Windows Spotlight Not Working? Fix it easily.

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Suddenly few days ago I noticed that 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 to let 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 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 in the computer. Choose the slideshow option and add the folders which contain photos.

Windows Spotlight Errors & Fix

Many people found that Spotlight feature not working properly. Some people faced that it stopped working after a Windows update. Here are some common errors and fixes of the Windows Spotlight.

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 automatically gets back to the Slideshow or Picture mode. In my Case this was the actual problem.

Solution

Check if necessary background apps are enabled & running

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

  • Click on Start menu button → go to SettingsPrivacy →   Background Apps.
  • Make sure the Microsoft Edge and Settings are enabled  from the right pane. If not, then enable them. These two service are necessary to run in the background to run the Windows Spotlight feature smoothly. If the settings app not found in this list then you’ll have to re register the settings app.
  • If it does not fix this issue, then go to method 2.
Enable Background apps in Windows 10
Make sure Settings and Microsoft Edge are enabled in background apps

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

If the below type issues appear like slideshow on the lock screen stuck on a single image, Spotlight is not refreshing images. Images not showing at all, slideshow not changing images, A loading icon keeps revolving continuously etc. then to get rid all these issues reset and register Windows Spotlight feature.

Solution

Reset Windows Spotlight

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

  • First of all check that the ‘Settings’ and ‘Microsoft Edge’ apps are running in the background. Refer method 1 for detail.
  • 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 in hidden state normally, 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.
  • Go to two-steps back from the Assets folder and go to the folder Localcache folder and then delete everything in the Localcache folder.
  • Now click on Start menu button → SettingsPersonalizationLock Screen.
  • Set the Background as Windows spotlight option. Once you click on that, the renamed files will be regenerated itself automatically. The Windows spotlight has been reset successfully.
  • Reboot the computer.

Reinstall Windows Spotlight completely

  • Right-click on Start Menu → Windows PowerShell (Admin) and run the below command in PowerShell:
    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.

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

If the problem is still persisted then use DISM command and follow the above steps again.  Surely it will fix the issue. If it doesn’t then please leave your comments below that we can find some alternative fix.

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25 Comments
  1. Darren Woodford says

    I have followed all of the steps in this article including running the DISM command and SFC /SCANNOW followed by following all of the steps above but my spotlight image still never changes! 🙁

  2. Shazil Ali says

    These steps fix my issue, thanks. 🙂

  3. Manish Maurya says

    enabling edge in background apps along with settings fixed my issue. thanks

    1. Techexpert says

      Thanks for sharing this useful info. Spotlight is updating wallpapers through Edge browser.

  4. Sinh Luyen Long says

    I have followed all of the steps in this article including running the DISM command and SFC /SCANNOW followed by following all of the steps above but my spotlight image still never changes!

    1. Techexpert says

      Ok, we’ll help you to fix this issue.
      We suggest you to please update your Windows to make sure your Windows is up-to-dated.
      After that, double-check the “Microsoft Edge” and “Settings” are enabled in background apps settings. Follow the steps.
      Go to SettingsPrivacy.
      Click on the Background Apps on the left pane.
      Make sure on the right side pane Microsoft Edge and Settings are enabled. These two services are necessary to run in the background to run the Windows Spotlight feature smoothly.

      Please keep me updated about the issue.

      1. Giorgos says

        It seems that a lot of people have issues with spotlight last month. All the steps above dont fix the proble for me and 2 other friends of mine. It seems that 1908 Win version need another kind of fix for spotlight 🙁

        1. Techexpert says

          Thanks for letting us know about the issue. We’ll explore more about it in 1908 version and will update the post accordingly.
          Again thanks for letting us know.

  5. Xantippe says

    Bacground app “Settings” does not exist!

    1. PK says

      It should be. Please try to find it again. If unable to locate it then either try to apply latest windows updates or scan your system with an antivirus. Let us know if these methods do not work. We will research and try to find out the exact solution.

      1. Renith N says

        Even for me the “Settings” is not listed in the Background apps

        1. Techexpert says

          Maybe the settings apps got unregistered in your computer. To re-register it again, please follow the following steps.

          1. Open the PowerShell in Admin mode – Right-click on the start menu button, and click on Windows PowerShell (Admin). Click on YES if it asks for UAC permission.
          2. Copy the following command and paste it into the PowerShell and press enter button from your keyboard. It will re-register all the Microsoft default apps, so let complete the process.
          Command:
          Get-AppXPackage | Foreach {Add-AppxPackage -DisableDevelopmentMode -Register “$($_.InstallLocation)\AppXManifest.xml”}

          1. OsnatH says

            Hi Techexpert,
            I have successfully re-register the setting apps which was missing in my list too. Then I have followed all the steps above, including running the DIMC command, and then the SFC, and the repeat again all the steps above, but I still get the stuck picture on my lock screen.
            Hopefully you have another solution
            Tanks

          2. Techexpert says

            After done all the mentioned steps, reboot your computer once and then update your Windows twice. Make sure Windows Update is competed properly.

  6. OsnatH says

    Hi Techxpert,
    Thanks for your reply. I did reboot and update twice, second time was cumulative update, but nothing happened. Still got the same picture.

    1. Techexpert says

      We just have added some more commands in method2. We request you to please apply the above method 2 once again. Please refresh the page to get the updated steps.
      If it doesn’t work after that, then we’ll try something more. Please let us know.

    2. Techexpert says

      “Paleologos ” shared another solution here. Please try it once by clicking here.

  7. Paleologos says

    For everyone that tried all above and still got no result i just figred it out. First of all you have to disable settings synchronization and delete your settings image from the cloud as described here https://answers.microsoft.com/en-us/windows/forum/windows_10-update/delete-sync-settings-individually-in-windows-10/d99f86d0-ed29-451e-af23-946692fb73e6 ; then retry the above procedure and wait about an hour, just keep using your pc and try locking and unlocking your machine from time to time ; mine started showing spolight images in about 35 minutes after the last attempt. I found the relativity of this issue with microsoft account by switching on another machine that i haven’t used for a long period and i knew that spotlight worked fine on it. It started and showed the last downloaded pic and asked me if i like it, when it connected to the internet spotlight shown the image from the system i use now (with the problem) and stopped asking or loading any new image like it got the bug from the affected machine… Hope this helps

  8. Udi Burg says

    I’ve processed all these steps without success. My Windows 10 is fully updated with build 1903 and all latest updates.
    Any other ways to fix it?

    1. Techexpert says

      Are you unable to select the Windows Spotlight option or stuck on a single image on the Lock screen?

  9. Surja Gain says

    Thanks, this worked well with me, it was a permissions problem as I had turned off the Background apps.

  10. Chris Bolt says

    I have this when I try to run the first of the three commands. I’ve tried everything else and don’t know what needs turning off or how to do it. Any ideas gratefully received. I’m running Windows 10 Home ver 1903 OS build 18362.449 and updated last weekend

    Package -DisableDevelopmentMode -Register “$($_.InstallLocation)\AppXManifest.xml”} Add-AppxPackage : Deployment failed with HRESULT: 0x80073D02, The package could not be installed because resources it modifies are currently in use. error 0x80073D02: Unable to install because the following apps need to be closed InputApp_1000.18362.449.0_neutral_neutral_cw5n1h2txyewy. NOTE: For additional information, look for [ActivityId] 039f7f25-9349-0005-32cc-9f034993d501 in the Event Log or use the command line Get-AppPackageLog -ActivityID 039f7f25-9349-0005-32cc-9f034993d501 At line:1 char:94 + … | Foreach {Add-AppxPackage -DisableDevelopmentMode -Register “$($_.I … + ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ + CategoryInfo : NotSpecified: (C:\Windows\Syst…ppXManifest.xml:String) [Add-AppxPackage], Exception + FullyQualifiedErrorId : DeploymentError,Microsoft.Windows.Appx.PackageManager.Commands.AddAppxPackageCommand

    Add-AppxPackage : Deployment failed with HRESULT: 0x80073D02, The package could not be installed because resources it
    modifies are currently in use.
    error 0x80073D02: Unable to install because the following apps need to be closed
    Microsoft.Windows.StartMenuExperienceHost_10.0.18362.449_neutral_neutral_cw5n1h2txyewy.
    NOTE: For additional information, look for [ActivityId] 039f7f25-9349-0005-79d4-9f034993d501 in the Event Log or use
    the command line Get-AppPackageLog -ActivityID 039f7f25-9349-0005-79d4-9f034993d501
    At line:1 char:94
    + … | Foreach {Add-AppxPackage -DisableDevelopmentMode -Register “$($_.I …
    + ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    + CategoryInfo : NotSpecified: (C:\Windows\Syst…ppXManifest.xml:String) [Add-AppxPackage], Exception
    + FullyQualifiedErrorId : DeploymentError,Microsoft.Windows.Appx.PackageManager.Commands.AddAppxPackageCommand

    1. Techexpert says

      Reboot your computer into the safe mode and follow the same steps in that. Let us know result.

  11. Chris Bolt says

    Thanks, will try this evening.

  12. Chris Bolt says

    Hopeless! I can’t even get into the computer. It keeps asked for the password, presumably the Microsoft one – I usually use the PIN but it won’t accept that.

    I’ve changed the password and tried again but it still doesn’t work.

    Spotlight really isn’t worth this hassle so unless I’m trying the wrong password I’m not wasting anymore time on it.

    Thanks anyway

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