How to Find Windows Spotlight Lock Screen Images in Windows 10

Windows 10 is easily the most graphically-attractive and image-oriented Windows version yet. Nowhere does that statement show more clearly than in the operating system’s support for beautiful wallpapers, themes, and background images. Most theme 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 via Microsoft 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 them and how to obtain them.

Enabling 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, or it was simply turned off. You might be saying, “huh? What images?” in which case you should enable Windows Spotlight on your PC. 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.

windows spotlight feedback

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 want more!”) 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

Once you have Spotlight enabled on your computer, it will start collecting a variety of pictures. So, where do you find them on your PC? Microsoft has made it downright tricky to access these pictures. Here’s how to find them.

  • The first layer of trickiness is that Microsoft has set these files to be hidden, meaning they won’t show up in File Explorer on a casual scan.
  • The second layer of trickiness is that the files are buried down in your User directory.
  • The third layer of trickiness is that the files have horrible random garbage names, and no image extensions to make them readily identifiable.

Fortunately, this situation is overcomeable with the right process. Here’s how to get at these images.

  1. Open File Explorer and click the View tab.
  2. 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).windows 10 file explorer options
  3. In the Folder Options window that appears, select the View tab.
  4. In the “Advanced Settings” list, click the button labeled Show hidden files, folders, and drives.
    windows 10 file explorer folder options
  5. Click Apply to save the change and then click OK to close the Folder Options window.
  6. In File Explorer, navigate to This PC > C: > Users > [Your User Name] > AppData > Local > Packages > Microsoft.Windows.ContentDeliveryManager_cw5n1h2txyewy > LocalState > Assets.

windows spotlight assets folder

At this point, you should see an Assets folder with a whole bunch of files, all with garbage names 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, and these versions are generally the ones with the largest file sizes. Here’s how to identify the right wallpaper files.

  1. Switch File Explorer to “Details” view.
  2. 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.

  1. Select one or two of the files with the larger file sizes (typically higher than 400KB.)
  2. Copy the selected files to your desktop or another folder on your PC.
  3. Navigate to the directory where you pasted the files.
  4. Highlight one file and press F2 on your keyboard to rename it and to add the ‘.jpg’ extension at the end. You can also rename the file by right-clicking it and selecting Rename from the menu.)
    windows spotlight image rename
    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.

Essential Notes on Downloading Windows 10/Bing Spotlight Wallpapers

  • You’ll have to play with the raw files to find the images and resolutions you prefer.
  • The “Icons” view in File Explorer DOES NOT provide a preview of any image unless they are renamed with the JPEG extension (.jpg).
  • The Windows Spotlight wallpapers stored in your profile regularly change as the Spotlight program rotates through its library. Therefore, it is essential to obtain the images you want while they’re available.
  • 1080p (1920×1080) is the maximum resolution that Windows Spotlight will deliver to your device, even if you’re using a higher resolution display.
windows spotlight lock screen images

A sample of some of the Windows Spotlight lock screen images

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.

Spotlight Wallpapers by Ram6ler

Spotlights Wallpapers by 665Apps

Use A Website to Download Spotlight Images

If you want access to thousands of images that get featured on Windows Spotlight, then a website is your game! Yes, there is a website that has collated images from the very beginning of the program. The Windows 10 Spotlight Images site has more than 2,000 Spotlight images archived, and more get added daily.

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!

Make wallpapers yourself with our tutorial on creating a wallpaper collage on Windows 10.

30 thoughts on “How to Find Windows Spotlight Lock Screen Images in Windows 10”

Avatar TJ says:
They’re Here:

C:\Windows\Web

In the Screen folder. All the Windows 10 wallpapers are in that directory.

Avatar JRS says:
That directory is NOT where Windows keeps the “Spotlight” pictures. There are a few nice pictures there, but they are not the “Spotlight” pictures for your lockscreen. The directory way deep in your C: drive that is listed in the above article is correct, that is where Windows stores (and rotates) your Spotlight pictures.
Avatar Suzanne says:
I don’t know if anyone has noticed this yet. But you don’t need to add the .jpg to the end of the file name.
You can just drag the file to the google image search bar (images.google.com) without renaming. It will find the image and tell you about it.
I have added the Assets folder to my QuickAccess list. Then if I like a photo, I go there, sort the files by date, most recent on top. Then drag the most recent one to google. There are usually 2 versions of each photo, one is screen sized. And it looks like WIndows downloads them in bunches. I can see six images with the same date listed.
Avatar peter says:
this actually worked out perfectly, no clue how you did find them files in the first place but chapeau. I wrote this review just to express my gratitude
Avatar Jim says:
Until about a month ago the lockscreen photo changed every few days. For the past month the photo has not changed. Can you tell me how to get it to change regularly as before?
Avatar Randy says:
Is there a way to figure out WHERE the pictures are from? I like the Bing spotlight b/c it does ask on the boot-up screen 1) Do you like what you see? 2) It has some quirky question about the image or details about the image such as The tallest waterfall in the world. But you can still figure out where the photo was taken.
Avatar katie says:
very useful thanks
Avatar Doug Wylie says:
I use the Windows spotlight option, and the only reason that I went to this site was that one day a picture was shown of the water in Brugges Belgium and I had taken almost the same picture (but in black and white) when I was there in 1966 on a camping trip around Europe.
Avatar David Grosz says:
When I set spotlight on and the images start displaying, I don’t get the messages on my screen saying what the photos are of like my work computer does. Is there another setting for this?
Avatar Kamil K. W says:
Stupid image I was looking for to delete was here:

C:\ProgramData\Microsoft\Windows\SystemData\S-1-5-21-3549939596-2894022900-2197901164-1001\ReadOnly\LockScreen_O

Finally!

Avatar Diya B says:
Hi,

Many thanks for the info! I could view few of the files. But my question is that in my computer when the lock screen turns on it shows the location of the pic. How do I find that? I renamed to *.jpg one of these files and thought that the location may be in file info. But it is not. Whenever there is a pic of a a beautiful pace I ususaly note down the place. I am trying to find the location of a wildflower field in japan. It went by only about weeks ago. Any idea!
Thanks again!

Avatar YATIN says:
And it was the best explanation of path,
I really wanted the spotlight image and it really worked,
so thank you brother.
Avatar GJJohn says:
Did you try doing a copy and paste of the photo into Bing images? I can often find sources of photos in Bing Images that way.
Avatar Sam says:
Great to know all. However my problem is not yet solved. I am not concerned with pictures window find and temporarily store in asset folder of Spotlight. I have added two personal images that took in “Lock Scree” and have lost both the originals. I am hoping to somehow get them from where they are stored and Asset folder had all the windows auto selected images but not those two that I have added. I still can chose between the two and they don’t get erased over a period of about a year. So I assume they are in another folder but where. Can any one so kindly help me with this?
Avatar Sam Sen says:
I have my own image taken and use as Screen Lock. Now where is that image? Checked the image folders as above and after renaming them with .jpg, non is the image I added and am currently use. Anyone knows where this kind of images are stored?
Avatar jane says:
I had some people get into my computer and delete all the images, they ruined my ability to use spotlight. I did somehow capture some of their images and run those over and over, they did a super job of ruining my computer.
Avatar jack says:
thanks budy , its work…
thanks alot
Avatar Nate says:
I made a little bat file with the following commands:
set CoolPhotos=”c:\mycoolphotos”
del “%CoolPhotos%\*.*” /Q
copy “%localappdata%\Packages\Microsoft.Windows.ContentDeliveryManager_cw5n1h2txyewy\LocalState\Assets\*.*” “%CoolPhotos%”
ren “%CoolPhotos%\*.*” “*.jpg”
Copies all files to a folder of your choice and appends .jpg to all, ready to view. Works great!
Avatar Stefanos A says:
Simply copy this to file explorer address bar:
%Userprofile%\AppData\Local\Packages\Microsoft.Windows.ContentDeliveryManager_cw5n1h2txyewy\LocalState\Assets
Avatar Stefanos A says:
And use RenameMaster to add to all files .jpg extension at the and of the name
Avatar Alison says:
No need to use RenameWhatever.
Once you copy those files to a new folder you created, go to that new folder. For me, I would:
ROBOCOPY %Userprofile%\AppData\Local\Packages\Microsoft.Windows.ContentDeliveryManager_cw5n1h2txyewy\LocalState\Assets Pics /DCOPY:T
And go to Pics folder created.
Open the good ol’ Command Prompt, or the modern PowerShell (search it or type cmd in the address bar).
Issue the following command: FOR %F IN (*) DO @RENAME %F %F.jpg
All of those files will be suffixed with jpg.
And by the way, the current Lock Screen pic is not there. It’s in:
C:\ProgramData\Microsoft\Windows\SystemData\S-1-5-18\ReadOnly\LockScreen_Z
And you need ownership to that.
Avatar Paulina says:
I really wanted an image off of spotlight, and I couldn’t find it through google. I tried looking through my computer files myself, but still couldn’t find it, and I wouldn’t have identified those weird files as pictures anyway – so thank you!
Avatar daisy says:
The information of where the photo taken, e.g. California, USA, is not showing when mouse hover. All I see was do you like it. Went to the temp folder, property of the image doesn’t say anything in details either.
Avatar dumisani says:
I am looking for a lock screen image that appeared after updating my windows 10, I liked it, on it was a beautiful scenery with a big stone on the side of a road.
I like the lock screens but we need more variety
Avatar Kavi Rana says:
thank you so much!
Avatar Cathy Phillips says:
Just…thank you. Really helpful.
Avatar Michael Stephenson says:
C: > Users > [Your User Name] > AppData > Local > Packages > Microsoft.Windows.ContentDeliveryManager_cw5n1h2txyewy > LocalState > Assets
Really? What the f is that >>>> dont tell me u r open u computer with mouse but not via winE?
C:UsersserraxerAppDataLocalPackagesMicrosoft.Windows.ContentDeliveryManager_cw5n1h2txyewyLocalStateAssets
or %userprofile%AppDataLocalPackagesMicrosoft.Windows.ContentDeliveryManager_cw5n1h2txyewyLocalStateAssets
Avatar koldfish says:
Just get Spotbright on the Windows Store, that auto downloads and allows you to browse all of the Windows Spotlight images, very simple and easy.
Avatar Linda says:
How do you do this? Can’t find it in the Windows Store, but then again, I’m not very tech savvy…
Avatar neonix says:
PSA: Directory Opus, an alternative file explorer/manager for Windows targeted at power users, will actually detect the file formats and show thumbnails of these images in the Assets folder despite not having file extensions!
Avatar Terry Quinn says:
My lock screen image is frozen on the one image. Following your steps Windows spotlight is selected for Background and the toggle switch is on. I can change the photo there in settings but when I turn on I get the same picture every time.
It used to work and I thought it was a great feature.
Is there something else I should look at to fix this.
Avatar Jaime Stuardo says:
I think it would be interesting to add to this feature the location of the image when it is a landscape. For example, sometimes a beautiful landscape appears and I wonder where that picture was taken as @allisonllanos:disqus wrote. The location name could be placed in some corner of the picture or enable right click properties option when in lock screen.
Avatar Jodi Boydston says:
I need help, I can’t find the assets folder. I went through all steps, from This PC to LocalState, Asset wasn’t there. Mine said Tips and it was empty. I’m going to take a break for now.
Thanks,
Jodi
Avatar Amit Khatri says:
There are some pictures which windows keep showing me again and again on my lock screen. I don’t want to seem them anymore. But, there is no option to unlike the photos which you have liked in past. What should I do.
Avatar Adedokun Samuel says:
I cant find the windows spotlight option on my lock screen settings help

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