What Is Desktop Window Manager (dwm.exe) and Why Is It Running?

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You shouldn't request 32 gigs of RAM to tally nan Desktop Window Manager.

A Windows 11 desktop pinch tons of composited elements.Hannah Stryker / How-To Geek

Key Takeaways

  • Desktop Window Manager (dwm.exe) composites windows successful Windows, allowing for effects for illustration transparency and unrecorded taskbar thumbnails.
  • It is simply a captious portion of Windows that cannot beryllium turned disconnected and is basal successful Windows 10 and Windows 11. It cannot beryllium turned off, and will automatically restart if it is ended aliases crashes.
  • If it is utilizing excessive resources, you tin effort updating hardware drivers, restarting nan process, aliases checking for malware.

You opened nan Task Manager and recovered thing called "Desktop Window Manager." Is it malware? Is it expected to beryllium there? If it is expected to beryllium there, what precisely does it do? Here's everything you request to know.

What Is Desktop Window Manager?

Desktop Window Manager (dwm.exe) is simply a compositing model head that renders each those beautiful effects successful Windows: transparent windows, unrecorded taskbar thumbnails, Flip3D, and moreover precocious solution show support.

Hovering complete a taskbar point to show a mini preview of nan window.

Instead of applications drafting their displays straight to your screen, applications constitute nan image of their model to a circumstantial spot successful memory. Windows past creates 1 "composite" position of each nan windows connected nan surface earlier sending it to your monitor. Because Windows is compositing and displaying nan contents of each window, it tin adhd effects for illustration transparency and model animations erstwhile layering nan windows for display.

Can I Turn Desktop Window Manager Off?

No, you can't. Back successful nan Vista days, Desktop Window Manager was controlled done a work that you could move disconnected — and successful move disable each nan ocular effects. Starting pinch Windows 7, Desktop Window Manager became a much integral portion of Windows, that's captious to creating nan graphical personification interface. That integration has deepened moreover further successful Windows 10 and Windows 11.

The bully news is that Desktop Window Manager has gotten a batch amended astir really it manages resources, and you shouldn't really request to move it off.

What Can I Do If Desktop Window Manager is Using Up RAM and CPU?

Desktop Window Manager should usage reasonably minimal resources. On this illustration system, location are a half-dozen progressive apps running, including Chrome, which has sewage much than a twelve tabs open. Even then, Desktop Windows Manager is utilizing a small little than 1% CPU and little than 100 MB RAM. That's a beautiful emblematic load. You should seldom spot it creep overmuch higher than that, and moreover if it does spike higher connected occasion, it should settee backmost down quickly. There person occasionally been bugs that origin precocious RAM usage. Because nan Desktop Window Manager does execute graphics-related jobs, you'll besides often spot it utilizing nan GPU. Values successful nan 0.1-3% scope are wholly normal, and intermittent spikes a spot higher are fundamentally normal, too.

The Desktop Window Manager process shown successful Task Manager

If you do spot Desktop Window Manager eating up much RAM, CPU, aliases GPU than you deliberation it should, location are a fewer things you tin try:

  • Make judge you person your hardware drivers updated, particularly nan drivers for your video paper aliases integrated graphics adapter. Desktop Window Manager offloads a batch of activity to your GPU to trim load connected your CPU.
  • Kill nan process to unit it to restart utilizing nan Task Manager, aliases restart your PC.
  • Check your machine for malware. Some types of malware are known to origin issues pinch Desktop Window Manager.

Those are each bully places to start.

If you effort to extremity nan Desktop WIndow Manager process Windows will show an highly ominous warning: "Ending this process will origin Windows to go unstable aliases unopen down, causing you to suffer immoderate information hasn't been saved. Are you judge you want to continue?"

So, we went up and ended it anyway. The desktop flickered once, nan process instantly restarted itself, nary applications crashed, and thing caught connected fire. Generally speaking you should workout be aware ending Windows processes, nevertheless this is 1 that tin beautiful safely beryllium killed (to unit a restart) without concern.

Windows telling you (incorrectly) that nan world will extremity if you unopen down nan Desktop Window Manager process.

Is nan Desktop Window Manager Process a Virus?

The Desktop Window Manager process itself is an charismatic Windows component. While it's imaginable that a microorganism has replaced nan existent process pinch an executable of its own, it's very unlikely. If you'd for illustration to beryllium sure, you tin cheque retired nan underlying record location of nan process. In Task Manager, right-click nan Desktop Window Manager process and take nan "Open File Location" option.

The right-click paper successful Task Manager allows you to

If nan record is stored successful your "C:\Windows\System32" folder, past you tin beryllium reasonably definite you are not dealing pinch a virus.

Dwm.exe noted successful nan System32 folder.

That said, if you still want a small much bid of mind, you tin ever scan for viruses utilizing your preferred microorganism scanner. You tin besides transcript nan executable and tally it done an online work for illustration VirusTotal. Better safe than sorry!

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