Suddenly a few days ago I noticed that the Windows spotlight on my windows 10 laptop stopped working. I spent a lot of time to fix this issue. And in the end I found that it was a permission issue. This tutorial will help you to fix the errors associated with the Windows Spotlight. First of all lets know about the Windows Spotlight.

What is Windows Spotlight?

Windows spotlight is a Windows 10 feature to show the stunning / beautiful wallpapers on the login screen and lock screen.  It also displays the location information and facts of the image. Occasionally Microsoft may show the text advertisement with it.  Don’t worry, they are almost unnoticeable. This is an interesting feature that lets Windows show you unique wallpapers changing automatically on the login and lock screen.

Windows Spotlight
Windows Spotlight option under lock screen in Windows 10

How to Enable / Disable Windows Spotlight

Windows spotlight can be simply enabled or disabled from the Settings.

  • Click on the Start menu button → go to Settings Personalization → Lock Screen. 
  • Set the Background as Windows Spotlight.

You can also enable the slideshow of your photos available on the computer. Choose the slideshow option and add folders that contain photos.




Windows Spotlight Errors & Fix

Many people have found that the Spotlight feature is not working properly. Some people faced that it stopped working after the Windows update or due to other unspecified reasons. Here are some common errors and fixes for the Windows Spotlight. There can be two scenarios that can happen, please see both the scenarios and its solutions, please check it out.

Problem 1: Unable to select the Windows Spotlight option

Some users found that they are unable to select the Windows Spotlight option from the drop down list.  It will automatically go back to Slideshow or Picture mode. In my case this was the actual problem.

Solution: Check if the necessary background apps are enabled & run properly

If this is the case, then the first option is to check that the necessary permissions are enabled and essential background apps are running.  In my case, the settings app was disabled. Follow the steps below to fix it.

  • Click on the Start menu button → go to SettingsPrivacy →   Background Apps.
  • Make sure Settings and Microsoft Edge are enabled in background apps. If not, then enable both of them. These two services are necessary to run in the background to run the Windows Spotlight feature smoothly.

    Note: If the settings app is not listed then you’ll have to list it by re-register the settings app. After resetting the settings app, it will start listed as given in the below screenshot:

    Enable Background apps in Windows 10

  • If this does not fix the issue, then go to method 2.

Problem 2: Windows Spotlight not working properly? Lock screen stuck on a single image

Windows spotlight is selected successfully from the drop-down (in the settings) but the lock screen image is stuck with a single image – spotlight image is not refreshing (updating) images. Images are not showing at all, slideshow not changing images, A loading icon keeps revolving continuously etc. then to get rid of all these issues reset and register Windows Spotlight feature.

Solution 1: Reset Windows Spotlight

To fix this issue, you need to reset / re-register the Windows Spotlight feature in Windows 10. Follow the steps below.

  • First, check that the ‘Settings‘ and ‘Microsoft Edge‘ apps are running in the background. Refer to method 1 for details.
  • Click on Start menu button → go to Settings Personalization ⇾ Lock Screen. 
  • Set the Background as Pictures or Slideshow option.
  • Go to ‘Users/username‘ directory and then browse: AppData\Local\Packages\Microsoft.Windows.ContentDeliveryManager_cw5n1h2txyewy\Settings

    Note: Appdata folder is normally in a hidden state, unhide it.

    Local AppData

  • Rename the settings.dat file to settings.dat.bak
  • Rename the roaming.lock file to roaming.lock.bak
    rename setting files
  • Go to one step back from the Settings folder and go to the folder LocalState → Assets  folder and then delete everything in Assets folder.
    delete-all-these-files
  • Go two-steps back from the Assets folder, go to the folder Localcache folder, and then delete everything in the Localcache folder.
  • Now, click on the Start menu button → SettingsPersonalizationLock Screen.
  • Set the Background as Windows spotlight option. Once you click on that, the renamed files will regenerate itself automatically. The Windows spotlight has been reset successfully.
  • Reboot the computer.

Solution 2: Reinstall Windows Spotlight completely

  • Right-click on the Start Menu → Windows PowerShell (Admin) and run the below command in PowerShell:
    Make sure you are running Powershell in Admin Mode.

    Get-AppxPackage -allusers Microsoft.Windows.ContentDeliveryManager | foreach {Add-AppxPackage "$($_.InstallLocation)\appxmanifest.xml" -DisableDevelopmentMode -register }

    reinstall windows spotlight completely

  • Also run the following commands one by one:
    Get-AppXPackage -AllUsers |Where-Object {$_.InstallLocation -like "*SystemApps*"} | Foreach {Add-AppxPackage -DisableDevelopmentMode -Register "$($_.InstallLocation)\AppXManifest.xml"}
    dism /online /cleanup-image /restorehealth
    sfc /scannow
  • Reboot the computer.

Solution 3: Run System Maintenance Troubleshooter

If the above steps did not work for you, then we suggest you try Windows 10 system maintenance tool troubleshooter.

    1. Open Control Panel
      open control panel
    2. Search for Troubleshooting
      type troubleshooting
    3. Click on View All
      view all
    4. Click on System Maintenance and follow its on-screen instructions to complete system maintenance troubleshooting.
      system maintenance
    5. Click on Next
      start system maintenance
    6. Click on try to run this troubleshooter in administrator mode.
      detecting issue
    7. After that, click on finish after detecting the issue.

Get more guidance on how to run Windows 10 system maintenance troubleshooters.

Check whether the error was resolved or not. You can press the Windows Key + L key to go immediately to the lock screen to see the preview.

Solution 3: Select the correct Regional Language in settings

Sometimes Microsoft servers cannot take your location from your regional language settings to give you personalized background images. You need to re-select the regional language to re-fetch your regional location. Let’s see how to do so:

  1. Click on the Start menu and click on settings (gear icon).
    change-regional-language-step1
  2. Click on ‘Time & Language
    change regional language step2
  3. Click on Region.
    change regional language step3
  4. Select the regional language that you want. If you have already selected then select anything else first and then choose the right one (your language) to reset the language.
    change regional language step4
  5. That’s it. Reboot your computer after you’re done. Hopefully, the issue should be fixed. If it is not fixed then let me know in the comment down below.

If the problem still persists then use DISM command and follow the above steps again.  Sure, that will fix the issue. If that doesn’t work, then please leave your comments below so that we can find an alternative fix.

51 thoughts on “Windows Spotlight Not Working – Fix it easily”

  1. I went straight to reinstalling and followed step number two and after reboot viola! as if it never happened and spotlight is working again KUDOS BROTHER!!!! many thanks

  2. Hi, I think your site might be having browser compatibility issues.
    When I look at your blog site in Opera, it looks fine but when opening in Internet Explorer, it has
    some overlapping. I just wanted to give you a quick heads up!
    Other then that, excellent blog!

    1. I just tried on the IE website and the website is working just fine, there is no overlapping on Windows 10 Internet Explorer.

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