Configure Windows Spotlight on the lock screen

Applies to

  • Windows 10

Windows Spotlight is an option for the lock screen background that displays different background images and occasionally offers suggestions on the lock screen. Windows Spotlight is available in all desktop editions of Windows 10.

For managed devices running Windows 10 Enterprise and Windows 10 Education, enterprise administrators can configure a mobile device management (MDM) or Group Policy setting to prevent users from using the Windows Spotlight background. For managed devices running Windows 10 Pro, version 1607, administrators can disable suggestions for third party apps.

[!NOTE] In Windows 10, version 1607, the lock screen background does not display if you disable the Animate windows when minimizing and maximizing setting in This PC > Properties > Advanced system settings > Performance settingsVisual Effects, or if you enable the Group Policy setting Computer Configuration > Administrative Templates > Windows Components > Desktop Windows Manager > Do not allow windows animations.

In Windows 10, version 1703, you can use the Personalization CSP settings to set lock screen and desktop background images.

What does Windows Spotlight include?

  • Background imageThe Windows Spotlight displays a new image on the lock screen each day. The initial background image is included during installation. Additional images are downloaded on ongoing basis.
  • Feature suggestions, fun facts, tipsThe lock screen background will occasionally suggest Windows 10 features that the user hasn’t tried yet, such as Snap assist.

How do you turn off Windows Spotlight locally?

To turn off Windows Spotlight locally, go to Settings > Personalization > Lock screen > Background > Windows spotlight > select a different lock screen background

personalization background

How do you disable Windows Spotlight for managed devices?

Windows Spotlight is enabled by default. Windows 10 provides Group Policy and mobile device management (MDM) settings to help you manage Windows Spotlight on enterprise computers.

[!NOTE] These policies are in the User Configuration \Policies\Administrative Templates\Windows Components\Cloud Content path in the Group Policy Management Console, and in the User Configuration \Administrative Templates\Windows Components\Cloud Content path in the Local Group Policy Editor.

Group PolicyMDMDescriptionApplies to
Do not suggest third-party content in Windows spotlightExperience/Allow ThirdParty Suggestions In Windows SpotlightEnables enterprises to restrict suggestions to Microsoft apps and servicesWindows 10 Pro, Enterprise, and Education, version 1607 and later
Turn off all Windows Spotlight featuresExperience/Allow Windows SpotlightEnables enterprises to completely disable all Windows Spotlight features in a single settingWindows 10 Enterprise and Education, version 1607 and later
Configure Spotlight on lock screenExperience/Configure Windows Spotlight On Lock ScreenSpecifically controls the use of the dynamic Windows Spotlight image on the lock screen, and can be enabled or disabledWindows 10 Enterprise and Education, version 1607 and later
Turn off the Windows Spotlight on Action CenterExperience/Allow Windows Spotlight On Action CenterTurn off Suggestions from Microsoft that show after each clean install, upgrade, or on an on-going basis to introduce users to what is new or changedWindows 10 Enterprise and Education, version 1703
Do not use diagnostic data for tailored experiencesExperience/Allow Tailored Experiences With Diagnostic DataPrevent Windows from using diagnostic data to provide tailored experiences to the userWindows 10 Pro, Enterprise, and Education, version 1703
Turn off the Windows Welcome ExperienceExperience/Allow Windows Spotlight Windows Welcome ExperienceTurn off the Windows Spotlight Windows Welcome experience which helps introduce users to Windows, such as launching Microsoft Edge with a web page highlighting new featuresWindows 10 Enterprise and Education, version 1703
Turn off the Windows Spotlight on SettingsExperience/Allow Windows Spotlight on SettingsTurn off the Windows Spotlight in the Settings app.Windows 10 Enterprise and Education, version 1803

In addition to the specific policy settings for Windows Spotlight, administrators can replace Windows Spotlight with a selected image using the Group Policy setting Computer Configuration > Administrative Templates > Control Panel > Personalization > Force a specific default lock screen image (Windows 10 Enterprise and Education).

[!TIP] If you want to use a custom lock screen image that contains text, see Resolution for custom lock screen image.

lockscreen policy details

Pay attention to the checkbox in Options. In addition to providing the path to the lock screen image, administrators can choose to allow or Turn off fun facts, tips, tricks, and more on lock screen. If the checkbox is not selected, users will see the lock screen image that is defined in the policy setting, and will also see occasional messages.

Resolution for custom lock screen image

A concern with custom lock screen images is how they will appear on different screen sizes and resolutions.

A custom lock screen image created in 16:9 aspect ratio (1600×900) will scale properly on devices using a 16:9 resolution, such as 1280×720 or 1920×1080. On devices using other aspect ratios, such as 4:3 (1024×768) or 16:10 (1280×800), height scales correctly and width is cropped to a size equal to the aspect ratio. The image will remain centered on the screen

Lock screen images created at other aspect ratios may scale and center unpredictably on your device when changing aspect ratios.

Author: Meni T.

IT Infrastructure Manager

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