How to Find Windows Spotlight Lock Screen Images in Windows 10
Windows 10 is easily the most aesthetically pleasing version of Windows to date. Nowhere does that statement show more clearly than in the operating system’s support for beautiful wallpapers, themes, and background images.
Most themes and wallpaper images are easy to find and get repurposed for other uses (see our article on how to locate wallpaper images in Windows 10).
However, there is one source of images that’s trickier to track down, known as Windows Spotlight images. These wallpaper pictures are a set of stunning photos, curated by Bing, that automatically get downloaded to your Windows 10 profile and appear on your screen when your profile is locked.
Here’s where to find Windows Spotlight lock screen images in Windows 10.
How to Enable Windows Spotlight
To find and obtain those beautiful wallpaper images from Bing, you must have Windows Spotlight enabled. The option is active by default, but it may have changed at some point due to system adjustments.
If you don’t have it activated, here’s how to do it:
Click in the search box of your Windows 10 taskbar and type “lock screen,” then hit enter, and it will launch the lock screen settings app.
In the “Background” dropdown, you have several choices. If your background is set to something different than Windows Spotlight, just change it. There are several other options here as well, including toggles for which apps can show quick or detailed statuses and an opportunity to hide or show your Windows desktop background on the sign-in screen.
One point of clarification: there is a difference between the Windows ‘sign-in screen’ and the Windows ‘lock screen.’ The Windows Spotlight feature discussed here applies to the lock screen.
You can test the Spotlight feature quickly by locking your PC (keyboard shortcut: Windows Key + L). Based on the speed of your Internet connection, it may take a few moments for a new Windows Spotlight image to load, as Windows has to grab the copy from Bing’s servers. If you have Spotlight turned on already, Windows will grab these images in the background ahead of time, but there may be some lag if you’ve just turned on the feature.
While previewing your new Windows Spotlight background images on the lock screen, you may occasionally see a text box that asks if you like what you see. You can hover over the box or tap on it to answer yes (“I like it!”) or no (“Not a fan”). After choosing your preference, Windows and Bing will use that information to custom-tailor future images to your tastes, much in the same way that users can give ratings to custom song playlists on services like Pandora or Apple Music.
Where to Find Windows Spotlight Lock Screen Images
After enabling Windows Spotlight, it will start collecting a variety of pictures. So, where do you find them on your PC?
Microsoft hides these images very well, so you’ll have to do some digging to get to them. Here’s how to find them:
- Open File Explorer and click the View tab.
- Find and click Options on the far right of File Explorer’s ribbon toolbar (you may need to adjust the size of File Explorer to see it).
- In the Folder Options window that appears, select the View tab.
- In the Advanced Settings list, click the button labeled Show hidden files, folders, and drives.
- Click Apply to save the change, then click OK to close the Folder Options window.
- In File Explorer, navigate to: This PC > C: > Users > [Your User Name] > AppData > Local > Packages > Microsoft.Windows.ContentDeliveryManager_cw5n1h2txyewy > LocalState > Assets.
At this point, you should see an Assets folder with a whole bunch of files without any file extensions. These files are your Windows Spotlight lock screen images, listed in a variety of sizes and formats.
If you’re planning to use any of the Windows Spotlight images on your desktop PC or laptop, you’ll want the desktop-sized versions of these images. These are typically the images with the largest file sizes. Here’s how to identify the right wallpaper files.
- Switch File Explorer to Details view.
- Make sure the Size column is enabled to help you identify the correct images.
Copy and Paste the Images You Want
Now, we just need to make sense out of this mess of data that you just found. The files are JPEG images with unique names. Here’s how to obtain the photos.
- Select one or two of the files with the larger file sizes (typically higher than 400KB.)
- Copy the selected files to your desktop or another folder on your PC.
- Navigate to the directory where you pasted the files.
- Highlight one file and press F2 on your keyboard to rename it and add the ‘.jpg’ extension at the end.
After renaming the file and adding ‘.jpg’ at the end of it, you should be able to double-click the file to open it in Windows Photos or your preferred image viewer.
Download Windows Spotlight Images with an App
The Windows 10 Store includes a couple of apps specifically designed to download and obtain Spotlight wallpapers. The apps make the process easier, without all the fidgeting and complicated steps.
Some good options include:
Either of these apps will allow you to quickly and easily download Spotlight images in Windows 10. These apps can be a little hit or miss, though, so you may be better off following the manual solution described earlier in this article.
Use a Website to Download Spotlight Images
The Windows 10 Spotlight Images site has more than 2,000 Spotlight images archived, and more get added daily, making it a great option for users who want to download Spotlight images without having to do the work themselves.
Do you have any other suggestions or tips for getting access to these beautiful pictures? If you do, then please share your ideas with us in the comments below!