How to Download Windows 10 Spotlight/Lock Screen Images

If you’re using Windows 10, you’ve probably noticed that the lock screen usually displays a really nice background image that is automatically chosen from Bing and automatically sized for your desktop screen. If you have a high-resolution monitor, the feature works especially well.

On a 4K or WQHD (2560×1440) monitor, the high-resolution images look absolutely great. The feature is called Windows Spotlight and it’s an option in the Windows 10 Lock Screen settings dialog.

The only problem is that there is no easy or quick way to download the images to your computer. Nor is there any way to use the Windows Spotlight feature for your desktop wallpaper. You can choose from Slideshow, but it requires you to point to a folder with pictures.

In this article, I’ll show you how to get those pictures from Windows Spotlight onto your computer, which you can then feed to the slideshow option for your desktop wallpaper.

If you’re not sure what Windows Spotlight is or if it’s not enabled on your computer, you can click on start and type in lock screen to bring up this dialog.

As you can see, the lock screen images are really nice and change about every two days. Luckily, all of the images that have been shown on your computer are actually already stored on your system, albeit not in a very user-friendly way.

Find Windows Spotlight Images

The first step is to find all the stored images on your Windows 10 system. To do this, you’ll need to open Windows Explorer and click on the View tab.

Go ahead and check both the File name extensions and Hidden items boxes. Once you have done this, navigate to the following directory below, using your own user account in place of username.


You should see a bunch of files in this folder if you have been using Windows Spotlight for some time. Go ahead and click on the Size column to order the items by file size.

The reason I mention sorting by size is because some of the files in the folder are less than 50 KB and are not the wallpaper images. You can just ignore those files. Now what you want to do is create a new folder somewhere else on your drive that you will use for the wallpaper images.

Select all the files that are larger than 100KB or so and copy them to the new folder. To copy, select the files and then hold right-click and drag the images to the second Explorer window.

You’ll notice that it’ll say “Move to Wallpapers”, which you can ignore since you’re holding down the right-click button your mouse. When you let go, you’ll get another dialog, however, saying the files can harm your computer.

You obviously can ignore this since these are files that are already on your computer. The reason why the message appears is because they are being moved from a system protected hidden folder. Click OK and then you’ll be able to choose Copy here.

To make the images viewable again, you have to right-click on them to rename them. Since you have no idea what the photo will be, just give it a number for the name. You’ll also have to add the file extension. The images are all going to be either .PNG or .JPG, so try them in that order.

Once you rename the file, go ahead and double-click on it to see if it opens in your default photo viewer program. If it does, you’re good to go. If not, try the other file extension. You should start seeing previews of the images in Explorer also as you rename them. Some remain with the default image placeholder icon, but the images load just fine.

That’s about all there is to it. It’s not the simplest procedure by any means, but it’s not risky and it’s fairly straight-forward. I suggest turning on Spotlight for a couple of weeks and then grabbing all the images. The only downside here is that the folder contents change often and it doesn’t keep a record of every single image ever shown. It will delete some and replace them with newer images, so you might have to repeat this procedure every couple of months.

Other Ways to Get Spotlight Images

If you feel that’s way too much work for those images, you do have a couple of other choices. First, you can spend a dollar and get the SpotBright app, which allows you to download the Spotlight images in just two clicks.

The second way is even easier. Someone has been nice enough to find each image used in Spotlight and post it to Imgur. There are at least 200+ images in this album and they are all full HD resolution images. Using the site, you have the advantage of downloading a lot more of the Spotlight images than you’ll find in the hidden folder.

A third way is to use a clever PowerShell command. Even if you are non-technical, it’s very easy to run and it’ll save you a lot of manual work. Just create a folder on your desktop called Pics and then open PowerShell by clicking on Start and typing in powershell.

Now just copy and paste the following command into the PowerShell window and press Enter:

Get-ChildItem -Path $env:localappdataPackagesMicrosoft.Windows.ContentDeliveryManager_cw5n1h2txyewyLocalStateAssets | Copy-Item -dest {"$homedesktoppics" + $_.BaseName + ($i++) +".jpg" }

Open the Pics folder on your desktop and voila! All the images from the LocalState/Assets folder should be there. You’ll need to delete out the useless files, but otherwise it saves you a lot of time. Enjoy!

— Update: 09-03-2023 — found an additional article How to Save Windows 10/11 Spotlight Wallpapers from the website for the keyword save spotlight lock screen images.

Windows Spotlight brings to you some fantastic images that are worth storing. Unfortunately, at present, Windows 10/11 doesn’t have a GUI option to save these lock screen wallpaper images; this has to be done manually or using a custom app or script. This post tells you how to save Windows Spotlight lock screen images automatically or manually.

Save Windows Spotlight Lock Screen Images

The Windows Spotlight images are stored in one of the sub-folders several levels underneath the Local App Data folder, with random file names containing no extension. Here is the folder path


Backup Windows Spotlight images and add .JPG extension

The above location is not meant to be used as a permanent storage area, as the images you see today in that folder wouldn’t be available there forever. If you like to store the photos, copy them to a different folder, under your Pictures folder, or elsewhere.

To preview them after copying them to your Pictures folder, add the .jpg extension to these files. To do so, follow these steps:

  1. On the folder where you’ve copied the Spotlight images, type cmd.exe in the Address bar to launch Command Prompt in the current folder.
  2. Typing the following command would add the JPG extension for all the extensionless image files:
    REN * *.jpg

Remove non-wallpaper files such as tile images

The Windows Spotlight store folder also contains images that are not wallpapers, such as logos or tile images of smaller dimensions that need to be filtered out.


A Tile image found in the Assets folder

Files with a size of less than 400 KB are probably not wallpaper files. However, you can preview them before clearing them out. Hint: Sort the listing by Size column.

Portrait vs. Landscape Images

The Windows Spotlight store folder can contain portrait as well as landscape images.

You may sort the files using the Dimensions column (which you need to add by right-clicking the Column Header in the folder and clicking More..).

Once sorted, you can move the Portrait images to a separate folder, and Landscape ones to another folder.

Backup Spotlight Images Using Script

Here is a VBScript that copies the lock screen wallpaper files from the Assets folder to your PicturesSpotlight collections folder.

 'Copies Spotlight images from Assets folder to "PicturesSpotlight Collections" 'Picks up only the Landscape images, and having size >250KB. 'Filename: spotlight_collect.vbs © Ramesh Srinivasan - 'For Windows 10 systems. Option Explicit Dim objFSO : Set objFSO = CreateObject("Scripting.FileSystemObject") Dim WshShell : Set WshShell = WScript.CreateObject("WScript.Shell") Dim objFolder, oPic Dim strAssetsFldr, strSpotlightFldr strAssetsFldr = WshShell.ExpandEnvironmentStrings("%localappdata%") & _ "PackagesMicrosoft.Windows.ContentDeliveryManager_cw5n1h2txyewyLocalStateAssets" strSpotlightFldr = WshShell.ExpandEnvironmentStrings("%userprofile%") & _ "PicturesSpotlight Collection" If Not objFSO.FolderExists (strSpotlightFldr) Then objFSO.CreateFolder strSpotlightFldr strSpotlightFldr = strSpotlightFldr & "" If objFSO.FolderExists (strAssetsFldr) Then Set objFolder = objFSO.GetFolder(strAssetsFldr) Dim file, iHeight, iWidth For Each file In objFolder.Files If objFSO.FileExists(strSpotlightFldr & file.Name & ".jpg")  True _ And LCase(file.Name)  "thumbs.db" Then If file.Size > 250000 Then On Error Resume Next Set oPic = LoadPicture(file) 'Skip pictures that can't be loaded If err.number = 0 Then iWidth = CInt(round(oPic.width / 26.4583)) iHeight = CInt(round(oPic.height / 26.4583)) 'Lets copy only Landscape images of size >250KB If iHeight < iWidth Then objFSO.CopyFile file, strSpotlightFldr & & ".jpg", False If err.number  0 And err.number  58 Then WScript.Echo err.number & vbCrLf & err.Description End If End If End If On Error GoTo 0 End If End If Next End If 

Script Usage

Copy the above code to Notepad, and save the file with .vbs extension — e.g., spotlight_collect.vbs. Then, double-click to run the script.

Via @:

You can also place a shortcut of the script in your in the Startup folder or run it as a Scheduled Task at regular intervals (hours) so that you don’t miss a single Windows Spotlight wallpaper.

The script does the following:

  • Copies only the landscape images by querying the dimensions of each file.
  • Copies only files that are >250 KB.
  • If a file of the same name exists in the destination, it ignores and copies the next file.
  • Adds a .jpg extension to the files copied to the Spotlight collections folder. It doesn’t change the file name so that you don’t end up with duplicates in the folder, especially when you run the script at regular intervals on the same day.

You can run the script at regular intervals using Task Scheduler to copy the new set of Spotlight images downloaded by Windows 10 or 11. Once you collect enough wallpapers, optionally, you can set the Spotlight Collection folder as the desktop background slideshow for your account. See the article Windows Spotlight Wallpapers as Desktop Wallpaper Slideshow for more information.

Find where a Windows Spotlight Image was shot

On Windows 10 v1607 and higher, you should be able to see the place/location shown in the current Windows Spotlight wallpaper by hovering your mouse pointer over the “Like what you see?” section. See the post Find the Location Where a Spotlight Image was Shot for more information.

Related articles

  • How to Find the Current Lock Screen Image File Name and Path?
  • Get Notified When Windows 10 Brings a New Spotlight Image Every time.
  • Windows Spotlight does not work and is stuck on the same image

— Update: 11-03-2023 — found an additional article How to Save Windows 10’s Lock Screen Spotlight Images to Your Hard Drive from the website for the keyword save spotlight lock screen images.

By default, Windows 10 shows background pictures on your lock screen that have been curated specifically for this use–but it’s not immediately clear where they’re stored. Windows replaces these images regularly, but if you want to use them as regular wallpapers, the last several are usually in that cache and are not too hard to save if you grab them in time.

Many of you may have disabled Spotlight images on your lock screens because Microsoft will slip the occasional ad in there, but if you haven’t, you’ll notice that the ads are pretty rare, and the Spotlight images are often really nice. Also note that we’re talking here about background images for the lock screen–that page you have to click or slide out of the way to get to the login screen. You can actually set background images for your login screen separately.

RELATED: How to Disable Ads on Your Windows 10 Lock Screen

First: Enable Spotlight Images on the Lockscreen

If you’ve turned Spotlight images off (or you’re just not sure), it’s easy to turn them on again. Just click Start and then choose Settings (or hit Windows+I). On the Settings screen, click Personalization.

In the Personalization window, select the “Lock screen” tab and then on the Background drop-down menu, choose “Windows spotlight.”

When you first turn on Spotlight, it will take a few restarts (or returns to the lock screen) to build up some images in your cache. On the lock screen, you can nudge Spotlight towards the types of images you enjoy. When you see something you like, just click “Like what you see?” and then click “I want more!” to see more images like the current one in the future.

How to Save Spotlight Images

After Windows has had time to save up a few Spotlight images, you can find them buried in your user folder. First, you’ll need to make sure you’re seeing hidden folders. In File Explorer, switch to the View tab, click “Show/hide,” and then enable the “Hidden items” check box.

Next, navigate to the following folder (or just copy the path below and paste it into the File Explorer address bar):


Instead of working with these files directly in the Assets folder, you’re going to copy them somewhere else. Just create a new folder anywhere you like, select all files in the Assets folder (Ctrl+A is the quickest way), and then copy them to the new folder. When you do this, Windows will warn you that some of the files may be harmful to your computer. This is just because you’re moving them from a system folder and Windows doesn’t recognize the file types (since no extensions are assigned). Click OK to finish copying the files.

At the Command Prompt, type (or copy and paste) the following command and hit Enter:

ren *.* *.jpg

This command renames all files in the directory to their current name plus the .jpg extension. Exit the Command Prompt and refresh the folder you’re working with (F5). As you can see, some of the files now have thumbnails. Those are the actual image files. You can go ahead and delete everything that doesn’t have a thumbnail to get it out of the way.

Of the actual image files that are left, you’ll see a few types. Some of the smallest files are just image assets that might be used for things like app icons or displays. You can just get rid of those, too. The portrait-oriented images may be interesting to you for use on a smartphone. And the widescreen images are the actual lock screen images you’re after. Put them into a folder with your other wallpapers and you’re good to go!


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