Turn on Windows 10 Spotlight and get a lot of great desktop wallpaper
If you’re not paranoid about Microsoft snooping and you like beautiful pictures you can use for desktop wallpaper, this tip is for you.
First, when you turn Windows Spotlight on, Microsoft will download, randomly, new backgrounds for your lockscreen. So you’ll not only have the default choices, but over time you’ll accumulate a nice collection of background photos, for which, you can be sure, Microsoft paid too much. Nonetheless, most of them are beautiful and make great desktop backgrounds.
So the first thing you’ll need to do is turn on Windows Spotlight.
- Click on the Start button
- Click Settings
- Click Personaliztion
- Click Lockscreen
- Under “Background” use the arrow to select “Spotlight” (see below):
Once you’ve turned on Spotlight, all the pictures will be saved to a folder. All the files will have long, incomprehensible names without and extension. Don’t worry. That’s just Microsoft being Microsoft and making things convoluted. We’ll show you how to get all the pictures from that directory.
But first you have to find that directory. Here’s how to do it. Press the Windows Key + R to open the Run command.
Copy & paste the following command in to the Run box and then press Enter.
If you did that right, you’ll be staring at a folder full of files – all with long, meaningless names (see below).
The next step is to select all the files in that folder. You do this by selecting one then pressing CTRL+A. Or if you have Check boxes enabled, just click the box next to “Name”.
Once they are all selected, right-click on the selected files and click on “Copy”. As soon as you do, you’ll get a warning (see below):
Click OK to dismiss the warning.
Browse to the folder you want to save these files in. We suggest you save them in Pictures. Create a folder in Pictures called Spotlight (or whatever you like). Right-click in the empty folder you created and choose “Paste”.
After you’ve done that, close the folder. We need to change the file extensions on each one of those files, and we don’t want to do that one-by-one, right. So we’ll do them all at once. Right click on the folder you created and closed and choose “Open command window here”.
A command window will open. At the prompt type:
Ren *.* *.jpg
Copy and paste the command above at the command prompt if you’re getting an error when you type it in.
The batch file rename process will complete in a few seconds and all files in that directory will have a JPG extension.
IF YOU DO NOT SEE “Open command window here” in your right-click menu, try holding down the shift key and then right-clicking the folder. You should see “Open a command window here” in your right-click menu. If you do not see it or if you want to have “Open a command window” always show see this page.
After you’ve done that, open the folder and browse the pictures. You’ll have a few there even if you have just enabled Spotlight – a lot more to come. However, we suggest waiting a while after you’ve enabled Spotlight so you’ll have a bigger selection of pictures to choose from. Keep in mind some files will not be suitable for wallpaper and you won’t be able to open some of the files (because they weren’t pictures to begin with).
I just enabled Spotlight on this computer, and here are some of the images I had in that folder already:
So now you know about Windows Spotlight, what it does, and how you can use pictures from it for your desktop wallpaper, start screen, lockscreen and more.