Disregard Windows 11 specs and it’ll watermark your gaming PC

An upcoming Windows 11 update could add a watermark to the desktops of gaming PCs circumventing Microsoft's hardware specifications

Despite Microsoft offering a free upgrade, there are some still running unofficial versions of Windows 11 brandished with a watermark. Microsoft’s latest preview build suggests that gaming PCs wielding unsupported hardware will soon suffer the same fate.

Spotted by The Verge, Windows 11 Release Preview build (22000.588) adds a “system requirements not met, go to settings to learn more.” watermark to unapproved rigs. While the message is seemingly less intrusive than the company’s longstanding unregistered mark of shame, it’s set to pop up on millions of PCs using known workarounds.

It’s worth noting that Microsoft doesn’t mention the new watermark in its Windows Insider notes, but users like XenoPanther on Twitter have shared evidence of its existence. If the notice of disapproval does come packaged with Windows 11’s next update, it’ll affect any build that pairs the OS with CPUs older than Intel’s Coffee Lake or AMD’s Zen+ and Zen 2 lineup.

Windows 11’s popularity as a gaming platform may be growing, but some of Microsoft’s decisions could tarnish its reputation. Recently, the computing giant accidentally pushed Windows File Explorer banner ads to some users as part of an internal test. The company also plans to make an internet connection mandatory for installing the operating system.

The latest version of Windows does have a few tricks that make it a great gaming gateway, including a new DirectStorage API that speeds up load times. Yet, if it wants to keep Valve’s SteamOS from gaining ground as a result of the Steam Deck, it’s going to have to tread lightly with unwanted features and nuisance additions to its experience.