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

Troubleshooting lock screen errors

Image of the windows login screen

 Nayanba Jadeja / Getty Images

Windows Spotlight is a Windows 10 feature that displays beautiful 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 things that may cause Windows Spotlight to stop working.

  • Occasionally, a Windows Update can crash the service and stop it from loading new Bing images for the lock screen background.
  • In other cases, either image files or the Windows Spotlight system files can become corrupt. This may cause the service to crash or freeze.

How to Fix Windows Spotlight Not Working

If you work through the following steps, you'll have the Windows Spotlight feature working again.

  1. Check your network connection. Microsoft Spotlight downloads lock screen images from the internet. Without that internet connection, it's likely Microsoft Spotlight won't be able to rotate through images. When you first start your PC, you should see the Wi-Fi or LAN connection enabled status at the lower right corner of the screen. If you don't see this active, you should troubleshoot your network connection.

  2. Stop the Windows Spotlight Service. Select the Start menu, type "Settings," then select the Settings app. Select Personalization > Lock Screen, and then change the Background dropdown to either Picture or Slideshow.

    Screenshot of disabling Windows Spotlight
  3. Re-register the Windows Spotlight service using Powershell. 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 and check if Windows Spotlight now works.

    Screenshot of reregistering Windows Spotlight with Powershell
  4. Reset Stoplight settings. If the previous step didn't work, you can try forcing 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.

    Screenshot of changing user settings files in Windows

    If you can't see these folders or files, you may need to 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.

    Screenshot of deleting Windows Spotlight assets
  6. 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.

    A screenshot of Microsoft Edge enabled in Windows
  7. Force Windows update. If it still isn't updating the lock screen image after you've completed all of 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 your Windows system can cause many upredictable issues. To ensure this isn't the case, make sure all of your device drivers are fully updated to the latest versions.

  9. Wait 24 hours. Sometimes, when Microsoft Spotlight first launches on your computer, it can take up to a day for the app to fully sync images with Bing. Before moving on 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 fully restore your Windows system.

Don't take this step lightly, because it could put information you've stored on your computer at risk. Make sure to make full backups of everything on your system before you embark on performing a Windows restore.