Save the lock screen images in Windows and use them on the desktop

Discover where Microsoft saves lock screen images on the disk drive

See how to re-use the fantastic lock screen images in Windows 10 as desktop wallpaper. There are some fantastic photographic images.

Windows 10 has an option to show a new image on the lock screen every day and many of them are excellent. Save these images and then use them elsewhere, such as the desktop background.

Set the lock screen image

Press Windows+I to open the Settings app in Windows 10 and click Personalisation. Select Lock screen on the left.

Below the image is Background and if the option is not already set to Windows spotlight, click it and select it.

Lock screen options in Windows 10 Settings app

This feature tells Windows to download a new photographic image every day and use it as the image on the lock screen. This is the login screen when the computer starts up, when you log out or press Windows+L to lock the computer.

It is very similar to the home page and the lock screen shows a superb image with several hotspots that contain little snippets of information. If you click one and then log in, Edge browser opens to provide more information.

The photos are fantastic, so you may wonder if they can be saved, either to view them whenever you want, or to use elsewhere, such as as a Windows desktop background image. Yes you can.

Find the lock screen images

The lock screen images are in a hidden folder, which must be made visible.

Windows Explorer option to show hidden files

  1. Open an Explorer window
  2. Click View to show the View tab
  3. Tick the box, Hidden items
  4. Go to C:\Users \YourName \AppData \Local\Packages \Microsoft.Windows.ContentDeliveryManager_cw5n1h2txyewy \LocalState \Assets

There you will see a collection of files with names that are random numbers and letters. These are the lock screen images. Select Details for the View on Explorer’s View ribbon and then click the Date modified or Size column headers to sort the files by date or size.

Windows Explorer files in details view

Sorting by date shows the most recent files, which is useful if you are looking for a photo you recently saw. sorting by size shows the biggest first and these are the photos. There are some small files here that are obviously not images, so just focus on the largest.

View lock screen images

These strangely named files are actually images. Double click one and when asked how you want to open the file, select Windows Photo Viewer. It opens and shows the image.

Select an app to open a file

These files are, in fact, just JPEG images, but without the .jpg filename extension.

Copy lock screen images

If you see an image you like, copy the file to another folder – select it, press Ctrl+C, open a folder elsewhere and press Ctrl+V to paste it in.

Windows Explorer

Right click the file and select Rename on the menu. Give it a meaningful name, such as Wallpaper.jpg.

A photo in thumbnail view in Windows Explorer

Use lock screen images as desktop backgrounds

If you want to use one of these images as the desktop background, it is straightforward.

  1. Copy the file somewhere, such as to the Pictures folder
  2. Rename it to .jpg.
  3. Press Windows+I to open Settings
  4. Click Personalisation and then Background
  5. Set the Background to Picture
  6. Click the Browse button and select the image you copied

Set the Windows desktop background in the Settings app

If you have just turned on Windows spotlight for the lock screen image, it may take a few days to fill the folder with images. Then you can copy them out and use them as desktop wallpaper.


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