Thanks to trick by Treburin, users can now remove the infamous watermark printed on lower right corner or 4 corners of desktop of 64-bit (x64) Vista. Windows Vista display a fade watermark text to indicate state of Vista system user is using, such as “Evaluation Copy” for unactivated copy or beta release of software that going to be expired, “Test Mode” or “For testing purpose only” when activate code driver test signing mode or “Safe mode” when system enters into Safe Mode.

The watermark text messages are defined in a file named user32.dll.mui located in \Windows\System32\en-US\ folder (or other language folder for non-English (US) edition of Vista). This is correct for 32-bit Vista, but in 64-bit Vista, there are more user32.dll.mui files scatters across \Windows\SysWOW64\en-US\ (or localized language folder), \Windows\WinSxS\ and \Windows\WinSxS\Backup\ folders. To make things complicated, tighten security measure causes it’s almost impossible to replace any of these files properly when system is running, even with full ownership and rights or permissions or in Safe Mode.

To replace the user32.dll.mui files in x64 edition of Vista with a modified or patched version to remove the watermark of “Evaluation Copy”, “Test Mode” or “Safe Mode”, try the following trick.

  1. Download the patched version of user32.dll.mui for Vista 64-bit edition.

    user32.dll.mui_VistaX64_RTM.rar (for Windows Vista RTM build 6.0.6000.16386)
    user32.dll.mui_VistaX64_SP1RC.rar (for Windows Vista SP1 RC build 6.0.6001.17052)

    Or, check out the forum.

    Note that the patched user32.dll.mui is for US English edition only.

  2. Take ownership and grant full control permissions to the following files at the following locations:

    For all editions of x64 Vista:
    C:\Windows\System32\en-US\user32.dll.mui
    C:\Windows\SysWOW64\en-US\user32.dll.mui

    For Windows Vista RTM (line wrapped for easy reading):
    C:\Windows\winsxs\wow64_microsoft-windows-user32.resources_
    31bf3856ad364e35_6.0.6000.16386_en-us_a23a7ba41af05c6a\
    user32.dll.mui

    C:\Windows\winsxs\Backup\wow64_microsoft-windows-user32.resources_
    31bf3856ad364e35_6.0.6000.16386_en-us_a23a7ba41af05c6a_
    user32.dll.mui_14652dbb

    For Windows Vista SP1 RC (line wrapped for easy reading):
    C:\Windows\winsxs\wow64_microsoft-windows-user32.resources_
    31bf3856ad364e35_6.0.6001.17052_en-us_a43d456018021200\
    user32.dll.mui

    C:\Windows\winsxs\Backup\wow64_microsoft-windows-user32.resources_
    31bf3856ad364e35_6.0.6001.17052_en-us_a43d456018021200_
    user32.dll.mui_14652dbb

    Note that you must take ownership and grant full control permissions when log on to full Vista desktop (normal mode or safe mode). Check out the guide to take ownership and grant read and write permissions to files and folders in Vista, or make use of the script to add a right click menu option to take control of files and folders with ease.

  3. Extract the archive package downloaded above to a folder. It’s recommended to unpack to a simple named folder on C:\ root directory, such as C:\PatchX64mui, as later the change directory process has to be type manually.
  4. If your system drive (where Windows Vista is installed) is not C:\, edit the PatchX64mui.bat accordingly. Note that you can use %SystemDrive%, %SystemRoot% or %WinDir% or other variables as the value for these parameters will be different from actual location to patch in recovery mode.
  5. Insert a Windows Vista installation DVD into optical drive, typically the one that you used to install Vista on the computer.
  6. Restart the computer, and choose CD-ROM drive as startup drive to boot on the Vista DVD.
  7. Once boot up, select the language and other preferences and click “Next” to continue.

    Remove watermark on 64-bit Vista

  8. The select “Rapair your computer” link.

    Remove watermark on 64-bit Vista

  9. In “System Recovery Options” dialog window, select the operating system to repair. If you can’t see any installation of operating system listed, or your choice of Vista installation isn’t listed, load the drivers for computer’s hard disks.

    Remove watermark on 64-bit Vista

  10. When prompted to choose a recovery tool, select “Command Prompt” to open a command prompt window.

    Remove watermark on 64-bit Vista

  11. In the command prompt window, use “CD” command to change working directory to the folder where the patched files and batch script are extracted. For example, if the folder is C:\PatchX64mui, type the following command and hit Enter.

    cd C:\PatchX64mui

  12. Then type “PatchX64mui.bat” to run the batch command script to automatically copy the patched user32.dll.mui and other associated files to overwrite the original files.

    Note that the script does not perform any backup. Please copy the files to additional copy with different name beforehand.

  13. All files should have a status that saying “1 file copied”. If there is a line that saying “0 file copied” or other error message, it probably means that the path is incorrect. In this case, restart computer to normal mode, and search for all user32.dll.mui that exists on your system (The search must includes non-indexed, hidden and system files at Everywhere location, options that can be set at Advanced Search). Then modify the PatchX64mui.bat manually to reflect the correct path to the file. There are some related files for amd64 which can be ignored. Once modified, repeat the process of replacing affected files at recovery mode again.
  14. Once done replacing all files, reboot computer and boot normally. All watermarks in whichever mode or state – unactivated evaluation, safe mode or test mode – should have gone removed and disappeared.

Update: Remove Watermark universal desktop watermark remover is a universal watermark patcher that supports all versions and languages of Windows, including 32-bit and 64-bit.

For 32-bit Vista patched user32.dll.mui without watermark on desktop, check out the following links for many different versions of files:

Vista RTM 6.0.6000.16386
Vista SP1 Beta v.275
Vista SP1 Preview v.658 6.0.6001.17042
Vista SP1 RC v.668 6.0.6001.17052

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