Spotlight doesn’t work on Windows 10 [EFFECTIVE FIXES]

Ivan Jenic
by Ivan Jenic
Troubleshooting Expert
Download PDF
Affiliate Disclosure

One thing is for certain when it comes to Windows 10’s UI: even though it’s not always intuitive, it looks great aesthetically. One of the features that’s not essential but impacts the overall impression must be Microsoft Spotlight.

For you that don’t know, Microsoft Spotlight basically automatically switches wallpapers for your Lock Screen. It uses Bing gallery photos from the whole world and changes them every time you log out.

It’s a great way to brighten up your initial screen while you stare in awe in the beautiful and unique parts of the globe.

However, it seems that Windows updates ruined the experience for some users. Luckily, we’re there for you. We’we prepared the list of the possible solutions that should help you resolve Spotlight issues.

How can I fix Spotlight on Windows 10? The easiest way to fix it is by restarting the service manually. In most cases, the problem is triggered by the lack of internet connection or some process bugs. If that doesn’t do the job, clean the Spotlight’s download folder and then reassign its service.

Continue reading for the detailed explanation.

Steps to repair Windows Spotlight:

  1. Check your connection
  2. Restart Spotlight
  3. Clean the Spotlight’s download folder
  4. Reset/Reassign the Spotlight service

Solution 1 – Check your connection

The first step you should take is to check the connection. The Spotlight feature is dependable on the internet connection and without it, you won’t be able to get yourself that special nature scenery.

When you start your PC, you should see the connection signal or LAN notification on your Lock Screen. If it’s not there, make sure to troubleshoot your connection before we proceed to the next steps.

On the other hand, if your connection is functioning as intended and the Spotlight is still stuck/unresponsive, you’ll need to put more effort in the trouble at hand.

Solution 2 – Restart Spotlight

Another step you can take is to restart the Spotlight feature manually. Since this is a built-in system process, you can only perform standard enable/disable procedure instead of standard switching off. And this is how to do it:

  1. Right-click on the desktop and click Personalize.
  2. Select the Lock Screen tab.
  3. In Background panel, switch from Windows Spotlight to a Picture or the Slideshow.
  4. Click OK to confirm the selection.
  5. Log off and log in.
  6. Navigate to Lock screen and enable Windows Spotlight again.

If the photos still won’t load or you’re seeing the same picture every time, move down to the next steps.

Solution 3 – Clean the Spotlight’s download folder

Additionally, you can clean the content from the download folder where the Spotlight photos are stored. That resolved the issue for some users, so it’s worth a try.

This is how to find and delete image files from the folder:

  1. Right-click on the desktop and open Personalize.
  2. Open the Lock Screen tab.
  3. Under Background, switch from Windows Spotlight to a Picture or the Slideshow.
  4. Now, navigate to:
  5. You’ll need to enable Hidden Folders in order to access the files.
  6. In Assets folder, press Ctrl + A to select all files and delete them.
  7. Return to Desktop > Personalize > Lock Screen > Background.
  8. Enable the Spotlight again and log off.

The problem should be resolved. However, if it’s not, your best bet is our final solution.

Solution 4 – Reset/Reassign the Spotlight service

As we already said, Spotlight is an integrated feature and can’t be reinstalled or disabled in the standard way. But, at least, it can be reassigned and thus restored to default settings.

This procedure has two parts that can be used as two distinctive workarounds. But we’ll unite them here. Now, these are not exactly the easiest steps to perform, so follow the instructions closely:

  1. Right-click anywhere on Desktop and open Personalize.
  2. Open Lock screen tab and change the Background from Windows Spotlight to Slideshow or Picture.
  3. Confirm with OK.
  4. Press Windows key + R to open the Run command line.spotlight broken on windows 10
  5. Copy-paste the following command and press Enter:
  6. Right-click settings.dat and rename it to settings.dat.bak
  7. Right-click roaming.lock and rename it to roaming.lock.bak
  8. Restart the PC.
  9. Navigate to Desktop > Personalize > Lock Screen > Background.
  10. Enable Windows Spotlight.

The second solution needs you to utilise Windows PowerShell in order to reset Spotlight. And this is how to do it.

  1. Right-click on the desktop and open Personalize > Lock Screen > Background.
  2. Make sure that the Spotlight feature is enabled.
  3. Under Windows Search bar, type Windows PowerShell.spotlight is not working on windows 10
  4. Right-click Windows PowerShell and Run as Administrator.
  5. In the command line, paste the following command:
     Get-AppxPackage -allusers *ContentDeliveryManager* | foreach {Add-AppxPackage “$($_.InstallLocation)appxmanifest.xml” -DisableDevelopmentMode -register }
  6. Restart your computer.
  7. This should restart Windows Spotlight and fix your issue.

-READ ALSO: Top 10 Windows 10 live wallpapers you need to try

It seems like Microsoft is aware of the problem and as some users reported, newer Windows 10 updates solved the issue without any additional steps. So make sure that you have the latest Windows 10 updates installed.

That should wrap it up. As you can see, there are some easy solutions, and some more complicated ones. Try them in the order above to see what works for you.

In case you have any questions or an alternative solution, be so good to share it with other readers in the comments section below.

Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in April 2017 and has been since completely revamped and updated for freshness, accuracy, and comprehensiveness.

Was this page helpful?
Thanks for letting us know! You can also help us by leaving a review on MyWOT or Trustpillot.
Get the most from your tech with our daily tips
Tell us why!
  • Okay I’ve tried practically everything … will try your last two steps as my last resort. I’m always able to change the picture just ONE time, but it never keeps loading with fresh pictures. Let’s see if your version works …

    • Okay, followed last 2 steps – it changed the picture, but when clicking “Not a Fan” it broke .. now no photo at all.