Home » How To » 10 Fixes for Windows Spotlight Not Working on Windows 11

10 Fixes for Windows Spotlight Not Working on Windows 11

Windows Spotlight is enabled by default on Windows 11 and it automatically changes the lock screen and desktop background from time to time to give the desktop a fresh look. For the most part, it works flawlessly and shows gorgeous wallpapers. But what if Windows Spotlight stops working and you are stuck with the same stale background? Don’t worry, if that ever happens to you, here’s how to troubleshoot and fix Windows Spotlight when it’s not working on Windows 11.

1. Restart Windows Spotlight

Restarting Windows Spotlight often fixes a known bug where it stops working. Here’s how:

Open Windows 11 Settings (you can press the Windows key + I shortcut). Once in settings, go to Personalization > Background page. Select Picture or Slideshow from the “Personalize your background” dropdown. After that, click on the dropdown menu again and select Windows Spotlight.

restart Windows spotlight

If you want, you can also navigate to the Personalize > Lock Screen page in Settings and unselect and select Windows Spotlight in the “Personalize your lock screen” dropdown.

2. Clear Spotlight Assets Folder (Cache)

Windows Spotlight stores wallpapers in a special cache folder called ‘Assets.’ If this cache becomes corrupted, it can prevent Windows Spotlight from functioning properly. To resolve this, you’ll need to clear the Assets folder. Here’s how:

Open the Run window by pressing the Windows key + R shortcut. Copy (Ctrl + C) the path below, paste (Ctrl + V) it into the Run window, and click “OK.”

Windows spotlight assets cache folder path in run window

Select all files in the Assets folder with Ctrl + A shortcut. Next, press the Delete key on your keyboard to delete the Windows Spotlight cache files. Close the File Explorer window.

delete Windows spotlight cache

3. Reset Windows Spotlight Settings

After clearing the cache, you’ll need to reset Windows Spotlight settings. Here’s how:

Press the Windows key + R to open Run. Copy and paste the below path in the Run window and click “OK.”

Windows spotlight settings folder path in run window

Select all the files by pressing Ctrl + A shortcut, and press the Delete key to remove them from File Explorer.

delete Windows spotlight settings

4. Re-Register Windows Spotlight

Re-registering Windows Spotlight through PowerShell is like reinstalling it. It will fix a lot of issues causing the Windows Spotlight to stop working.

First, right-click on the Windows logo on the taskbar and select Terminal (Admin). Once the Terminal opens, ensure the PowerShell tab is open, and run the below command in it. You can copy and paste the command in the Terminal window.

Get-AppxPackage -Name Microsoft.Windows.ContentDeliveryManager | Foreach {Add-AppxPackage -DisableDevelopmentMode -Register "$($_.InstallLocation)\AppXManifest.xml" -Verbose}
re-register Windows spotlight

The command will re-register the Windows Spotlight feature. After that, close the Terminal window and restart your computer.

5. Check if the Internet Is Working

Windows Spotlight needs an active internet connection to download new wallpapers and work properly. So, ensure your computer can connect to the internet.

One of the easiest ways to test your internet connection is by opening a website like (google.com) in the browser of your choice. Additionally, you can also use free services such as fast.com and speedtest.net to check if your internet connection is responsive and speedy enough.

If you have problems with the internet connection, restart your router and try again.

Once you restart the router, open Settings on Windows 11, go to System > Troubleshoot > Other troubleshooters page, and click the Run button next to Network and Internet.

run internet troubleshooter

Follow the on-screen wizard and suggestions to fix the problem.

If the troubleshooting didn’t work, the problem might be with your ISP. Contact your ISP to narrow down and fix the problem.

6. Make Sure You Are Not Using a Metered Connection

If you’re using a Metered Connection in Windows 11, which limits data usage, Windows Spotlight won’t work. The metered connection feature is mainly intended to save data usage on networks with limited data such as your mobile plan.

Make sure you are connected to the internet and open Settings on Windows 11 (press Windows key + I). Navigate to the Network & Internet page and click on Properties on the right panel.

open network properties

Scroll down and turn off the Metered Connected toggle.

disable metered connection

7. Set the Date and Time Correctly

Accurate date, time, and time zone are required for Windows Spotlight. Without that, the internet won’t work properly and Windows Spotlight cannot connect to the internet.

First, right-click on the clock and select Adjust Date and Time.

adjust date and time

Turn off the Set Time Zone Automatically toggle and set the time zone using the Time Zone dropdown menu. Next, click the Sync Now button under “Additional Settings” to force sync time on Windows.

sync time on Windows 11

Finally, close Settings and restart your computer.

8. Run DISM and SFC Scan

As always, when there is a problem with Windows or any of its features, you should run SFC and DISM commands to scan and fix any corrupted system files. Corrupted system files are a major cause of Windows Spotlight not working.

First, open Terminal as admin by right-clicking on the Windows logo and selecting Terminal (Admin). Next, run the below commands one after another:

Scan the system for Windows image and component store corruption:

dism.exe /online /cleanup-image /scanhealth

Repair and restore corrupted Windows image and component store files:

dism.exe /online /cleanup-image /restorehealth

Cleanup the component store (WinSxS):

dism.exe /online /cleanup-image /startcomponentcleanup

Check system file integrity and repair corrupted files:

sfc /scannow

After executing the commands, close the terminal window and reboot Windows 11. Once restarted, Windows Spotlight will work normally.

9. Uninstall the Latest Windows Update

If Windows Spotlight stopped working after a recent update, consider uninstalling that update. Here’s how to do it:

Open Settings with the Windows key + I shortcut. Go to the Windows Update > Update History page and click on the Uninstall Updates option under the “Related Settings” section.

click uninstall updates

Find the recently installed update and click on the Uninstall option. Click the Uninstall button when prompted. Follow the on-screen instructions and restart your computer.

uninstall Windows update

After a restart, if Windows Spotlight is still not working, proceed to the next method.

10. Use the Dynamic Theme App

If all else fails, use a free app called Dynamic Theme. It offers the same functionality as Windows Spotlight and even lets you save Spotlight wallpapers. I’ve used this app for automatic wallpaper changes on both Windows 10 and 11.

You can install it from the Microsoft Store or use the winget install "dynamic theme" command. Once installed, open the app and set the Background and Lock Screen to use Windows Spotlight.

Dynamic Wallpapers with Windows Spotlight

There you are. These are the ten methods you can try to troubleshoot and fix problems with Windows Spotlight. For most people, the problem is usually with their internet connection or corrupted Spotlight cache and settings files. So, one of the first five troubleshooting methods should fix the problem for most. However, if the troubleshooting methods did not work, the next best thing you can do other than reinstalling Windows 11 is to use the Dynamic Theme app. Its functionality is similar and even better in some cases compared to the built-in Windows Spotlight feature.

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