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How to save Windows Spotlight lockscreen images so you can use them as wallpapers

Windows 10 brings a unique feature to the table with Windows Spotlight. The option lets you set your lockscreen on your PC or tablet to auto-rotate through a preselected group of photos picked by Microsoft. At the top of the right-hand corner, you can give a thumbs up or down if you liked it like Pandora. If you gave it thumbs down, off it goes. A thumbs up, however, will produce similar images on the next run.

You can read our tutorial on how to get it working if you are new to Windows 10: 'How to enable Windows spotlight in Windows 10 to keep your lock screen awesome'

Those images produced by Spotlight tend to be awe-inspiring, which means you may want to save them on occasion for later use including on your phone (where, unfortunately, Spotlight has yet to arrive). Today, we'll show you how to do just that!

How to save Spotlight images

As you can probably figure, Spotlight images are cached on your local PC and hidden in a particular folder. They're given awful names like '8d71495e43fa1c6887a8840aa45…' but that is a different battle. Here is how to find them, copy them and save them for later use.

  1. Hold down your Windows key plus R [Win + R] to launch the Run dialog prompt

  1. Enter in the following command and then hit OK. Your best bet is to copy and paste:%localappdata%\Packages\Microsoft.Windows.ContentDeliveryManager_cw5n1h2txyewy\LocalState\Assets

  1. A folder will be opened in File Explorer with non-specific file names.

  1. Copy and paste the files into a new folder preferably something under This PC > Pictures > Spotlight as a permanent location (or under OneDrive so you can have them everywhere).Note: You will see a warning prompt when you go to copy the files, simply hit OK to the warning.

  1. You need to rename all the files with the JPG extension. You could do this one by one or in a batch command – here is how to do the latter:Hit Shift + Right-click with your mouse in the directory where you copied the images. Choose Open command window here and type in (or copy and paste)Ren *.* *.jpgThis action will rename all the files with a JPG extension.Note: Some of the files are cached junk and won't be actual images from Spotlight.

  1. Filter and clean upSome of the images won't be images at all so delete all the files you do not want (use Ctrl + Left-click on the mouse to multi-select files).Bonus: Some of the images will also be vertical. For the vertical images, you may want to copy and paste them into a different folder as you can use them for your smartphone's Start or Lock screen.

That's it! You may notice that you only have so many images available as it depends on how many Spotlight images were produced on your PC. You may want to re-run this tutorial every couple of weeks (or on different PCs if you have them) to recoup even more photos.

Via: Winaero

Daniel Rubino
Executive Editor

Daniel Rubino is the Executive Editor of Windows Central, head reviewer, podcast co-host, and analyst. He has been covering Microsoft here since 2007, back when this site was called WMExperts (and later Windows Phone Central). His interests include Windows, Microsoft Surface, laptops, next-gen computing, and arguing with people on the internet.

91 Comments
  • Thanks. It's gonna help. :)
  • New thing. Thanks.
  • Great article :) I always struggle to find wallpapers for my phone. This might help me to some extent.
  • Will the images of Windows Spotlight be in the folder forever or will they be deleted over time?
  • They are deleted over time. So if you see something you really like, do the copy operation now. Wait for tomorrow and it might be gone (just happened to me)
  • How yo save Bing Lockscreen wallpapers in Windowsphone.....?
  • Use apps like insider.
  • I imagine Spotlight saving apps will be coming shortly? Like the numerous Bing images apps?
  • You can find a batch file online which saves these files..
  • Try these two (one for Bing and one for Spotlight). The Bing one needs Bing Desktop Toolbar to be installed. https://github.com/hashhar/Windows-Hacks Click on the "Download Zip" button. For spotlight use the files in the folder "Save-Windows-Spotlight-Lockscreen". NOTE: Spotlight should be turned on for this to work (most probably). For Bing Wallpapers, install the Bing Desktop Toolbar and use the files "automate-bing-desktop-wallpaper" and "save-bing-desktop-wallpaper".   To make it easier you can open "Task Scheduler" and schedule the "automate-bing-desktop-wallpaper" to run when you log on and are connected to the internet and the other two to sometime when you are sure that your PC will be open. (11:00 pm for me)   There are a lot of other stuff too in that repo which you may find useful (if you do, please consider "star"ing it.)
  • Lockmix in the app store
  • Finally!
  • Nice! I've always wondered about that!
  • Very cool! Thank you for this :-)
  • More useful "How Tos" like this and less Mark Guim ones!
  • Lol, that's an ad-hominem attack. (I hope the picture loads. They generally don't on Windows Central) http://niklasblog.com/wp-content/2010-02-10-wendywright.jpg  
  • And less of Paul Avocado's weekend game show. What a waste.
  • I don't watch it but how exactly is it a waste?
  • I created a handy PowerShell script for it that I just let run automatically once a day:
    foreach($file in (Get-Item C:\Users\[YOUR USERNAME]\AppData\Local\Packages\Microsoft.Windows.ContentDeliveryManager_cw5n1h2txyewy\LocalState\Assets\*))
    {
        if ((Get-Item $file).length -lt 100kb) { continue }
        Copy-Item $file.FullName "[PATH WHERE YOU WANT TO SAVE THESE]\$($file.Name).jpg";
    }
    The 100 KB flag is in order to filter the junk files mentioned in the tutorial. Just save it as a .ps1 file. In order to let it run invisibly in the background, I've created the following Visual Basic script (save it as a .vbs file) for which I've just created an automatic task in Task Scheduler:
    command = "powershell.exe -NoLogo -ExecutionPolicy Bypass -Command [PATH OF YOUR PS1 SCRIPT FILE]"
    set shell = CreateObject("WScript.Shell")
    shell.Run command,0
    Be sure to remove the [brackets] anywhere I put them.​
  • It will also refresh the Tile Layer Data I supp, hence muddle up with the Start and the Action Centre.
  • My script does nothing of that.
  • I'll try on another machine. Nice efforts though.
  • How about you make this into an app that syncs Windows Spotlight to Background image? Would be awesome!
  • Not sure I have the time right now but I'll keep it in mind. Thanks for the idea!
  • Nice script :) We can improve it a little bit :   foreach ($file in (Get-Item "C:\Users\$env:username\AppData\Local\Packages\Microsoft.Windows.ContentDeliveryManager_cw5n1h2txyewy\LocalState\Assets\*"))
    {
        if ($file.length -gt 100kb) {         Copy-Item $file "[PATH]\$($file.Name).jpg";     }
    }   $env:username is the environment variable containing the username of the currently logged on user $file is an "object", so you can get its properties (like the length) without using Get-Item Looks like we only want the files larger than 100kb, so the '-lt' then 'continue' was strange :p The $file.FullName is not needed here     For the scheduled task, the -Command... part is not mandatory You can simply use : powershell.exe -WindowStyle hidden -ExecutionPolicy Bypass [PATH OF YOUR SCRIPT]  
  • I've never written a PowerShell script before so this was basically a hack. :P Thanks for your advice! :)
  • Great script. I modified it a little and wanted to share it with others. This is how the PowerShell script look like now: add-type -AssemblyName System.Drawing
    New-Item "$($env:USERPROFILE)\Pictures\Spotlight" -ItemType directory -Force;
    New-Item "$($env:USERPROFILE)\Pictures\Spotlight\CopyAssets" -ItemType directory -Force;
    New-Item "$($env:USERPROFILE)\Pictures\Spotlight\Horizontal" -ItemType directory -Force;
    New-Item "$($env:USERPROFILE)\Pictures\Spotlight\Vertical" -ItemType directory -Force;
    foreach($file in (Get-Item "$($env:LOCALAPPDATA)\Packages\Microsoft.Windows.ContentDeliveryManager_cw5n1h2txyewy\LocalState\Assets\*"))
    {
        if ((Get-Item $file).length -lt 100kb) { continue }
        Copy-Item $file.FullName "$($env:USERPROFILE)\Pictures\Spotlight\CopyAssets\$($file.Name).jpg";
    } foreach($newfile in (Get-Item "$($env:USERPROFILE)\Pictures\Spotlight\CopyAssets\*"))
    {
        $image = New-Object -comObject WIA.ImageFile;
        $image.LoadFile($newfile.FullName);
        if($image.Width.ToString() -eq "1920"){ Move-Item $newfile.FullName "$($env:USERPROFILE)\Pictures\Spotlight\Horizontal" -Force; }
        elseif($image.Width.ToString() -eq "1080"){ Move-Item $newfile.FullName "$($env:USERPROFILE)\Pictures\Spotlight\Vertical" -Force; }
    }
    Remove-Item "$($env:USERPROFILE)\Pictures\Spotlight\CopyAssets\*"; I made it so that you don't have to modify the code. Just paste it in and save it as a .ps1 file. Then create the Visual Basic script, save it as a .vbs file and copy it to \Microsoft\Windows\Start Menu\Programs\Startup folder for one user or to C:\ProgramData\Microsoft\Windows\Start Menu\Programs\Startup folder for all users and the .vbs file will execute at startup. And make sure to launch PowerShell in administrative mode, type in Set-ExecutionPolicy RemoteSigned and then Y. This will enable running your PowerShell scripts on your system. Now the wallpapers for mobile will be in Pictures\Spotlight\Vertical folder, and wallpapers for desktop in Pictures\Spotlight\Horizontal folder. Hope it helps :)
  • And how to bring stoplight to change default wallpaper directly after startup, not only after win+l, that is the question
  • How to get images on windows 10 mobile? Will it work with "MS-DOS mobile"?
  • To anybody looking for that cool Cortana wallpaper http://1drv.ms/1IBv5Ut
  • Thank you kind sir
  • No worries. I was wanting that wallpaper for so long and nobody had it. Thanks to some bloke on reddit who had already ripped it off the system. If you want to rip any stock wallpapers, use Picasa to find their original location in a jiffy.
  • The link no longer works. Do you still have them?  
  • Here I found the original Reddit thread:  https://www.reddit.com/r/Windows10/comments/3mhf2t/for_those_of_you_who_...   You are welcome 
  • Link not working no more! :|
  • Thanks!!!! ☺
  • Was wondering for a long time, thanks a lot!!
  • Finally! I've been wondering how to do this for a while now, thanks.
  • It seems that the folder content changes, deleting older photos. Is there a way to get all of them? I only have 4 different images, while I've seen different ones before, they're just not in that folder.
  • Try changing lockscreen settings back and forth between spotlight and picture a couple of times. In doing so, new files wil appear in the "assets" folder. Copy the new files to a different location and repeat the first step. Some repeats do show up. I managed to get around 100 diferent pictures by doing this. Sort the items by date in the "assets" forlder and you should be able to see the new ones.
  • Thought MS would come up with some creative lockscreen on w10.. But unfortunately nothing happened so far :(
  • Thank you... Very much!
  • I always wanted those spotlight wallpapers as my windows phone lockscreen.
  • Not a fan of windows spotlight, I like to manually set lock screen photos, usually of my kid and wife. Cool guide though, keep em coming.
  • At last found.
  • THANK YOU!!! Saw this awe inspiring photo but didn't know how to save. Windows Central, take a bow!!
  • Thank you for the tip!
  • Wow... this really awesome. I got some beautiful photos + learnt a few new tricks! Thanks Daniel!
  • After copying and renaming the files, switch to detail view in File Explorer and sort the files by size.  The files that aren't pictures are much smaller.  Once they're all together it is quick to delete them together as a group rather than individually. Then switch back to extra large icons and manually sift through the remaining files.
  • Thanks
  • I don't get the Spotlight lock screen at all even though I enabled it on my SP4. Running win10 pro. Any ideas??!?!?!
  • Great tip! Be nice if someone programs an easy way to get this accomplished, though I rarely change my wallpaper (never really see it).
  • Great tip!
  • Try these two (one for Bing and one for Spotlight). The Bing one needs Bing Desktop Toolbar to be installed. https://github.com/hashhar/Windows-Hacks Click on the "Download Zip" button. For spotlight use the files in the folder "Save-Windows-Spotlight-Lockscreen". NOTE: Spotlight should be turned on for this to work (most probably). For Bing Wallpapers, install the Bing Desktop Toolbar and use the files "automate-bing-desktop-wallpaper" and "save-bing-desktop-wallpaper".   To make it easier you can open "Task Scheduler" and schedule the "automate-bing-desktop-wallpaper" to run when you log on and are connected to the internet and the other two to sometime when you are sure that your PC will be open. (11:00 pm for me)   There are a lot of other stuff too in that repo which you may find useful (if you do, please consider "star"ing it.)
  • Awesome tips, thanks WC
  • Woah, I totally needed this guide. Loving all the nice pictures that Windows Spotlight gives 
  • Very cool article. Love Spotlight, but see no point for a lock screen on the desktop, so I always disable it, and go straight to the login screen.
  • Thanks for this!!!