Windows 8.1 Desktop

What to do if there is a watermark and an error message on the Desktop in Windows 8.1.

QUESTION I recently installed Windows 8.1 on my Intel-based PC, and I now have a watermark permanently displayed on my Desktop with the following message:

Windows 8.1 Pro

SecureBoot isn't configured correctly

Build 9600

I received no such message when running Windows 8 and my BIOS settings haven't changed since I upgraded. Is there a security issue with my PC and how can I get rid of this message from my Desktop?

HELPROOM ANSWER First of all, your PC is no less secure under Windows 8.1 that it was when running Windows 8. All that's changed is that the new version of the operating system is more aggressive at prompting you to enable and configure the Secure Boot feature in your PC's firmware.

If your PC doesn't support Secure Boot, this message shouldn't appear. It's designed to inform you that the feature is available but not currently working. Secure Boot helps protect your PC from being hijacked by malware during the boot process so, if you're running Windows 8 or newer, it can be a good idea to set it up properly.

However, some hardware, such as certain graphics cards, isn't compatible with Secure Boot, and you won't be able to use it if you want to run older versions of Windows or other operating systems such as Linux. So if you have incompatible hardware, or you're dual-booting your system with another operating system, you won't be able to set up Secure Boot in order to remove the nagging message.

If you don't want to use, or simply don't care about, Secure Boot, you can remove the watermark using the following patch from Microsoft: tinyurl.com/k7zsgbw. This should also become available via Windows Update eventually.

If you would rather use the Secure Boot feature to protect your computer, you'll need to make a few changes to your UEFI configuration. The exact steps will vary from system to system, but should broadly fit the description below.

First, you'll need to enter your PC's BIOS configuration menu. This is usually achieved by turning the computer on and immediately pressing a key during startup. The key you need to press may be displayed briefly on the screen; if not you'll need to consult your manual to find the correct key.

Otherwise you can perform an Advanced Startup from within Windows: go to the Settings Charm and select Change PC settings, then Update and Recovery followed by Recovery, then Advanced Startup. Click the 'Restart now' button.

When your computer restarts, select Troubleshoot, then Advanced Options: UEFI Firmware Settings. Then click the Restart button.

Your PC should now restart into the UEFI configuration screen. Look for your boot configuration options (you may have to enter an advanced menu first) and find Secure Boot. Make sure Secure Boot is enabled.

Now look for an option marked 'Install Intel Platform Key'. Select it and restart.

If this doesn't clear the message, you may have to contact your PC manufacturer or install a BIOS update.

For more information, take a look at Microsoft's own advice.

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