Cool Things to Do with the Windows 10 Lock Screen

Joe Keeley 05-04-2016

The Windows 10 lock screen is more than a stylish display to cover the login screen. It can feature beautiful backgrounds 8 Fascinating Live Wallpapers for Your Windows Desktop A live wallpaper can help you relax, improve your mood, or even get you hyped ahead of a big event. We show you the best animated wallpapers you can get on your Windows desktop. Read More , application statuses, and soon Cortana will live here, too. Let us show you how to download those stunning Spotlight images, set a custom image feed, or disable the lock screen entirely, if you’d rather not be distracted.


If you think we’ve missed a cool lock screen feature, please let us know in the comments section below.

Change Background, Add Apps & More by Default

Before we delve into some of the options available through apps and edits, let’s take a look at what we can do with the Windows 10 lock screen by default. First, press Windows Key + I to enter the new Settings page The Windows 10 Settings Guide: How to Do Anything and Everything Do you know your way around the Settings app in Windows 10? Here's everything you need to know. Read More and then click Personalization. From the left-hand menu, select Lock screen.

windows 10 lock screen settings

You can set your Background here. Windows spotlight will offer up a random display of curated images from Microsoft. Picture will let you select a single image file from your system. Finally, Slideshow allows you to choose folders that images will automatically be pulled from. If you select this, go to Advanced slideshow settings to adjust your inactivity options and more.

Moving down, you can Choose an app to show detailed status. This is a single app choice, which will display on your lock screen in full. You can also Choose apps to show quick status to have a more general overview of other apps. The choices will include default Windows apps, but also any compatible ones that you’ve installed.


Vote on Spotlight Images

If you’ve got Windows Spotlight set as your lock screen wallpaper, you’ll be served swish and high quality images directly from Microsoft. When on your lock screen, you can vote on whether you like the particular image displaying. To cast your vote, click Like what you see? in the top right and then select your choice.

windows 10 lock screen vote

If you choose I want more! then you’ll get similar images in the future; if you like a waterfall, you’re more likely to get a nature snap. This also increases the chance of that same picture reappearing down the line. Alternatively, select Not a fan and it’ll be removed from your potential image pool and a new background will immediately show up.

Sometimes Windows Spotlight will display advertisements. A recent example was for the video game Rise of the Tomb Raider, where a wallpaper for the game was displayed and a link to buy the game on the Store was provided. If this occurs and you don’t want to see it again, be sure to vote accordingly. The only other way to not see these promotions, is to opt out of the Spotlight feature altogether.


Download Spotlight Images

If you’ve got Windows Spotlight set as your lock screen background, you’re used to seeing stylish and high quality images before you log in. These pictures cycle through Microsoft’s curated selection and there’s no in-built way to download them for other purposes, like setting them as your desktop background.


Enter SpotBright, a free app available on the Microsoft Store. It’s a simple program that will scan for all the Spotlight images that have been used in the past and let you download them to your local device. In fact, you can use it even if you don’t have Spotlight enabled.

The free version is supported by adverts, but you can pay a small price to upgrade to remove them. The paid version will also notify you when new pictures are available. If you stick with the free version, you’ll need to manually scan for changes each time.


Subreddit as a Wallpaper Feed

Reddit is full of weird and wonderful subreddits 6 Awesome Subreddits That Deserve More Than 20,000 Subscribers There's a subreddit for just about anything, but the hard part is finding them. Here are six awesome subreddits that lie under the radar, but deserve the bragging rights to 20,000 subscribers. Read More , many of which offer up loads of high quality images (like /r/earthporn and /r/wallpapers) that are perfect for using as your lock screen background. Rather than download these manually, it’d be much easier to automatically pull them through in a feed. This is where an app called Readit comes in handy.

Though primarily used as a Reddit client for Windows, it’s got a handy feature tucked away, which we can make use of. Launch the app and click the settings cog on the left-hand side.


From here, click Lockscreen & Wallpaper. Switch Update lockscreen automatically to On and use the Lockscreen Subreddit dropdown to select which subreddit you wish to use as your image feed. If you don’t see the one you want listed, navigate back into the app and subscribe to that subreddit.


You can also set the Update frequency (in hours) to choose how often you wish the image to update.

Disable the Lock Screen

If nothing here has convinced you to keep the lock screen, there’s a hidden way to disable it by creating a new entry in the registry. For this, press Windows key + R, input regedit, and then click OK.

Navigate to the following path:


Right-click the Windows folder and click New > Key. Name this new key Personalization and then navigate inside it.


Right-click inside the right-hand pane and select New > DWORD (32-bit) Value. Name it NoLockScreen. Then double click this new value and change the Value data to 1. Then click OK and exit the Registry Editor.

If you ever want to reverse this change and bring the lock screen back, navigate back to the NoLockScreen key and change the value to 0.

Locking to the Future

Windows 10 is an ever-evolving operating system The Latest Windows 10 Version Won't Be the Last One What is the latest Windows 10 version? How long is it supported? And why did Microsoft switch to a service model? Answers within! Read More that will continually be updated. Looking to the future, Microsoft recently demonstrated that the lock screen will have Cortana support, meaning you can fire questions to the virtual assistant How to Make Cortana Organize Your Life Your life is so complex, you deserve a personal assistant. Meet Cortana, your virtual assistant ready to serve at the tip of your tongue. We'll show you how to effectively delegate tasks to Cortana. Read More without unlocking the device.

If all of this has got you in the mood for some customization, check out our guide on how to change the look and feel of your desktop How to Change the Look and Feel of Your Windows 10 Desktop Want to know how to make Windows 10 look better? Use these simple customizations to make Windows 10 your own. Read More . Alternatively, if you’re feeling retro, why not find out how to get Aero glass back in Windows 10 How to Get the Aero Glass Theme on Windows 10 It was one of the most requested features from Windows Insiders. Still, Microsoft decided not to add Aero Glass back to Windows 10, after removing it in Windows 8. Here's how you can get it... Read More  or make Windows 10 look like Windows 7 How to Make Windows 10 Look More Like Windows 7 Windows 10 introduced many updated and the visual design wasn't spared. If you prefer the aesthetics of Windows 7, we'll show you the steps to take to mimic its user interface. Read More .

Do you use the lock screen on your Windows 10 device? What cool things have you found can be done with it?

Related topics: Windows 10, Windows Customization.

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  2. Anne
    November 2, 2016 at 9:13 pm

    My husband has the exact same computer as mine, installed the say day etc. however on his lock screen he not only gets the "I want more" or "not a fan" options, he also gets details on what the photo is (ie location etc) but i don't get that. How can I turn this function on please?

  3. peggy
    October 30, 2016 at 4:15 pm

    I used to see the voting question on the same screen as the image. For the last 3 months or so I see a black screen with the vote question, but not the image. Once I tap the keyboard the question goes away and then I can see the image. I pretty much can never vote because the image and vote question will not display at the same time.

  4. Don
    October 18, 2016 at 4:11 pm

    I have my lock screen set up to display spotlight pictures but all I get are the captions with a blank blue screen. How do I get them back?

  5. David
    September 29, 2016 at 10:57 pm

    Actually Windows 10 isn't really the last version of Windows. At the moment MS is releasing a so called "Anniversary Update" to Windows 10 on approx. an annual basis (hence name). It is in fact a complete release of Windows just like going from Windows 7 or 8 to Windows 10 was. It backs up your current OS to Windows.old (just like the initial upgrade to Windows 10) and installs the OS virtually complete. I have just been updated to the Anniversary Update, without having a choice and had to wait several hours before I could use my PC again. It goes through the whole initial Windows 10 process right down to first logon after upgrade giving the message "Hi we've upgraded your PC....." etc. and it is all change, almost as many differences as initially going to Windows 10, including the Start Menu which is now the worst ever, its horrible. Also all those tweaks you spent forever sussing out and making? All gone and now MS has changed things so most of the tweaks no longer work. MS has been watching and has decided users will have the OS as MS decide not as users might like to tailor. Biggest bug bear for me you can no longer turn of the initial lock screen even if you are on a desktop with no touch screen you are having the lock screen whether you like it or not. After all fancy thinking you get to decide what to do with the P|C you paid for, MS is the s/w Emperor and you will all kowtow and obey as MS decides.

  6. malcomtux
    August 31, 2016 at 5:29 pm

    My Lock screen doesn't show the option to vote on the images, do you know how to enable it?

  7. bromberg
    August 14, 2016 at 6:18 am

    I used to have my picture in a small oval (along with the MS "cave/beach" scene) on the Windows lock screen. However, the Anniversary Update removed my pic. Any idea how I can get it back?

  8. a.b
    August 13, 2016 at 3:14 pm

    BIG thanks for the location of the pics, Daniel M.!

  9. Bob
    August 3, 2016 at 4:08 am

    Updated today to the Win 10 new release. The Registry fix to disable the Lock Screen is in there but no longer works anymore. When booting up my previous lock screen image now displays as before the Registry Disable Lock Screen was implemented.

    • nav
      November 3, 2016 at 1:24 am

      same man

  10. Verla Davis
    June 8, 2016 at 12:16 am

    I'd like to know what I'm looking at or where is this cool mountain... Is there a place to find out or credits for the photographers?

    • Chuck Harris
      July 1, 2016 at 4:06 am

      I am with Verla. Would love to know some basic info on these great pics. Especially where some were taken. Would love to go to some of these places or at least dream about going.

  11. kenauka2
    April 8, 2016 at 1:43 pm

    "If you’ve got Windows Spotlight set as your lock screen background, you’re used to seeing stylish and high quality images before you log in. These pictures cycle through Microsoft’s curated selection and there’s no in-built way to download them for other purposes, like setting them as your desktop background." Well, actually there is. It takes a little work, but I've done it several times. If an image appears that you want to turn into a background, just hit the Print Screen button on your keyboard, login, open up your favorite image editor, and then paste. You can then crop it, or do as I do and just use your image editor's Clone Tool to remove the time, date, and other image artifacts.

    • Daniel M.
      June 6, 2016 at 9:55 pm

      Or, you can go to the folder %LOCALAPPDATA%\Packages\Microsoft.Windows.ContentDeliveryManager_cw5n1h2txyewy\LocalState\Assets and find your beloved picture, no editing. Just adding jpg extension.

      You're welcome

  12. Xeen17
    April 7, 2016 at 11:29 am

    What about those of us who no longer have Windows 10 spotlight, which came via the free upgrade? I had my computer "fixed" by a dealer who put Windows 10 Professional on it - no spotlight. It's not even listed in the drop down in the settings.

    If there's a work around, I'd love it. It was one of the best things about Windows 10, as I have to leave my screen regularly to deal with clients - the new image was a cool psychological way of getting back into the task I'd left.

  13. Anonymous
    April 7, 2016 at 5:42 am

    I know it is possible to render on top of the login screen because NetSetMan does it. Not sure if there is a way to get it on the lockscreen. I'd love to see it done though.

  14. Anonymous
    April 5, 2016 at 9:19 pm

    Is there anyway to display an agenda calendar view on the lockscreen? For example, something similar to calendar notify with next 10 or so events including time, location, and description. If such features are still not yet supported in Windows 10 I am guessing a ridiculous workaround would be to create a script that reads your calendars and then draws them onto the background picture used by the look screen?