Making people feel bad about the computers they use is a strange attempt at popularity, but it looks like Microsoft might be doing just that.
According to the latest Windows (opens in a new tab)The Windows 11 January 2023 update, which is still rolling out to users around the world, has started displaying a new watermark on the desktop that reads “System Requirements Not Met”.
When Windows 11 launched, there was a complex set of requirements, including TPM 2.0 (Trusted Platform Module), a rather obscure feature that resulted in many PCs and laptops that would otherwise run Windows 11 without issue ( similar to Windows 10) that were deemed unsuitable for the operating system.
This has led to a situation where people with new and powerful computers were told they couldn’t run Windows 11, as well as people with older hardware that had not felt the need to upgrade until now.
It wasn’t long before workarounds emerged that allowed people with hardware that didn’t meet the minimum recommended specs to install Windows 11 – and for a while it looked like they could successfully run the operating system without TPM 2.0.
Time to get tired
However, it seems that Microsoft is not happy with the continuation of this, as it is testing placing a noticeable watermark on desktop computers that do not meet the requirements. While Microsoft does not (yet) block updates to these PCs, some people may find the watermark annoying enough to update their PC.
Getting people to spend money to upgrade their hardware is certainly a risky way to lure people to your side, and from Microsoft’s side, it’s likely to claim that these watermarks act as a warning that the computer you’re using is not secure.
This argument might be more convincing if Microsoft explained what the advantages of TPM 2.0 are. The fact that people who have used Windows 10 (and even Windows 11) without problems on devices without TPM 2.0 will also undermine Microsoft’s claims.
Instead, it will probably just annoy people, and most will either ignore any watermarks or find workarounds to remove them. Meanwhile, for people who simply can’t afford new hardware, a watermark can give the impression that they are ashamed of the devices they use.
Instead of taking this approach, it would be better if Microsoft either emphasized the importance of hardware that supports TPM 2.0 or (even better) changed the Windows 11 requirements so more people could officially use it.
We’ll be keeping an eye on this to see if Microsoft will eventually include a watermark for everyone in upcoming Windows 11 updates.