If, like myself, you’ve upgraded to Windows 8.1 you might find yourself greeted by this watermark on your desktop:
Also just to make sure you get the message it is also displayed on your start menu:
So you might be wondering why is this message displayed? Well it turns out Windows considers having Secure Boot disabled as “not configured correctly”. If you have a motherboard that supports Secure Boot but you’ve not got it enabled then Windows will constantly remind you of it.
For your average user who will only ever boot into Windows 8.1 then, sure, Secure Boot might be useful. However, if you actually plan on booting into another OS that does not support UEFI, Secure Boot, or is not signed by the almighty Microsoft then you’re going to want Secure Boot disabled.
Even worse, if you’ve built your PC yourself you might find some of your hardware does not actually support UEFI or Secure Boot. For example, the firmware on even very recent graphics cards might not be compatible resulting in failure to boot with Secure Boot enabled. In some cases you’ll be able to contact the manufacturer who’ll be able to provide you with an update but if you are using a older card or the manfuacturer has not got around to releasing an update, you are out of luck.
What does Microsoft have to say on this issue? Well as a matter of fact they have a support page dedicated to this issue. Great, you might think. Until you actually read it:
Oh, wait. Their only solution is to turn on secure boot. I also posted on their community support forums about the issue and got a reply from one of their support engineers who very helpfully ignored my question and told me to enable secure boot.
I can’t see any reason why this message should be displayed so prominently. Remember, the same method of displaying a watermark is also done if you are not running a genuine copy of Windows, so that’s the level of in your face message we are dealing with. If a message is needed, at all, then why not display it on the System “View Basic Information about your computer” control panel item.
Edit: It was suggested that a better place might be the action center. I’d agree with this, it seems like a much better idea than displaying it in the System control panel item. This way you’d still be alerted of the fact secure boot is disabled, but you’d also be able to dismiss it.
I’ve not actually found any method to remove the watermark. At this stage all I can hope for is an update from Microsoft that removes this, or at least gives the option to remove it.