What Is Desktop Window Manager (dwm.exe)?(All Problems Solved)

Short Notes:
Desktop window manager(dwm. Exe) is an official windows component. It is responsible for drawing of application onto screen before displaying it. Windows creates composite view of if there is a spike in cpu or ram usage by desktop manager, that would settle down quickly. Do an antivirus scan on your system. Known error messages for d antivirus scan or format your pc as a last resort. It can be killed or disabled as its official windows system process. If it’s using high cpu or ram for. …

You might have seen Desktop Window Manager(dwm.exe) in your Task Manager and would have wondered what does it does. In this articles, we will clear all your doubts revolving around it.

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So What exactly is Desktop Window Manager(dwm.exe)?

It an official windows component which is responsible for drawing of Application onto  Screen before displaying it. With the help of it, Windows is able to add effects like transparency, blur effects and live Thumbnails in Windows Explorer. It essential part of Windows which cannot be stopped from running.

Various effects provided by Desktop Window Manager(dwm.exe) are:dwm.exe

  1. Transparent Effect in Windows Applications
  2. Blur Effects
  3. Flip3D
  4. Live Thumbnails Support
  5. High-Resolution Monitor Support

Applications don’t directly draw their Displays directly to the screen but first, the picture of the Application is stored in Memory. Windows then creates a composite view of all the Windows on the screen before displaying it on the monitor. As Windows is creating a composite view for all Windows Applications this allows it to add various effects to the display like transparency and Windows Animations. Without it applications would not be visible on your monitor or screen.

Can You Disable or Turn Off Desktop Windows Manager(dwm.exe)?

No, you cannot disable it as its very important process for displaying applications. Earlier versions of Windows such as Windows Vista allowed to turn it off as dwm.exe was controlled by other processes, now disabling this process would eventually disable dwm.exe also. But in later versions of Windows like in Windows 7, Desktop Manager process became independent process and cannot be turned off or disabled. It was an essential process for creating Graphical User Interface.

In Windows 8 and 10, Desktop Manager is very much improved and became an integral process. Also, you should worry about Desktop Windows Manager as the process is very optimized and it consumes very minimal resources and there is definitely no need to turn it off.

What to do if its consuming High CPU and RAM?


Ideally, Desktop Windows Manager uses minimal Resources. The RAM usage will generally not be more than 50 MB. In my system which has Windows 7, I have opened many Applications then also DWM.EXE is consuming around 0% CPU and around 18 MB of RAM. Therefore, it generally doesn’t consume much of CPU and RAM. If there is a spike in CPU or RAM usage by Desktop Manager, that would be temporary and would settle down quickly.

If you observe Desktop Manager taking too much CPU or RAM then you can do following solutions:

  1. Just make sure, you have installed your Hardware’s Graphics Drivers or Integrated Graphics Adapter Driver. Desktop Manager gives much of its work to GPU or Graphical Processing Unit to reduce the CPU usage.
  2. Do an Antivirus Scan on your System. Some types are malware are known to cause various problems with Desktop Window Manager.
  3. Download and install latest updates for your Operating System. It’s always best to have latest updates which provide latest features and latest security updates.

These should solve desktop window manager high CPU problem.

Known error messages for DWM.EXE

Following are common error messages regarding dwm.exe process:

  1. Cannot find file: dwm.exe
  2. File Not Found: dwm.exe
  3. Device not recognized missing dwm.exe file

Because of this error, several other processes also may not function properly such as USB connections to your computer or a keyboard or mouse.

Should you download dwm.exe from the internet?

As dwm.exe is a System file, therefore it should not be downloaded separately. It should automatically be upgraded when new updates are available for your OS. If you download dwm.exe from third party websites then chances are that its a malware. We do not recommend you downloading system files from these websites. Download system files from third party websites can do more hard rather than solving the problem.

Can This process be a Virus?

As you know that Windows Desktop Manager(dwm.exe) is itself an official part of Windows, therefore it cannot be a virus. Although, it’s possible that a virus has replaced the real dwm.exe process and then creating all the trouble. However, this is very rare. To be sure that dwm.exe is not a virus, On Task Manager, right click on Desktop Windows Manager process and choose the Open File Location option.


The file called dwm.exe should be stored in “WindowsSystem32” folder. If this is the case, then it’s definitely not a virus.


However if still, the problem persists, you should do:

  1. Antivirus Scan
  2. Or Format your PC as a last resort, if nothing works

Conclusion – What is Windows Desktop Manager(dwm.exe)?

Its a process responsible for drawing Application on your Screen which provides the Application to have various visual effects such as Blur, Flip3D, transparent and many more. It cannot be killed or disabled as its official Windows System process. If it’s using high CPU or RAM for a longer period of time then chances are your System is affected by some sort of Malware. In this case, it’s best to Do Antivirus scan and remove all Malware from your PC.

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