SecureBoot is not configured properly.
So this annoying “Watermark” magically appears on my darling wife’s laptop a week or so after Updating to Windows 8.1. The Watermark is located on the Desktop (mode), lower right hand side of the screen just above the Taskbar Clock/Calendar. I should have grabbed a screen cap before we fixed it but the watermark appears as (right justified):
SecureBoot isn’t configured correctly
What is Microsoft SecureBoot?
Microsoft Secure Boot is a component of Microsoft’s Windows 8 operating system that relies on the UEFI specification’s secure boot functionality to help prevent malicious software applications and “unauthorized” operating systems from loading during the system start-up process. The secure boot functionality in Windows 8 is to protect users from rootkits and other low-level malware attacks by blocking unauthorized (non-signed) executables and drivers from being loaded during the boot process. UEFI is a function of newer hardware at the BIOS (CMOS) level. Windows 8 leverages that firmware to keep the baddies out at start-up.
In BIOS, usually under the BOOT tab on these newer systems, you may find something that refers to SecureBoot. It will be either enabled or disabled. If it is disabled, in some cases, it will throw the Watermark on the desktop. MS states it only affects certain brands.
Note: You can really mess things up in BIOS; so if you are uncomfortable fussing around in there, this might be where you grab your Computer Savvy neighbor to go in there for you .
In our case on an ASUS laptop updated to Windows 8.1 it was disabled (DEL at Start-up got us into BIOS, under the boot tab we found Secure Boot). Enabling Secure boot in BIOS and the Watermark disappeared. My homebrew desktop, Surface Pro and Surface RT did not suffer from the Watermark.
If you have Windows 8 running on older hardware (UEFI might not be present) or you boot into multiple OSes (linux or the likes) and you need to have SecureBoot disabled: Microsoft has issued a hotfix to remove the annoying Watermark. It can be found, along with other troubleshooting SecureBoot topics, on TechNet here: http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/dn441535.aspx