Whether you have legally obtained Windows for free or through any other tricks and installed it without spending a single penny, the undesired “Activate Windows” watermark shows up on-screen, making your experience rather unpleasant. It may resist viewing screen while you attempt to do a screen recording, block views, and may even divert your attention towards it while playing games or watching movies.
The “Activate windows” notification appears on the screen to remind you to do the Windows 10 activation on your computer. But, to activate it, you will either require a digital license or a product key. Then only you can purge this annoying “Activate Windows” watermark of your desktop display.
So, in this post, I have demonstrated 8 different methods to remove the “Activate Windows” watermark alongside some relevant FAQs to guide you through this.
Before that, let’s understand what this “Activate Windows” is and why it is displayed on the desktop.
What is the “Activate Windows” watermark?
Like any other software form, Microsoft too, prefers to maintain a policy that will safeguard its software updates and releases from being pirated, misused, or illegally re-distributed across the internet space or elsewhere for free. So, in order to stop piracy of its latest Windows version; Windows 10, Microsoft decided to put a watermark by the top-corner of the computer screen. This watermark will be there until the user activates Windows 10 via legal means.
Well, the watermark doesn’t cause a grave issue. It is just that the mark appears on every app, window, and even the cursor.
It is not only when you are using a pirated Windows 10 version that the “Activate Windows” watermark is prompted on the screen. There are many other reasons as follows:
- Firstly, it appears on your computer screen if you use a pirated or non-genuine Windows 10 copy on your computer
- Secondly, the watermark appears if your Windows 10 license has expired or is invalid
- Thirdly, people often try to use free product keys available on online platforms with the hope of activating the genuine Windows 10 version for free. But, that trick doesn’t work because those keys might have been already used by others. Microsoft applies an online Windows activation technique to stop other users from using same product key for the process
- Fourthly, using the product key of a Windows version to install another Windows version results in the watermark display on the screen. For example, you have bought the product key for Windows 10 Home Edition but you used it to install Windows 10 Professional Edition on your PC. Although the product key is unique and genuine, it won’t work because of the unmatched variant of Windows 10
- Fifthly, if you have yet not activated Windows on your PC, you cannot access the additional features like security features, Windows updates, Windows Defender, and many more that come with Windows activation. So, you get the watermark.
Note: The below given methods will only demonstrate how to remove the “Activate Windows” watermark from the screen. It won’t activate the real version of Windows 10 on your computer. Also, you will not be able to prevent the limitations of being unable to personalize your computer, etc., at all.
With that been clarified, if you want to remove the watermark from your PC, follow me below.
Top 8 Methods to Remove the “Activate Windows Watermark”
Method 1: Rid of Activate Windows Watermark with CMD
- First of all, click on the Windows start menu and type “notepad” on search dialogue. Open it as you get the option. Then enter the following commands on the Notepad as in below image:
- Next, click on “File” on Notepad and click on “Save As”. Then select your desired location to store that file. After that switch the “Save as type” to “All Files” and name the file as “remove.bat”
- Now, go to the location where you saved that file. Then right-click on that file and further click “Run as administrator”
- A command prompt will pop up and close itself. After that, restart your PC.
Now you will no longer see the “Activate Windows” watermark by the top-corner of your desktop screen.
Method 2: Remove the Watermark with Registry Editor
- Press Windows + R key combination to access Windows registry editor. Then enter “regedit” within the run dialogue and hit Enter
- Next, expand the HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Control\Panel\Desktop and double-click on “PaintDesktopVersion” from the right-side of the window
- Change the “Value data” from “1” to “0” and click OK
Method 3: Use Windows Watermark Remover Software
There are third-party applications using which you can easily remove the Windows Watermark. Universal Watermark Disabler 18.104.22.168 is one such tool that helps you remove any sort of watermark in Windows 10.
Note: This tool won’t change the system files but will only remove the Windows watermarks that include Build string in pre-release and evaluation builds, and Test Mode.
- First of all, download Universal Watermark Disabler tool
- Trail the saved location of that file and unzip it in download folder
- Next, save and close all the apps running on your PC
- After that run the disabled tool by double-clicking on uwd.exe
- Click Yes if the User Account Control prompts to allow permission
- Finally, install the tool after which the app will run and auto-restart your PC
Now, when you log in to the system, the “Activate Windows” watermark won’t be there anymore.
Method 4: Use Ease of Access to Disable Windows Watermark
- Open Control Panel by pressing the Windows + S key combination and choose the first result that appears
- Access the Ease of Access Centre
Note: To find this option easily, change the panel icons view by “large icons”.
- Then click on “Make the computer easier to see” and move down to that window and tick the checkbox saying “Remove background images (where available)”
- Finally, click OK and reboot your computer
Now, check if the Windows watermark is successfully removed from the desktop screen or not.
Method 5: Use Windows PowerShell to Rid of Activate Windows Watermark
Remember that it is only a temporary hack as doing this will activate Windows for only a period of 30 days. However, you can reuse the method to get an extra 90 days.
- Click on Windows Start and enter PowerShell in the search dialogue. Then right-click on that option to select “Run as administrator “
- Click Yes when the UAC prompts to allow permission
- Then enter “slmgr/renew” on PowerShell window
Method 6: Input a Genuine Product Key
As you can see in the above image, Windows 10 is yet not activated which means that the previous version of Windows was also not activated. Here, an unauthorized Windows 7 copy is upgraded to Windows 10 and a product key was never entered while upgrading.
Considering this, Windows 10 stays inactive which is why the watermark appears on the screen. The situation will reappear if you install a new copy of Windows 10 but fail to provide a valid product key during installation.
So, the only resolution to this is to enter a valid product key.
- First of all, click on “Change product key”
- Then input the 25-digit code (product key) for Windows 10 activation. Just make sure that it has not exceeded the highest usage limit. Else, the key won’t help in activation
Method 7: Implement Activation Troubleshooter
The Windows Activation issue often appears after making necessary upgrades to the system, for example; motherboard replacement or so. Windows 10 associates a digital license to all the components of your computer. So, upon making major internal hardware changes, the system fails to reorganize itself as your PC.
To resolve this issue, you can implement the activation troubleshooter. It will help you establish a link between your PC and your Microsoft user account to reactivate your Windows.
You can leverage this method to activate Windows (even if it’s not reactivation phase in your case).
- Go to Settings and click on “Update & Security”
- Now choose “Activation” and click on “Troubleshoot” and wait for some time as the Troubleshooting begins
- Next, choose the checkbox Spraying “I changed hardware on this device recently”.
After this, Microsoft account login will be prompted on the screen for you to log in.
Note: If the digital license was not linked to your Microsoft account before making changes in the hardware system, this method will not work. In that case, you can contact Microsoft support to get assisted but that may hardly work.
Method 8: Disable Windows 10 to remove Activate Windows Watermark
- Click on Windows Start menu and go to Settings (Cog icon)
- Then navigate to “System” and click on “Notifications & Actions”
- Finally, go to the bottom of that window to disable “Show me the Windows welcome experience after updates”. Then get tricks, tips, and suggestions upon using windows
Well, that will be all to resolve your issue.
1. How do I get rid of “Activate Windows Watermark” permanently?
To get rid of the “Activate Windows” watermark permanently from your computer screen:
- Click on Windows start menu
- Next, click on the gear icon to open “Settings”
- Type “activation settings” in the search dialogue and click on the option as it appears
- Then type the unique product key for your Windows 10 activation and click “activate”
- Now hold on till you get the confirmation notifying that Windows 10 has been successfully activated
- After receiving the confirmation notification, shutdown your PC and restart it
Finally, go to the desktop home screen, the “Activate Windows” watermark shouldn’t be there anymore.
2. How do I permanently get Windows 10 for free?
First of all, download Windows 10 from the official website of Microsoft. You will not require a product key to obtain a copy of Windows 10.
Windows systems have a Windows 10 download tool that will assist you in creating a USB drive, so you can install the Windows 10. If you are using a different OS (say a Mac OS), then visit Windows 10 ISO download for direct download of an ISO. If you are on Windows OS, then clicking on the above link will redirect you to the download tool webpage.
Simply start the Windows 10 installation procedure as you would normally do. One of the initial screens will request entering the product key so that you are able to “Activate Windows”. But, you don’t have the key and that’s why you are here. So, click on the “I don’t have a product key” checkbox instead, located below. After that, Windows will let you proceed with the installation process. Later also, during the process, the system may ask you to provide a product key. But, you just look for a relevant small link to avoid that product-key-asking screen.
If there is no such link available, you may still continue with the installation process by providing a KMS client setup key.
Finally, you will get two choices: either “Windows 10 Pro” or “Windows 10 Home”. Remember, if you want to avail the premium version for further upgradation, then Windows 10 Home will be the cost-effective option to do so. So, choosing to install the Home version will be a wiser decision (but not necessarily). Windows 10 will be normally installed, irrespective of whichever version you pick.
3. How can I get a free Windows 10 product key?
Note: This trick is typically for School, College, and University students and researchers.
To get a Windows 10 product key for free, go to OnTheHub webpage and hover to the bottom of the screen. There you have to choose your Nation, State, and the name of your current institutional body. Next, the page will give a WebStore link to you of your institution. Remember that this facility is only possible if your institution has partnered with Microsoft ecosystem to help its students, teachers, and others with free access to Windows key, whenever needed.
If your institute is already in partnership with Microsoft ecosystem, you will get the Windows 10 Key from your academy, institution or University. Visit the WebStore and there you will get the products provided by your institution. Also, note that you should have an active used email id from your institution. Use it for registering on the portal. Finally, you have to utilize your student or teacher or researcher email ID to get the Windows 10 product key for free.
4. How many times can you use a Windows 10 product key?
Maximum one time you can use a Windows 10 product key at a time on a licensed computer.
Well, if it is not just about removing the “Activate Windows” watermark but also getting all the features available on your system that the Windows 10 activation would have done, purchase an activation key and get the issue resolved. Else, if you don’t mind having the limited features, facilities and the watermark display on your desktop, then any of the aforementioned methods is effective.