What is Test Mode & how to remove Test Mode watermark in Windows

Windows 7, like Windows Vista has several watermarks which appear when certain situations warrant it so. One of them is the Test Mode watermark. This watermark may appear in the bottom right part of your Windows desktop, if you install an application whose drivers are not digitally signed by Microsoft and if they are still in the testing phase.

What is Test Mode in Windows

Most are familiar with For testing purposes only, Evaluation copy, Safe Mode, etc watermarks. The Test Mode is not so familiar a watermark, however!

The TESTSIGNING boot configuration option determines whether Windows 7 or Vista will load any type of test-signed kernel-mode code. This option is not set by default, which means test-signed kernel-mode drivers will not load by default on 64-bit versions of Windows Vista and later versions of Windows.

For 64-bit versions of Windows 7 & Vista the kernel-mode code signing policy requires that all kernel-mode code have a digital signature. However, in most cases, an unsigned driver can be installed and loaded on 32-bit versions of Windows Vista and later versions of Windows, explains MSDN.

The TESTSIGNING boot configuration option is enabled or disabled through the BCDEdit command.

To enable test-signing, use the following BCDEdit command:

Bcdedit.exe -set TESTSIGNING ON

To disable test-signing, use the following BCDEdit command:

Bcdedit.exe -set TESTSIGNING OFF

To use BCDEdit, you must be a member of the Administrators group on the system and run the command from an elevated command prompt. To open an elevated Command Prompt window, create a desktop shortcut to Cmd.exe, right-click the Cmd.exe shortcut, and select Run as administrator

When the BCDEdit option for test-signing is enabled, Windows does the following:

  • Displays a watermark with the text “Test Mode” in all four corners of the desktop, to remind users the system has test-signing enabled. However, starting with Windows 7, Windows displays this watermark only in the lower left-hand corner of the desktop.
  • The operating system loader and the kernel load drivers that are signed by any certificate. The certificate validation is not required to chain up to a trusted root certification authority. However, each driver image file must have a digital signature.

As mentioned earlier, this water mark may appear if you install an application whose drivers are not digitally singed by MS and they are still in the test phase. You can ofcourse use sigverif command to check if there are any unsigned drivers and to which application/device they are tied with.

Remove Test Mode watermark in Windows

If in the rare eventuality you get to see the Test Mode | Windows 7 | Build 7600 watermark on the bottom right part of your Windows desktop, for reasons unknown to you, you may have to re-enable driver checking first. Open a  Command Prompt as an Administrator and enter the following commands:

bcdedit.exe -set loadoptions ENABLE_INTEGRITY_CHECKS

Hit Enter. Now type:

bcdedit.exe -set TESTSIGNING OFF

Hit Enter.

Alternatively you can also use Microsoft Fix it 50756 from KB2509241 to remove the Test Mode watermark easily.

Should help!

Posted by on , in Category Windows with Tags
Anand Khanse aka HappyAndyK is an end-user Windows enthusiast, a Microsoft MVP in Windows, since 2006, and the Admin of TheWindowsClub.com. Please read the entire post & the comments first, create a System Restore Point before making any changes to your system & be careful about any 3rd-party offers while installing freeware.
  • bonbonboi

    wow nice info baby

  • http://en.wikipedia.org Tamas Feher from Hungary

    Beware! Rootkit type “Necurs.a” hidden malware started to use the “bcdedit.exe -set TESTSIGNING ON” command to be able to infect 64-bit versions of Windows 7 and Vista during the late spring 2011 period.

    This way the hackers do not have to steal a genuine driver signing cert (from Realtek, Marvell or any other vendor) to be able to inject code into the OS kernel. They can now sign off their own in test mode, with just a small corner notice appearing on Windows 7 desktop.

    I can’t comprehend why Microsoft devs failed to restrict the TESTSIGNING functionality to the speifically developer-minded “Windows Check/Debug” editions. There is zero reason to allow by-passing Patch Guard and other important 64-bit defenses on common use home and office computers! It is like building a huge fortress with trenches around and posting a notice to say the draw-bridge crank is accessed under the rug.

  • Nick Rizzo

    i know this is an old post but i typed in both pf these commands and got process succesful messages or whatever they say, but when i closed the command box, the watermark was still there. and i did run it as admin

  • Steve

    You would need to restart, drivers are loaded at boot which is what bcdedit changes, boot preferences, after a restart it will boot with driver signing enabled, I have seen options for driver signing also come up when pressing F8 on boot, the option is to disable it, so you may find the option to enable it there too if it is already disabled

  • Nick Rizzo

    On ok gotcha, I’ll check when I’m back home again, I can’t remember if it worked or not lol

  • http://waded.org Wade Dorrell

    The instructions are partially wrong. “CopyBcdedit.exe” is not correct; it should be “Bcdedit.exe”

  • http://www.thewindowsclub.com Anand Khanse

    Thanks. Don’t know how that ‘copy’ crept it. Edited.

  • Zhuinden

    If you want to preserve TEST MODE but remove the watermark, then just use the following app http://www.4shared.com/zip/qPtZmujZce/RemoveWatermark_20090509.html

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