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How to remove the Evaluation Copy watermark from Windows 10 for Insiders

When you sign up to be a Windows Insider not only do you get the latest version of the Windows 10 OS before the general public you are also a part of a larger experiment. As such, more data is collected to improve the OS and the version you are running is merely one of many builds.

Perhaps one issue that bothers people is the Evaluation Copy watermark that sits in the lower right-hand corner of the desktop. This watermark looks like this:

In the scheme of things this is a rather small "sacrifice" we make to get the new features. Still, a watermark is a watermark, and it effectively blemishes your desktop appearance. Today, we will talk about how to remove it.

Word of caution

Unlike some easy registry tweaks, for simplicity today we are relying on an external application called Universal Watermark Disabler. This app does all the work for you, but it does not come without risk. What this app does is more than just change a 1 to a 0 in the registry. Instead, it is altering system files, specifically basebrd.dll.mui and shell32.dll.mui.

Such changes to the OS should raise a flag of caution, and I advise being thoughtful when installing and using some 'hack' apps. Having said that, there is nothing devious about Universal Watermark Disabler, but I do not recommend making it habit to modify constantly aspects of your system files. Sooner or later you are likely to break something, and the result could range from disastrous to simple instability.

Because of this I always recommend you do a full system backup and take the time to learn what the trick in question is doing. The good news about today's trick is that there is an "uninstall" button that lets you reverse the action. Just remember, these kinds of apps are not future-proofed, may not work in all situations, and could break something later on.

So long as you are aware of all of that, we can now move forward.

Universal Watermark Disabler

To remove the watermark from Windows Insider we are just going to run a simple app and agree to the file changes. The process here actually takes less than 30 seconds, but we'll walk you through the procedure.

Note to complete the process you do need to log off and back on the system, so make sure you save any work before you begin.

1. Download

Grab Universal Watermark Disabler from the author's site found here. We are using version 1.0.0.6 of the app, which was last updated in January of this year. We tested it on Windows 10 build 10532 with no ill consequences. The app is freeware although you can make a donation to the author PainteR if you enjoy it. Here are some of its functions:

  • Supports all builds from Windows 8 7850 to Windows 10 10240 (and newer).
  • Supports any UI language.
  • Does not delete branding strings (i.e. does not modify system files!).
  • Removes any watermarks including BootSecure, Test Mode, Build string in evaluation and pre-release builds, "Confidential" warning text and even the build hash.

2. Run (and or extract)

Download uwd_[winaero.com]_617.zip to your computer. You can open it natively in Windows and (a) run the .exe file directly or (b) extract and run the app.

Inside the .zip is a 610 KB file called uwd.exe. You can double-click to run the file and you are presented with a warning screen to a User Access Control warning screen. If you agree, hit Yes.

3. Install

Assuming your status is green and stating Ready for Installation just hit the Install button. You should see a warning affirming You are going to install on the untested build. Continue? Hit Yes.

4. Sign out

The application kills explorer.exe process during the procedure. You will experience this as a "crashing" of part of the OS including the Start and Taskbar disappearing. Do not worry as this is normal. The application notes You will be signed out automatically. Save all your work and click OK at which point it is advised to hit OK.

That is all there is to do. Once you log back on you should notice that the watermark is now removed, leaving you a pristine desktop.

However, if you wish to put things back just re-run uwd.exe and now, instead of Install in the lower right corner you should see Uninstall. The process works in reverse and returns basebrd.dll.mui and shell32.dll.mui to their normal state .

Overall, the process is rather simple, but due to the higher risk level we have taken the time to show you what to expect.

Remember, you should do a proper backup just in case, and personally, I would advise returning to the watermark status before taking the next Insider Build. Regardless, if the watermark irks you, there is at least one solution to the problem. It is also worth noting you do need to repeat this after installing a newer build of Windows 10, so make sure to bookmark this page for future reference.

Let us know if you're going to take the plunge or just live with the badge of being an Insider in comments!

Source: Winaero

More Resources

Remember that we have many other articles on Windows 10, if you need help you always check these other resources:

Daniel Rubino is the Executive Editor of Windows Central, head reviewer, podcast co-host, and analyst. He has been covering Microsoft here since 2007, back when this site was called WMExperts (and later Windows Phone Central). His interests include Windows, Microsoft Surface, laptops, next-gen computing, and arguing with people on the internet.

48 Comments
  • I am fine with it. Thank you for the info, though.:)
  • AN OS hack, nice. Anyway about it, if it bothers you that much, you might have re-do this after every build that comes down...
  • Yes, almost 100% you will need to repeat this again after a new build is installed. Good point.
  • Windows Updates can sometimes overwrite the modified system files, restoring the original ones. Might need to re-run after a system update as well if my guess is right.
  • I do wish this wasn't there by default. What exactly does it accomplish other than make you feel like you are running a trial version of Windows?
  • You are indeed running a beta version of Windows.
  • Its a trial version. It has a expiration date.
  • When does this trial version end?
  • July 15, 2016
  • Maybe I missed something but wasnt it mentioned that you would be allowed to keep the insider version indefinately if not upgrading from an Windows 7 or 8?
  • If you keep it up to date, yes. Every insider build will push that date back. The expiration date just means you can't just sit on an old unsupported build forever. If you're getting insider builds, you're getting insider builds. Simple really.
  • And after that I have to do what? Buy legit version? My trail version just stops working? All of the files I gor on PC can't be accessed till I buy it?
  • That last one is never an option with Windows. Even a pirated version you still have access to your files, you just can't access the internet. But no, once the Insider program ends, if it does, you'll have to activate using a new or existing key.
  • Thats just the expiration date for this specific build guys, calm down and relax. Subsequent builds will have later dates. Keep up to date with builds as they're released and it'll never expire. Until they decide to end the Insider program of course, at which point you'd have to switch to an official non-insider build, for which I'm sure Microsoft would provide guidance.
  • this accomplishes telling people that this is experimental software ... Microsoft doesn't want its Windows 10 brand associated with crashy software ... that watermark lets people know that you aren't running what the public will be or is running. 
  • I don't even realize that there is a watermark LOL ...  
  • Do I need to remind anyone about KMSpiko?
  • Keep it secret bro
  • Off... Please share wallpaper :)
  • Very useful!! Thanx for the tip!!!
  • This is a real problem??
  • Is it stable enough for everyday usage? I don't mind using beta software but my PC OS should be as stable as possible, are there any major bugs?
  • There are always bugs. If you dont want them dont use pre release or any computer os. Bugs are everywhere.
  • In my experience teh Insider versions have been stable for the last 6 months or more. No major issues other than a few apps, like Calendar, not behaving well.
  • Thanks
  • I won't do this. I wear my badge proudly on every screen shot i take!!!
  • I have no problem with watermarks. But I will try it just once for sure
  • What if I want to just remove that Evaluation Copy and keep just the build number and the version watermarks? I mean I am a regular license holder
  • Why is it a big deal that there are watermarks?! (-_-)
  • Not sure it's a big deal, just some people prefer to not have it.
  • If you enrole to the insiders part of Windows 10 from a full version of windows, do you get the watermark?
  • yes
  • I was in the insiders program, and got a free Win 10 and don't have watermark.. :)
     
  • If you decided after you got the full version to go back into the insider program, you would get the watermark.
  • Awesome tip! Thanks!
  • The water mark doesn't bother me, so thanks anyway.
  • I actually quite like the watermark. It's my badge of honor, haha. No, I have no need of this trick, but still many thanks for writing the article. Someone will find use for it, surely.
  • I have a mostly white background on my desktop, that stops the watermark from being visable
  • I have a mostly black background, that makes the watermark clearly visible.
  • Nothing malicious? Show us the source code to determine what's really happening with their versions of the system files. Could be a back door hack. Posted via the Windows Central App for Android
  • miss tweakui Posted via the Windows Central App for Android
  • For those who don't think there's a good reason for the watermark, consider this... I'm Joe Consumer buying a Windows 10 laptop off Craigslist. I check out the laptop in person and everything seems on the up and up. Later, once I've got it home and my money is gone, I find out that I don't have an RTM version of Windows 10.
  • I proudly show off MY watermark!
  • I don't trust such software, kind of malware
  • If you are bothered by a watermark you should quit the preview program.
  • people telling others "if you don't like it leave the program" are noobs, relax...it's still ugly. I've been in program since long before public release and beta and it's still ugly to have when a simple winver command will tell me the same when I need to know....get lives....
  • Hey
  • im not sure why but I think its because update recently using UWD didnt work,and then I tried to type "slmgr -rearm" to cmd and it said "I dont have the authority or something" so I decided to to download windows tweaker and disabled administrator and other stuff ;3 and it works ever since