If you’re struck by the awesomeness of a Windows Spotlight (lock screen) image that recently appeared on your screen, and need to find the geographical location where the image was actually shot, here are some options.
Hover the Mouse over the Camera icon
With the Windows 10 Anniversary Update (v1607), you can see the actual place or location of the current Spotlight image. All you need to do is hover the mouse pointer over the camera icon or Like what you see? text in the Lock Screen. It shows the location if available:
As we saw in the article how to Backup Windows Spotlight images, the spotlight images are actually JPG files, and the EXIF metadata in each file can contain some information about the image. It’s a good idea to check the file’s Properties, Details tab. Open the Assets folder, and copy the items to a folder on your desktop. The Assets folder is located at:
.jpg extension for the files and preview them. Then right-click on a file for which you want to get more information, and choose Properties and click the Details tab. This is today’s spotlight image that showed up in my system, and I really wanted to know the actual location where it was shot.
I previewed them all, and selected the appropriate file and viewed the Properties.
The Subject field had the exact details I needed.
Hallstatt, Upper Austria, is a village in the Salzkammergut, a region in Austria. It is located near the Hallstätter See (a lake). At the 2001 census, it had 946 inhabitants.
Hallstatt is known for its production of salt, dating back to prehistoric times, and gave its name to the Hallstatt culture, a culture often linked to Celtic, Proto-Celtic, and pre-Illyrian peoples in Early Iron Age Europe, c.800–450 BC. Some of the earliest archaeological evidence for the Celts was found in Hallstatt.
Note that the location information may not be available for every spotlight image. If the file properties doesn’t have enough information, you may try a reverse image search.
Reverse Image Search
Using Google Reverse Image search you can use a picture as your search input, to find related images from around the web. If what you’re looking for is a popular landmark, Google most likely tells you the exact location of the image. Well! It did, in this case. I tested with all the tags removed before uploading, and Google found the location perfectly and showed some visually similar pictures.
Bing Visual Search
You can also do a reverse image search (or Visual image search) using the Bing image search engine.
With Windows 10 version 1903 and higher, you can search for similar images using the Photos app. Open the Spotlight image or (any other image for that matter) using the Photos app. Right-click on the image, and click Search for similar images on Bing.
Here you go! You’ll see the location name, and the exact pages which use the image.
Let’s reverse search another Windows Spotlight wallpaper image. This time Bing (as well as Google) display the exact name of the spot.
About the author
Ramesh Srinivasan founded Winhelponline.com back in 2005. He is passionate about Microsoft technologies and he has been a Microsoft Most Valuable Professional (MVP) for 10 consecutive years from 2003 to 2012.