What is Windows Spotlight and How Does it Work?

Are you stunned by the images on your lock screen while logging into your Windows device?

Yes, they add a touch of personalization and aesthetic appeal to your device.

Want to know more about this enchanting world of Windows Spotlight? Then, read this article till the end!

What is Windows Spotlight

What is Windows Spotlight?

Windows Spotlight is a unique feature on Windows 10/11 computers that displays high-quality images from Bing on your device lock screen.

Sometimes, Spotlight may also download advertisements along with pictures to display on your lock screen.

The Windows Spotlight on lock screen consists of the following components.

  • Background Image: The background image always includes identifiable, well-known cultural and famous places.
  • Feature Suggestions, Fun Facts, and Tips: They also provide suggestions to enhance the lock screen, fun facts and location of the image.

What Pictures are Displayed by Spotlight?

Generally, Spotlight depicts pictures of famous landmarks, flora, and fauna from around the world and rarely depicts pictures of human beings.

How Does Window Spotlight Work?

The Spotlight first downloads these pictures from Bing and then displays them on your lock screen for you to see whenever you log in to your desktop or go into sleep mode.

Also Read: How to Change Theme, Lock Screen & Wallpaper in Windows 10

Where to Locate Windows Spotlight Images on Windows 10?

Windows Spotlight photos stored on system library on your computer.

Generally, the lock screen images are stored in the following manner.

1. You can locate the current lock screen image by navigating to the following location on your computer.

Note: On some devices, you may need special administrative permissions to access the System Data folder.

C:\ProgramData\Microsoft\Windows\SystemData\<User’s SID>\ReadOnly\LockScreen_O

2. The previous and other lock screen images are also stored on your computer and can be located in the following location.


go to the following location

How to Enable/Disable Windows Spotlight on Windows 10

Though Windows Spotlight lock screen is enabled by default, you can disable Windows Spotlight if you don’t like it.

Option 1: Through Settings

It is the simplest method to disable Windows Spotlight and replace it with a static image or slideshow with images from your device.

1. Open Settings by pressing Windows + I keys.

2. Go to Personalization > Lock Screen.

3. Choose Picture or Slideshow under Background.

Choose Picture or Slideshow

Note: If you want to enable Spotlight on Windows lock screen, just follow the same steps as above and select Windows spotlight.

Also Read: How to Set GIF as Wallpaper in Windows 10

Option 2: Via Group Policy Editor

If you want to disable Windows Spotlight, you can disable it by modifying Group Policy and mobile device management (MDM) settings.

Note: The Local Group Policy Editor is only available in Windows 10 Enterprise, Windows 10 Education, and Windows 10 Pro editions. Even if you are using other editions, you can install local group policy editor on Windows 10.

You can locate the policies to disable this feature in the following locations.

  • On Group Policy Management console, locate policies in the following location path.

User Configuration \Policies\Administrative Templates\Windows Components\Cloud Content

  • On Local Group Policy Editor, locate policies in the following location path.

User Configuration \Administrative Templates\Windows Components\Cloud Content

On Windows 10 Enterprise and Education, you can change Group Policy settings and replace Windows Spotlight with a selected picture.

1. Hit the Windows + R keys together to open Run dialog box.

2. Then, type gpedit.msc and press the Enter key to launch the Local Open Group Policy Editor.

3. Go to Computer Configuration > Administrative Templates > Control Panel > Personalization > Force a specific default lock screen image.

go to the following location | what is Windows Spotlight

4. Here, select the Disabled option and click on Apply > OK to save changes.

Method 3: Modify Registry Editor

You can also modify Registry Editor but it is not recommended as it is risky, if done incorrectly.

Note: Make a backup of registry keys to restore to previous settings in case of manual errors during modification.

1. Press Windows + R keys to open the Run dialog box.

2. Type regedit and press Enter to open the Registry Editor.

3. Navigate to the following path: HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Policies\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\CloudContent

Note: If you can’t find CloudContent key, you can create one.

Navigate to the following path

4. Right-click within the folder and choose DWORD (32-bit). Rename it as DisableWindowsSpotlight.

5. Now, double-click on the DisableWindowsSpotlight key and set Value data as 1.

6. Click on OK to save changes.

Also Read: Prevent Users from Changing Desktop Wallpaper in Windows 10

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Q1. Can I locate Spotlight images?

Ans. Yes, you can locate the current and previous images displayed on your Windows 10 lock screen from the system library.

Q2. Can I disable Windows Spotlight?

Ans. Yes, you can disable Windows Spotlight by making changes to the Personalization settings on your computer.

Q3. Is Windows Spotlight enabled by default?

Ans. Yes, Windows Spotlight is enabled by default on Windows 10 computers. You can later disable it in the settings.

Q4. Where do Spotlight images come from?

Ans. Spotlight images are downloaded from Bing.

We hope this guide was helpful to you and that you were able to understand what is Windows Spotlight and how it works.

If you have any suggestions or queries, please let us know in the comment section.

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