How to remove Windows Spotlight's "Learn about this picture icon" from your desktop in Windows 11
The KB5014019 update for Windows 11 was released last week with a bunch of fixes for known issues. The Cumulative Preview patch also brought something else, it introduces the Spotlight Desktop feature to the stable channel.
The option, which debuted last December in the Insider Preview Program, automatically changes your desktop background from time to time. The wallpaper changer is not enabled by default in Windows 11. If you want to use it, you will need to dive in to the Settings app's > Personalization > Background page. Click the dropdown menu next to Personalize your Background, and select Windows Spotlight.
The operating system will replace your current backdrop with a pretty landscape image. It also places an icon in the top right corner of your screen. This icon is labeled, Learn about this picture. Clicking on it opens a webpage with the name and location of the image in Microsoft Edge, even if it is not your default browser, oh what a surprise that is. But that's not the problem here, the issue is you can't delete the icon from the desktop.
It can be moved around, but you can't get rid of it. Pressing the delete key does nothing, and you can't drag and drop it on the Recycle Bin. The shortcut doesn't show up in the Desktop folder, either. If you disable Spotlight, the icon goes away, but so does the wallpaper. So, that's not really a solution.
Right-clicking on the icon displays options to open the image in Edge, switch to the next picture, or vote whether you like or dislike the current image. Many users have voiced their displeasure regarding the lack of an option to remove the icon. I agree with them, as it ruins the arrangement and the aesthetics of the desktop.
While Microsoft hasn't provided a way to delete the icon, a third-party tool can be used for this purpose.
How to remove the Windows Spotlight icon from your desktop in Windows 11
1. Download ExplorerPatcher from its GitHub page. You will need to be connected to the internet, for the open source program to download some tools.
2. Run the program.
Note: Don't panic if your Explorer windows are closed, and if the Taskbar disappears briefly. ExplorerPatcher restores the Windows 10 Taskbar style, and aligns the icons to the left of the Taskbar, and restarts Explorer.exe to apply the changes. You can restore the center taskbar style from the app's settings.
3. Switch to the Spotlight tab on the sidebar.
4. Click on the "Hide the Learn about this picture" icon. The X will change to a checkmark.
That should remove the annoying Spotlight icon from your desktop.
Note: If you don't see the option in ExplorerPatcher, you may have downloaded the Stable version of the program. The setting is only available in the pre-release version 22000.708.46.4.
ExplorerPatcher can do a lot more, you can use it to customize various elements in Windows 11, such as restoring the legacy context menu, the Windows 10 Start Menu, and more. The application is not portable, but doesn't need to be running in the background to apply the tweaks.
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