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
- Enabling Windows Spotlight
- Where to Find Windows Spotlight Lock Screen Images
- Copy and Paste the Images You Want
- Essential Notes on Downloading Windows 10/Bing Spotlight Wallpapers
- Download Windows Spotlight Images with an App
- Use A Website to Download Spotlight Images
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.
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.
- 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 and 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, 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.
- 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 to add the ‘.jpg’ extension at the end. You can also rename the file by right-clicking it and selecting Rename from the menu.)
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.
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.