How to remove old images from Lock Screen Background History in Windows 10?

By Eunice Samson | April 19, 2019 |

greater than 4 minutes

When Microsoft developed Windows 10, the tech company ensured that it would become a great software product, especially in terms of aesthetics and functionality. You may have noticed that in this version, we now have Windows Spotlight. This is an app that features stunning images specifically curated for your operating system’s lock screen. Your system acquires the photos from the search engine Bing, then stores them on your device. Consequently, you will notice that you always have a new background image for your lock screen.

However, there are many users who prefer not to see the images that Spotlight curated. It is worth noting that the photos are not stored in the usual location for Windows wallpaper. So, it is relatively challenging to find the images to disable them. Keep in mind that the photos we are talking about do not appear on the sign-in screen. Instead, they show up when your computer is locked while running.

You might want to know how to remove old images from Windows 10’s lock screen history. Well, before we proceed, you must know that there is no way of deleting the lock screen photos directly from the background history. However, we can still teach you how to remove the lock screen image history from Windows 10.

The Simplest Way of Getting Rid of Automated Lock Screen Images

  1. On your keyboard, press Windows Key+I. Doing so will launch the Settings app.
  2. Click the Personalization tile.
  3. Now, go to the left-pane menu and select Lock Screen.
  4. Move to the right pane and go to the ‘Choose your picture’ section.

If you want to delete the existing wallpaper list from the Lock Screen background history, you can click Browse and use other pictures. Essentially, you’ll just replace the images with new ones.

How to Remove a Lock Screen Picture on Windows 10

If you’ve tried deleting recently used images from the Desktop Background History before, you might think that the same method applies to lock screen photos. However, it is worth noting that the images are not stored in the Windows Registry. Instead, they are kept in a system folder protected by Windows. All the lock screen images you use via the Settings app will be stored in this folder:

C:\ProgramData\Microsoft\Windows\SystemData\User_Account_Security_Identifier\ReadOnly

Keep in mind that the ProgramData folder is hidden. So, to access and view it, you must enable the ‘Show hidden files, folders, and drives’ option. Here are the steps:

  1. On File Explorer, go to the top menu and click View.
  2. Select Options.
  3. Once the Folder Options window shows up, go to the View tab.
  4. Select the ‘Show hidden files, folders, and drives’ option.
  5. Click OK and Apply.

After revealing the hidden folders, open the ProgramData folder and look for the Microsoft\Windows folder.

The next thing you need to do is open the SystemData folder. However, it is secured by your system. If you attempt to open it, you will see an error message telling you that you do not have permission to access the folder. If you try to click Continue, you will see another error message indicating that you have been denied permission to open the folder.

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You must take ownership of the folder to be able to open it. Here are the steps:

  1. Right-click the SystemData folder, then select Properties from the options.
  2. Once the Properties window is up, go to the Security tab.
  3. From the given list, select your username. You will notice that the account you’re using does not have full control over the folder.
  4. Click the Advanced button. Doing so will bring up a new window.
  5. Click the Change link beside the Owner section. Doing so will open a new dialog box.
  6. Enter your username, then click the Check Names button. Doing so will change the username to the correct format automatically.
  7. Click OK to save the changes you made.
  8. Now, exit the Ownership dialog boxes, then come back to the Properties window.
  9. Select your username, then click Edit.
  10. On the new window, choose your username, then select Allow for the Full Control option.
  11. Click Apply, then OK.
  12. If prompted to confirm the changes you made, click Yes.

After taking ownership of the SystemData folder, you can now open it. Once you’ve done that, you will see the following folders:

  • S-1-5-18
  • S-1-5-21-random-numbers-and-characters

You will find your user account Security Identifier (SID) number in the name of the second folder. You will also see another folder labeled ‘ReadOnly’. When you open that folder, you will see the following folders:

  • LockScreen_A
  • LockScreen_B
  • LockScreen_C
  • LockScreen_D

Keep in mind that the number of these folders is not the same for every computer. Inside each of the folders, you will see the lock screen background history images in their original resolution. However, you will also see them in smaller thumbnail sizes, namely 108×108, 151×151 and 194×194 px.

If you want to get rid of the images, all you have to do is delete the files present in the folders. Once you’ve done that, you won’t see the photos on the Lock Screen Background History list in the Settings app. On the other hand, if you use a new image as your lock screen background, you will find it in the folders above.

Windows Spotlight is supposed to improve your PC experience. However, if you do not like the automated images, you always have the option to remove them. On the other hand, if you want a genuine improvement in your Windows experience, we recommend that you use Auslogics BoostSpeed.

This tool has a powerful cleaning module that can sweep out all types of PC junk, including temporary files, unused error logs, leftover Windows Update files, and web browser cache, among many others. It even configures non-optimal system settings, prompting operations and processes to run at a faster pace. After running Auslogics BoostSpeed, you will notice a significant improvement in your computer’s overall performance.

What other Windows 10-related issues would you like us to resolve?

Don’t hesitate to ask questions in the comments section below!

Fed up with your slow PC? Tired of waiting for Windows to start up? Take a look at the most common reasons behind poor performance and the best ways to deal with them here.
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