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How to fix Windows Spotlight Lock screen errors on Windows 10

On Windows 10, Windows Spotlight is a feature that downloads and sets Bing images as the background on the Lock screen automatically, which allows you to get a fresh look every time you sign in.

However, Spotlight is not a perfect feature and sometimes you may experience problems. For instance, you may see the image stuck in the Lock screen for a long time, or the feature may suddenly stop working.

Although the Settings app doesn't offer an option to reset Windows Spotlight, you can fix most common problems with two simple workarounds.

In this Windows 10 guide, we'll walk you through the steps to fix common problems with Windows Spotlight on your device to keep the Lock screen showing fresh and beautiful images from Bing.

How to reset Windows Spotlight on Windows 10

If Windows Spotlight isn't working or it's stuck in with the same image, you can follow these steps to clean the downloaded images and reset the settings to get the feature working again.

Disabling Spotlight feature

To disable Spotlight on Windows 10, use these steps:

  1. Open Settings.
  2. Click on Personalization.
  3. Click on Lock screen.
  4. Use the "Background" drop-down menu, and select the Picture or Slideshow option.

Once you complete these steps, you can proceed with the instructions below to clear the assets, reset the settings, and re-enable the feature.

Cleaning Spotlight assets

To delete the images already locally stored on your device, use these steps:

  1. Open Start.
  2. Search for Run and click the top result.
  3. Type the following path and click the OK button.%USERPROFILE%/AppData\Local\Packages\Microsoft.Windows.ContentDeliveryManager_cw5n1h2txyewy\LocalState\Assets

  1. Select all the files (Ctrl + A keyboard shortcut) and press the Delete key to clear the old images (if applicable).

After you complete these steps, proceed with the steps below to reset the Windows Spotlight settings.

Resetting Spotlight settings

To reset the Spotlight settings on Windows 10, use these steps:

  1. Open Start.
  2. Search for Run and click the top result.
  3. Type the following path and click the OK button.%USERPROFILE%/AppData\Local\Packages\Microsoft.Windows.ContentDeliveryManager_cw5n1h2txyewy\Settings
  4. Inside the Settings folder, right-click the settings.dat and roaming.lock files individually, then click the Rename option and change their names to settings.dat.bak and roaming.lock.bak.

  1. Restart your computer.

Once you complete the steps, the last step left to do is to re-enable the feature using the Settings app.

Enabling Spotlight feature

To enable Windows Spotlight, use these steps:

  1. Open Settings.
  2. Click on Personalization.
  3. Click on Lock screen.
  4. Use the "Background" drop-down menu, and select the Windows Spotlight option.

After completing the steps, you can test that Windows Spotlight is working correctly by locking your device (Windows key + L keyboard shortcut) and making sure that new images rotate in the background every time you sign in.

How to reset Windows Spotlight settings using PowerShell

Alternatively, if you're still having issues with Windows Spotlight, you can use PowerShell to reset its settings with these steps.

Disabling Spotlight feature

To disable Spotlight on Windows 10, use these steps:

  1. Open Settings.
  2. Click on Personalization.
  3. Click on Lock screen.
  4. Use the "Background" drop-down menu, and select the Picture or Slideshow option.

Once you complete these steps, you can use PowerShell to reset the Windows Spotlight settings and re-enable the feature.

Resetting Spotlight settings

To fix problems with Windows Spotlight with PowerShell commands, use these steps:

  1. Open Start.
  2. Search for PowerShell, right-click the top result, and select the Run as administrator option.
  3. Type the following command and press Enter:Get-AppxPackage -allusers *ContentDeliveryManager* | foreach {Add-AppxPackage "$($_.InstallLocation)\appxmanifest.xml" -DisableDevelopmentMode -register }

  1. Restart your computer.

After completing the steps, Spotlight should start working again on your Windows 10 installation after re-enabling the feature using the Settings app.

Enabling Spotlight feature

To enable Windows Spotlight, use these steps:

  1. Open Settings.
  2. Click on Personalization.
  3. Click on Lock screen.
  4. Use the "Background" drop-down menu, and select the Windows Spotlight option.

Once you complete the steps, make sure the workaround fixed the issue by locking your computer and checking if new images appear in the background.

Updated February 19, 2019: This guide has been revised and updated to make sure it's current with the latest version of Windows 10.

More Windows 10 resources

For more helpful articles, coverage, and answers to common questions about Windows 10, visit the following resources:

Mauro Huculak is technical writer for WindowsCentral.com. His primary focus is to write comprehensive how-tos to help users get the most out of Windows 10 and its many related technologies. He has an IT background with professional certifications from Microsoft, Cisco, and CompTIA, and he's a recognized member of the Microsoft MVP community.

22 Comments
  • Never mind... didn't get copied correctly :)
  • Thank you @Mauro Huculak.. It really helped.
  • The UWP Dynamic Theme does this and it's on both PC and Mobile. It's great.
  • Seems to have done the trick here. Thanks for the pointer!
  • I use Dynamic Theme since Windows doesn't apply the photos to background. Only lock screen. Never have understood that.
  • Windows 11 has a new spotlight feature testing in Dev channel :)
  • Is it just me or is MS in their quest to make Windows "user friendly" hiding a lot of advanced features? Seems that this process would be better served by having in the app list a "clear cache" or "reset".
  • EXACTLY. Nothing as basic as getting something to work, should ever require physically going into the folders and files.
  • This happens a lot.
  • My tip: Copy this windows central article title and weblink. Copy to a new windows feedback  item via feedback hub app. Add the text: "Please fix this. Add a spotlight reset button in settings". Done. Now all you have to do is keep updated with the latest news at windows central.com and wait for new Microsoft updates.
  • ...oh and don't forget to share the feedback link so we can upvote it.
  • Will try this on my messed up spotlight. Please create fix article for windows hello for when it recognizes you but doesn't unlock the screen, there is no reset for this either.
  • I been stuck with the same image on my desktop pc since Windows 10 launched, so glad I can now fix it so it works the same as my Surface Pro 3! Thanks for this great piece.
  • If i restart or shutdown the PC i get the same picture on the lock screen, however if i only lock the PC a new image is displayed. On a firends PC the image changes everytime, with no respect to shutdown or restart. Am I the only one who is experiencing this?        
  • My computer does the same as your computer. When I reported as a problem on Microsoft Technet along time ago I was told that's the way windows spotlight works. It only gives a new picture if you sleep or lock the computer.
  • Does anyone have the problem where Spotlight will still show images when you lock, but only if you have the "Show lock screen background picture on the sign-in screen" turned off?  When I turn it on, I get a black lockscreen, but the text overlays are still there.  Then when I click, the image comes back where you sign in. With it turned off, the lock screen works normally, but when you sign in you get your chosen color as a solid background.  It's not terrible but it's kind of jarring.  It used to work where the lockscreen image would dim when you sign in - so the image is always displayed in some way.
  • And if neither of the mothods work?
  • This works. Thanks!
  • So my problem is twofold: 1. Firstly, when I lock the screen, I get a Spotlight picture. But I only get the "Like it ?" message at top right, I don't get the other text that tells you about the picture (I have had this before, but it's disappeared). And the picture gets stuck and doesn't change. 2. Secondly, and more annoyingly, I have the setting to show the lock screen pic (ie Spotlight image) on the sign-in screen. But that doesn't work, my sign-in screen just shows one of the standard Windows pictures. I've tried both of the methods in this article but neither has fixed either of those issues. Does anyone have any further ideas please ?
  • I disabled spotlight, I really do not see what it is for. i would love to get rid of the lock screen as well, i see no need for it on a computer, come to think of it I see very little need for one on a phone.
  • i always thought that these kind of issue (since they are known) should be corrected automatically by windows troubleshooting. During scheduled maintenance Windows should plan some sort of correction of known problems as i got tired of seeing the red backpack over the mountains
  • Does this fix need to be updated for later versions? I'm on 1909 and the fix does not work. I have tried it many times on 4 different computers to no end. I even did a complete reset on my two surface devices a month ago. One of them is still working with the lock screen the other one got stuck again after two weeks. The fix does do anything to that device now.
    Is this fix version dependent?