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Windows 11 watermark for unsupported PCs appears in latest Insider builds

Surface Studio
Surface Studio (Image credit: Windows Central)

What you need to know

  • It seems likely that Windows 11 will show a watermark on PCs that don't meet the operating system's minimum requirements.
  • The watermark previously appeared in limited testing, but it is now showing in the latest Release Preview and Beta builds of Windows 11.
  • If your PC doesn't meet the minimum requirements of Windows 11, a small string of white text will appear in the lower right-hand corner of your desktop.

Microsoft appears set on showing a watermark on PCs that don't meet the minimum requirements of Windows 11. The watermark was spotted in limited testing back in February 2022, but it has now crept its way onto the latest Release Preview and Beta builds of Microsoft's operating system. Specifically, Windows 11 Build 22000.588 shows the mark in the lower right-hand corner of the desktop.

The minimum requirements of Windows 11 have been controversial since they were first shared by Microsoft last year. While almost all newer PCs meet the requirements, there are still many usable systems that cannot officially upgrade to Microsoft's new OS. It's possible to upgrade an unsupported computer to Windows 11, though you may have to look at a watermark in the near future.

The watermark was discovered in recent Insiders builds by Twitter user Xeno.

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Windows 11 showing a watermark on unsupported PCs seemed possible when the text was spotted last month, but it seems likely now that the mark is in the latest Release Preview and Beta builds. That being said, Microsoft has made changes based on user feedback before. People complained in the comments of our piece covering the initial appearance of the watermark.

Sean Endicott
Sean Endicott

Sean Endicott is the news writer for Windows Central. If it runs Windows, is made by Microsoft, or has anything to do with either, he's on it. Sean's been with Windows Central since 2017 and is also our resident app expert. If you have a news tip or an app to review, hit him up at sean.endicott@futurenet.com.

7 Comments
  • Oh well. I'm sure lots of people will have something to say about it but, personally, seems fine.
  • There is a way to remove the watermark.
  • Yep. Saw a post on another group today how to remove it.
  • My perfectly supported SurfaceGo3 on the Dev channel has a watermark too. All of my previous devices on Insider builds had watermarks identifying what build they were on. So what?
  • The difference is that this isn't for insiders who agree to it. Its for people running genuine windows versions on hardware that Microsoft artificially restricts and has determined to not support. It looks pretty bad on a pc to have a watermark... especially since it calls back to the windows is not activated watermark. It looks bad and is designed to discourage people from upgrading to windows 11 on unsupported hardware. It's a low blow to enthusiasts.
  • Pretty low bar to be a low blow. IMHO
  • updating to official KB5011563 update build 22000.593 released March 29 disables or removes the "unsupported" watermark message as it does not appear to be included in .593 build unlike with 22000.588