29

Where, or what format, are the images used by Windows 10 when logged out or in lock-screen?

I searched the entire drive for *.jpg, *.bmp, *.png, and *.tif but the one I was looking for did not appear.

At first glance, Path to current desktop backgrounds in Windows 10?, although not exactly a duplicate, appeared to have the path I wanted. But when I went there, the pre-login image was there, but the lock-screen image was not. (And contrary to the claim in that answer, the files there did have extensions.)

UPDATE: I just did a lockscreen, and got an image that IS in that directory, but earlier today, it was consistently an image of an interesting footbridge that is not in that directory.

  • 5
    Possible duplicate of Path to current desktop backgrounds in Windows 10? – DavidPostill Sep 20 '16 at 17:06
  • 1
    Sorry, the lock-screen image was not in that ...\web directory. It did look like a duplicate, and I almost agreed, but then thought I should look first. It's unfortunate (just my opinion) that most of the time, the "suggestions" contain no real duplicate, yet as soon as I submit the question, several actual duplicates appear in the right sidebar. – WGroleau Sep 20 '16 at 18:54
  • @DavidPostill, 'Lock screen image' != 'desktop background papger' – diverger Sep 28 '19 at 10:51
33

If you are not finding the images in the typical locations, you likely have Windows Spotlight turned on. Spotlight offers random images on the lock screen, as well as other features.

These Windows Spotlight images aren’t stored in the same location as regular Windows wallpaper, however, so here’s how you can find them.

The images are hidden deep, so you will need to change settings before you can view them. To do this, open File Explorer and go to the View tab. On the far right is an Options button, click it.

In the window that opens, select the View tab. Under Advanced Settings, select Show hidden files, folders and drives, then click Apply and then OK to close the open window.

Now it is time to navigate to the following directory (which was hidden before).

This PC > C: > Users > [Your User Name] > AppData > Local > Packages > Microsoft.Windows.ContentDeliveryManager_cw5n1h2txyewy > LocalState > Assets

In this directory you will see a bunch of files without extensions. These are the incognito image files. These are jpeg images of various resolutions to meet the needs of multiple devices screen sizes. You can copy the files to another location and rename them to have the jpeg extension, then you can open them with your default image viewer.

source

| improve this answer | |
  • Have to rename them all just to look for one. Bummer. Guess I can do that trivially in a Unix shell, but that means sending them all over the wire. Well, I'll try it next time I'm on the Windows box. – WGroleau Sep 20 '16 at 21:17
  • 1
    I am not sure saying MS was trying to hide then is fair, the directory, matches the naming convention of a UWP. Pretty sure it's more like they didn't expect anyone to care where the images were – Ramhound Sep 21 '16 at 11:40
  • 6
    If you have copied the files (that are JPEG files but have no extension) to a temporary directory, where you don’t have any other files, you can rename them all from the Command Prompt with ren *. *.jpg – Scott Jun 5 '18 at 1:20
  • 1
    note perhaps microsoft changed something but this answer doesn't work for me anymore as of fall 2018. The Assets folder exists, and there are dozens of long random-char names without extensions, and they are pictures when renamed to jpg, but they are all under 150 kb, and the largest ones are a bunch of candy-crush game art, not the gorgeous lock screen wallpapers. – xdavidliu Oct 23 '18 at 20:16
  • 1
    Im using windows 1903 and this still works for me. – rolls Oct 30 '19 at 0:26
20

All above did not worked for me at all. Lock screen was still that annoying-cave-entrance.

No matter if I overwrite that Packages\Microsoft.Windows.ContentDeliveryManager_cw5n1h2txyewy\LocalState\Assets folder.

No matter if I replace\edit anything in Windows\Web\Screen folder.

Even gpedit.msc did not help.

Lock screen/logon screen was still that frakin annoying-cave-entrancescreen.

If it shows that screen, then it has to be somewhere on the disk.

I found it eventually in C:\ProgramData\Microsoft\Windows\SystemData.

That SystemData folder have to be changed with security edits (you need to take ownership of that folder and its content through properties window, Security tab)

After that you will have to edit picture files within subfolders (depending on how many users are set on the computer).

There will be several folders which could look like:

- S-1-5-18\ReadOnly\LockScreen_X (and other LockScreen_Y, LockScreen_Z)

- S-1-5-21-...\ReadOnly\LockScreen_O

- S-1-5-21-...\ReadOnly\LockScreen_O

Hope it will help to some :)

| improve this answer | |
  • I didn't have access to that folder nor the ability to change permissions through windows explorer, but I was able to do whatever I want (including overwriting files and successfully changing my background image!) via git bash instead. Thanks! – adamdport Jun 24 '19 at 14:27
  • You have to "take ownership" of the folder in Windows and you can edit files then. You can do so with command line (takeown && icacls) or you can find some "registry hacks" online – hextech Sep 15 '19 at 10:21
  • Exactly what I needed - THANK YOU!! – SamAndrew81 Feb 22 at 0:13
  • I had to take ownership of the SystemData folder. Running from an Administrator command prompt I issued the following command: takeown /F C:\ProgramData\Microsoft\Windows\SystemData\ /r /d Y – Joe B Apr 13 at 14:31
  • This is it..... – Čamo Apr 13 at 20:23
5

In addition to the answer(s) given, I'd like to provide you with a script that instantly copies and renames the file to *.jpg. If you change the view to medium icons or to large icons, then you can instantly see the pictures when you run the script (let's name it LikeWhatYouSee.cmd):

:: Batch script, which copies "Like what you see" 
:: pictures to %userprofile%\Pictures\Saved Pictures\ and opens it in explorer
cd /D %userprofile%\AppData\Local\Packages\Microsoft.Windows.ContentDeliveryManager_cw5n1h2txyewy\LocalState\Assets
mkdir "%userprofile%\Pictures\Saved Pictures\" 1>nul 2>&1
copy * "%userprofile%\Pictures\Saved Pictures\*.jpg"
explorer "%userprofile%\Pictures\Saved Pictures\"

The pictures are saved to the subdirectory Saved Pictures in your user profile's Pictures folder. You can run the script multiple times without harm, the pictures have unique filenames. Over time, you will get a lot of nice pictures in that folder. The pictures will not be removed from there, unless you delete them manually.

Note: After you ran the script above, you can change the lock screen image to any of the liked pictures you saved easily. To do this:

  1. Press Windows + I to open Windows settings
  2. Click "Personalization"
  3. In the side bar, select "Lock screen"
  4. In the lock screen settings, select "Picture" (always the same image) or "Slideshow" (alternating images) as background
  5. If you selected "Picture", you can click "Browse" to find and select your picture. If you selected "Slideshow", you can click on "+" to add a folder. For the folder, browse to Pictures --> Saved Pictures, where you can find the pictures saved by the script
| improve this answer | |
  • 1
    Using the %userprofile% is the best way to get the location, works regardless of what the user's username is – UbuntuForums_Staff_Are_Trolls May 15 '18 at 0:54
1

For my company win10 locked locked screen background, i did not have access to Windows\Web\Screen folder because I'm not admin.

But

In the photo win10 app, i coul right click and choose MY picture and then select : choose as (français: établir en tant que...) locked screen background.

Hope this helps any of you change annoying locked admin parameters!!

| improve this answer | |
  • For me this was useful! – StanTastic Dec 14 '18 at 11:04

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.