This program can retrieve Windows Spotlight images by requesting the Microsoft Spotlight API. SpotlightDL can also define images as wallpaper and system-wide lockscreen image.
It is useful in the following use cases:
- Download the whole Spotlight library with maximum image resolution and metadata
- Define Spotlight images as wallpaper, not only on Windows 10 but also on previous versions
- Define Spotlight images as global lock screen on Win7/8/10, removing the ads on Windows 10
- Chain SpotlightDL with your own scripts and apps by taking advantage of the url mode
How to use
SpotlightDownloader.exe from the Windows command prompt and see usage.
The download/url modes should also work on Mac/Linux using the Mono framework.
A few Batch files are offered for ease of use for common tasks:
- spotlight-download: Download Spotlight images
- update-wallpaper: Set images as desktop wallpaper
- update-lockscreen: Set images as system-wide lockscreen
- restore-lockscreen: Restore default system-wide lockscreen
- generate-manual: Generate a text file with command-line usage
If you wish to periodically update your wallpaper or lockscreen, you can schedule one of the provided script by following these instructions.
How it works
The Spotlight API is located on the following endpoint:
Where the expected arguments are:
pid: Purpose currently unknown
fmt: Output format, e.g.
rafb: Purpose currently unknown
ua: Client user agent string
disphorzres: Screen width in pixels
dispvertres: Screen height in pixels
lo: Purpose currently uknown
pl: Locale, e.g.
lc: Language, e.g.
ctry: Country, e.g.
time: Time, e.g.
The JSON response contains details about 6-7 images including image url, title, sha256, ads, etc.
Spotlight API URL was originally found in this file, thanks to the author for their findings!
Global lock screen
The global lock screen image for Windows 8 and 10 is stored as
SpotlightDL backups the image as
img200.jpg if it does not already exists, then overwrite this file.
The lock screen image cache, located at
C:\ProgramData\Microsoft\Windows\SystemData\S-1-5-18\ReadOnly\LockScreen_Z, must be cleared for the change to take effect.
SpotlightDL gets around NTFS permissions on these folders being locked down to TrustedInstaller
by setting the local
Administrators group as new owner of the relevant files and folders, and granting full control to this group.
Then, programs running as administrator can overwrite the lockscreen image and clear the cache.
Windows 7 support is also implemented through the OEMBackground feature:
Then the image has to be placed in
Windows 7 enforces a limit of 250 KiB so SpotlightDL will recompress the image to the highest quality fitting in that limit.
Basically, you can use it or its source for any project, free or commercial, but if you improve it or fix issues, the license requires you to contribute back by submitting a pull request with your improved version of the code. Also, credit must be given to the original project, and license notices may not be removed from the code.