Microsoft has taken a hard stance on Windows 11 minimum hardware requirements and the company is now informing users when their hardware doesn't meet them through a system notification.
Testers have spotted that a recent Windows 11 preview update presents a watermark on the desktop wallpaper when it detects the hardware doesn't meet Microsoft's strict minimum requirements, as reported by The Verge. It also produces an alert within the Settings app.
Microsoft requires PC hardware that has at least 4GB of memory and 64GB of storage; UEFI secure boot enabled; a graphics card that's compatible with DirectX 12 or later, with a WDDM 2.0 driver; and a Trusted Platform Module (TPM) 2.0.
SEE: Windows 11: Latest updates bring a wave of new features
The company is aiming to beef up security, but the requirements also aim to make Windows better for games released in the future through DirectX 12, which is important after its mega $21.6 billion acquisition of Activision in January.
Microsoft's new minimum requirement alerts came to Windows 11 users on March 15 in the Build 22000.588 (KB5011563) for Windows Insiders on the Beta and Release Preview Channels.
Microsoft opted not to mention the new minimum requirement alerts in its release notes for that build. However, testers certainly noticed when the OS presented the message "System requirements not met".
The minimum requirements for Windows 11 aren't that high. Most smartphones, for example, already exceed it. Yet it's still a problem for consumers with older but functioning hardware who don't want to buy new kit, and for enterprises with a sizable chunk of their fleets consisting of hardware that doesn't cut it for Windows 11.
Microsoft did leave a loophole for people who want Windows 11 on unsupported hardware, but those users can't be guaranteed of receiving security updates from Windows Update.
The company is betting that by 2025, when Windows 10 support ends, all customers will be able to move to Windows 11 and that minimum hardware requirements won't matter because businesses typically refresh hardware every three to five years.
But, as The Verge points out, Windows 11 today only officially supports Intel 8th Gen Coffee Lake or Zen+ and Zen 2 CPUs and up.
Microsoft's official documentation is here and its requirements for Windows 11 on Intel, AMD and Arm are here.