How to Fix It When Windows Spotlight Is Not Working on Windows 10

Troubleshooting lock screen errors

Windows Spotlight is a Windows 10 feature that displays images from Bing as the background for the login or lock screen. Occasionally, Windows Spotlight stops working, and new images stop loading.

If this happens to you, there are two easy ways to fix it when Windows Spotlight stops working. This includes running a command in Powershell to reset the feature or clearing the system files to force the service to reinitialize the next time you restart the computer.

Causes of Windows Spotlight Not Working

There are a couple of things that may cause Windows Spotlight to stop working.

  • Occasionally, a Windows Update crashes the service and stops it from loading new Bing images for the lock screen background.
  • In other cases, either image files or the Windows Spotlight system files become corrupt. This may cause the service to crash or freeze.
The windows login screen
Nayanba Jadeja / Getty Images

How to Fix Windows Spotlight Not Working

Work through the following steps to have the Windows Spotlight feature working again.

  1. Check the network connection. Microsoft Spotlight downloads lock screen images from the internet. Without an internet connection, Microsoft Spotlight can't rotate through images. When you first start the PC, you should see the Wi-Fi or LAN connection enabled status in the lower-right corner of the screen. If this isn't active, troubleshoot the network connection.

  2. Stop the Windows Spotlight Service. Select the Start menu, type Settings, and choose the Settings app. Select Personalization > Lock Screen. Then select the Background drop-down arrow and choose either Picture or Slideshow. When you finish, reboot the computer, and switch to Spotlight.

  3. Re-register the Windows Spotlight service using Powershell. If the previous solution didn't work, you'll need to take it a step further. Start by repeating the process, up until the reboot. Then, launch the command prompt as administrator. Type the following commands and press Enter after each.

    powershell

    Get-AppXPackage -AllUsers |Where-Object {$_.InstallLocation -like "*SystemApps*"} | Foreach {Add-AppxPackage -DisableDevelopmentMode -Register "$($_.InstallLocation)\AppXManifest.xml"}

    Once this is finished, change the Personalization setting you changed above back to Windows Spotlight. Restart the computer, then check if Windows Spotlight works.

  4. Reset Stoplight settings. If the previous step didn't work, force a reset of Windows Stoplight. To do this, use Windows Explorer to navigate to the following path for your user profile:

    %USERPROFILE%/AppData\Local\Packages\Microsoft.Windows.ContentDeliveryManager_cw5n1h2txyewy\Settings

    Rename the settings.dat and roaming.lock files by adding .bak to the end of the files. Once finished, restart the computer and test to see if Windows Spotlight works again.

    If you can't see these folders or files, enable the ability to view hidden files and folders.

  5. Delete Spotlight files. Windows Spotlight collects images from Bing. If any of these are corrupt, it could potentially affect Windows Spotlight. Deleting these files can help. Use Windows Explorer to navigate to the following path for your user profile:

    %USERPROFILE%/AppData\Local\Packages\Microsoft.Windows.ContentDeliveryManager_cw5n1h2txyewy\LocalState\Assets

    Select all of the files and delete them. Restart the computer and check if Windows Spotlight is working.

  6. Turn on Microsoft Edge. If Windows Spotlight still isn't working, then some necessary background apps may not be running. Select the Start menu, type Settings, then select the Settings app. Select Privacy > Background apps, then make sure the setting for Microsoft Edge is turned on.

  7. Force Windows update. If it still doesn't update the lock screen image after completing all those steps, you may have outdated Windows files. Perform a manual Windows update to ensure your system is completely up to date.

  8. Update device drivers. Faulty or corrupt device drivers on a Windows system can cause many unpredictable issues. To ensure this isn't the case, make sure all the device drivers are fully updated to the latest versions.

  9. Wait 24 hours. Sometimes, when Microsoft Spotlight first launches on a computer, it can take up to a day for the app to fully sync images with Bing. Before moving to the last and final step, give your system a day, then check to see if Microsoft Spotlight is working.

  10. Perform a Windows system restore. As a last resort, you may need to restore your Windows system.

    Don't take this step lightly, because it could put the information you stored on the computer at risk. Make full backups of everything on your system before you perform a Windows restore.