Windows 11, the successor to the decade-old Windows 10, brought in a wide range of changes, from a revamped UI to innovative features. However, if you’re an enthusiast using the Windows 11 Insider Preview, you’re probably well-acquainted with the “Evaluation Copy” watermark that’s prominently displayed on your desktop. Although it’s a small reminder of the pre-release nature of your OS, for some, it may be a constant visual annoyance. Fortunately, there are a few ways to remove or at least hide this watermark in both Windows 11 Pro and Home editions. In this article, we will explore three distinct methods to get rid of the watermark.
Related resource: How to Test CPU Throttling in Windows 11
1. Modifying the registry to remove the insider preview watermark
The Windows Registry is an essential component of the Windows operating system, containing settings and configurations for both the system and installed applications. In the case of the Windows 11 Insider Preview “Evaluation Copy” watermark, a particular registry tweak can hide it. As always, any modifications to the registry should be made with caution. A wrong entry or deletion can lead to system instabilities. Hence, always ensure to backup the registry or create a system restore point before proceeding.
- Press Win + R on your keyboard to launch the Run dialog box.
- Type in “regedit” and hit Enter or click “OK” to open the Registry Editor.
- Navigate to the following path:
- In the right pane, locate the “PaintDesktopVersion” entry. If you don’t find it, you might need to create one:
- Right-click on an empty space in the right pane.
- Hover over “New” and select “DWORD (32-bit) Value.”
- Name this new entry “PaintDesktopVersion.”
- Double-click on the “PaintDesktopVersion” entry. A small dialog box will appear.
- In the ‘Value data’ field, change the existing value to 0. Ensure that the ‘Base’ is set to ‘Hexadecimal.’
- Click “OK” and close the Registry Editor.
- Restart your computer.
Upon restart, the “Evaluation Copy” watermark should no longer be visible on your desktop. If you ever wish to bring it back for any reason, simply change the value of the “PaintDesktopVersion” entry back to 1 and restart your computer.
This method directly influences how the desktop is rendered, and by toggling the PaintDesktopVersion value, you are essentially instructing Windows not to display certain overlay information, including the watermark.
2. Using Ease of Access settings to hide the insider preview watermark
While these ease of access features and settings are primarily meant to aid those with disabilities, some of them have side effects that can be beneficial in other contexts. One such setting can help in masking the “Evaluation Copy” watermark on the Windows 11 Insider Preview, albeit with a caveat – the removal of desktop background images.
- Navigate to the Control Panel. You can do this by typing “Control Panel” in the Windows search bar and selecting the corresponding result.
- Within the Control Panel, click on “Ease of Access.”
- Now, select the “Ease of Access Center.”
- Scroll down and find the option titled “Make the computer easier to see.” Click on it.
- In the list of settings that appear, look for the checkbox labeled “Remove background images (where available).”
- Check (or enable) this option.
- Click “Apply” or “OK” to save the changes.
As a result, the “Evaluation Copy” watermark should now be obscured. However, as mentioned, the downside to this method is that you won’t be able to set a custom wallpaper as the background will turn to a plain, default color. This approach essentially removes all background images, including the watermark.
For those who value a clean, unobtrusive desktop, this might be an ideal solution. If having a wallpaper is essential, you may want to consider one of the other methods to remove the watermark. To revert the changes and bring back your wallpaper, simply uncheck the “Remove background images (where available)” option and hit “Apply.”
3. Opting out of the Windows Insider Preview Program
If the watermark becomes a significant visual distraction or you just want to enjoy a stable version of Windows without any pre-release features or potential bugs, then opting out of the Windows Insider Preview program might be the right choice. By doing so, you will transition your system to a public release of Windows 11, which won’t carry the “Evaluation Copy” watermark. Here are steps to leave the program:
- Click on the Start button and then select “Settings.”
- Navigate to “Windows Update” from the sidebar.
- Here, you’ll find the “Windows Insider Program” section. Click on it.
- In the ensuing window, enable the “Stop getting preview builds” option.
- Then, select “Unenroll this device immediately“.
- Follow the on-screen instructions. Depending on your settings and the current release cycle, you may be presented with different options. Choose the one that aligns with your desire to revert to a stable version of Windows 11.
A couple of things to keep in mind:
- Opting out may require a fresh installation of Windows or a rollback to a previous version. This means you might lose some data or apps installed after joining the Insider Program. Therefore, it’s imperative to back up all vital data before making the move.
- Once you’ve left the Insider Program, you’ll no longer receive early access to new features and updates. However, you’ll still get the regular updates that Microsoft releases for all Windows 11 users.
While the “Evaluation Copy” watermark is a small reminder of the Insider Preview nature of Windows 11, it’s understandable if users seek ways to remove or hide it for aesthetic or other reasons. With these three methods, you can choose the one that suits your preferences and comfort level. Always remember to act with caution, particularly when making changes at the system level or modifying essential settings.