I am trying to retrieve the current Lock Screen image of my Windows 10 Surface which is quickly dying.

The original file has been lost (only copy) and now the only one that remains is the one on the Surface lock screen.

I have tried going to the Assets folder as suggested, and even looking up the value of the LandscapeAssetPath registry key to locate the file, but the key is empty!!

Obviously it is still stored SOMEWHERE on the drive, just have no clue where to look.

  • 1
    Is this a custom image or one of the Windows Spotlight images you're after? I assume it's custom based on you're saying "the original was lost"...correct? – I say Reinstate Monica Nov 18 '18 at 20:37

Based on some detective work using Process Monitor, Windows 10* stores custom lock screen backgrounds at:


Note: The last folder may have a different letter suffix, for example LockScreen_B

You can determine your account SID by running the following from a Command Prompt:

wmic useraccount where name='%username%' get sid

The SystemData and each of the folders below a protected with NTFS permissions that restrict even Administrative users from accessing them. To work around this do the following logged in with Administrative rights:

  1. In File Explorer type C:\ProgramData\Microsoft\Windows in the address bar to open this folder. enter image description here
  2. Right-click the SystemData folder and choose Properties.
  3. On the Security tab click Advanced

    enter image description here

  4. On the Permissions tab click Change.

    enter image description here

  5. Type Administrators in the text box and click OK.

    enter image description here

  6. Enable the Replace owner on subcontainers and objects checkbox and click OK twice to exit all of the dialogs.

    enter image description here

  7. Open the SystemData folder. Click Continue at the permission error screen.

    enter image description here

  8. Drill down to the folder containing your lock screen image, clicking Continue as required to get permissions.

*Confirmed on Windows 10 v1803

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  • In Windows 10 v. 1809, the folder SystemData is so locked down that I could not even see the owner, much less change it. An easier and safer way to view and copy these files is to access from a disk image, e.g. from Macrium Reflect or DriveImage XML. While opening the image to browse, check the box to access restricted folders. – DrMoishe Pippik Nov 18 '18 at 22:46

Elaborating on DrMoishe Pippik's answer, this worked for me while the other answer doesn't. My windows version: 10.0.17763

Steps to perform:

  1. (Install &) Open Macrium Reflect (free to use)
  2. Create an image of your C:\ drive
  3. Browse this image and check 'access restricted folders'
  4. Navigate to ProgramData\Microsoft\Windows\SystemData\<S-ID>\ReadOnly\LockScreen_A\

Et voila!

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To add to the awesome answer above, I used git bash to get to the folder and the files.

Git is a CLI that adds Unix based commands to windows. What I mostly use it for is the ability to bypass almost all of windows pointless coddling. The Unix style commands are just a perk. Anyway, if you choose to install git, launch it as an administrator. Then type in:

cp -r /c/ProgramData/Microsoft/Windows/SystemData/ /c/Users/Public/Pictures/

That will copy all of the previous and current lock screen photos from all users on the computer to your pictures in the public folder. From there you can go to C:\Users\Public\Pictures\ in the standard windows File Explorer and be able to access them in a GUI friendly way.

I was going to have pictures but as a new user I can't post pictures yet.

The main perk to this is on top of getting the photos, you get an extremely useful app that can be used to fill in where CMD falls short.

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