This applies to me). If you're a PC gamer but don't want to keep using windows 10 after 2025, consider an Xbox or playstation purchase. It's cheaper to buy either of those systems than to purchase a PC/pc parts that are equivalent or better (if you can get your hands on either in 2025)

    No matter your options, nothing lasts forever.

    If your someone like me who has hardware from 2008-2014, just be grateful that windows 10 support lasted as long as it did.

    Yes I agree Microsoft and all other tech companies are hypocrites when it comes to e-waste but support can't be expected to last forever. It would be nice if Microsoft offered an option of paid support for people who want to keep using an older version of windows

  9. WaltC

    The hardware requirements for Win11 are not new in terms of requiring just released hardware, and all of them were optional on Win10. My x570 Aorus Master rev 1.0 is almost three years old (in another four months! Time flies) and I was running all of the Win11 requirements under Win10 for at least the last two years. fTPM works well, is transparent. Laptop owners, however, may be in a different category--which is why I loath laptops as they are custom devices with comparatively few hardware upgrade options. Most laptop owners would be well suited to turn to their laptop manufacturers for Win11 upgrades.

  10. CasualAdventurer

    I have a home-built workstation with an AMD Threadripper with 32 gig of RAM that is perfectly capable of running Windows 11, but it is one generation behind their requirements. There is no reason MS should not permit me to run Win11 and keep it updated so long as I recognize and deal with any incompatibilities along the way.

  11. red.radar

    I don’t understand the drama. Windows 10 still does everything windows 11 can with maybe a few limited uses cases. One of those is the scheduler for Big/little cores. Which you need new hardware to benefit from.

    are people that upset over not having the latest window chrome? Or am I missing some critical windows 11 feature ?

  12. spacecamel

    What is the over/under for the amount of time that someone will figure out how to get rid of it?

  13. rm

    I think this is so Microsoft can't be bashed online about issues with Windows 11 for systems not meeting minimum requirements. Just because Windows 11 runs on the hardware, doesn't mean it is optimized for that hardware anymore.

    So, some one could be upset with performance and post a screen shot, then MS and anyone else can point out that they are are not on supported hardware and that is likely the problem.

    Just my guess as to why the watermark.

    • brandonmills

      The biggest giveaway that these hardware requirements aren't as strict as they are making them out to be is them roping in the Surface Studio 2 and a couple other 7th generation processors. There is a different from not optimal, and meeting system requirements at all. What is so special about those 7th generation processors except that Microsoft had to support their own customers with a product they were still selling in their store? Why not include all 7th generation processors?

      • paweljott

        7th gen intel processors are susceptible to Spectre/ Meltdown, 8th gen are not. There are software workarounds, but they make system somewhat slower, and are a pain in the a^^ for kernel devs. So it's not "let's force people to upgrade because HW vendors asked nicely" (or at least not exclusively) - there are fairly good security-related reasons trying to ward people off anything lower than 8th gen.

  14. DBS

    I don't believe a single word Panos said about Windows 11 adoption. And the numbers seem to contradict him too, with abysmal adoption rates (last report I saw had Windows XP still with more users).

    The number of people who installed W11 on unsupported hardware is likely even smaller and perfectly aware of what they were doing. I don't see the point of this watermark other than to try to stigmatise users into buying new hardware?

    • Donte

      That logic is flawed for many reasons.

      Windows, any version, all versions go through the same typical update process. That is 98% of Joe Consumers get a new version of Windows with a new PC. Businesses lag behind because the ROI only makes sense when the current OS is about to lose support.

      Windows 11 adoption will be basically be the same. In 2021 something like 340 million PC were sold, with Windows 10. That is up from previous years, pandemic and all. So lets say they sell 300 million in 2022, 99% of those will come with Windows 11, in 2023 100%...etc. Yes corporations will re-image some right now to get back to their current Windows 10 corporate build.

      In any case by the time Windows 10 loses support in October of 2025 there will be something like 750 million + PC's that are running Windows 11, that came with the purchase of a new PC.

      Also in October of 2025 the newest "non-supported" PC's, the 7th generation CPU's (only using intel here) will be 9 years old. I personally have never kept any kind of computer for 9 years. I bet I am in the majority as well.

      I think Microsoft should keep its stance. With all of the CPU flaws in both Intel and AMD chips that were found, plus TPM, it is time to move the base security footprint forward and honestly the way the are doing it, will only impact a small minority of people. Microsoft has been known for it's Windows backwards compatibility for both software and hardware. At the same time many say it is holding back. Well this moves it all forward without great impact.

      • arjay

        I lost one desktop and two laptops, all still perfectly functional, when Windows 7 expired and I could not get security updates any more. I have a 10 year old MacBook Air that — thanks to Brave still updating their browser — I am willing to use as a spare. And virtually everything that can successfully run Windows 10 can run Windows 11 just as well.

        This particular situation seems odd. It’s not like the computers that qualify are going to be suddenly bulletproof. The marginal value of the newer chips doesn’t appear high enough for the draconian policy.

  15. anoldamigauser

    Why all the complaining? Does anyone think that normal people are upgrading their old Windows 10 computers to Windows 11? The folks that are doing this are tech enthusiasts, and should be going into it with their eyes open. No reason to get our panties all bunched up.

    • Donte

      Nope. Average users upgrade when they get a new PC. This is all drama.

      Sure I get you may have a bought a 7th generation CPU that came out in 2016, and stopped being sold in 2020 and in you want to run Windows 11, well you can't and you get Windows 10 until October of 2025.

      Worst case you bought a PC in October of 2020, the last month you could buy a 7th gen CPU, you would be out of support after 5 years. Not good and I get it. That said how many people does that really impact? 8th generation (supported) came out in October of 2018.

  16. ebraiter

    I have 2 systems that do not meet the official Windows 11 requirements. One was then the top of the line 4th generation Core i7 CPU. Still work great with my Windows 10 desktop. Not expecting to drag my desktop case, screen, mouse and monitor somewhere. I can wait the 3+ years to eventually upgrade.

  17. waethorn

    I installed Windows 11 on a FIRST gen Core i5 laptop that was supported by Windows 10. It was upgraded to include a SATA SSD but still has the original 4GB of RAM. Windows 11 ran better and gave better battery results than Windows 10 on the same hardware. Considering that they tuned the kernel for balancing between cores of different performance ratings due to Alder Lake, and that Sun Valley is a simpler UI originally destined for Windows 10, there’s no reason not to continue allowing older systems to update to keep them out of landfill, especially considering the lack of systems shipping due to supply chain breakdowns.

  18. boltie

    I doubt this is a watermark that would appear in general releases and is only part of the build info watermark that is usually displayed for test versions.

  19. epguy40

    the "system requirements not met" message now appears after installing the KB5011563 Win11 update (build 22000.588) or newer. KB5011563 is currently in the beta/release preview channel and not yet publicly released until late March 2022

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