Instructions on how to use Desktop Window Manager

When you check the Task Manager, you may notice that dwm.exe (Desktop Window Manager) is taking up a lot of resources and wonder what its usage and function are in the system? To put it simply, it is a system process that helps create visual effects such as 3D animations, icons, etc.

Each application in Windows creates and writes its own image to a specific location in memory, which dwm.exe collects and combines all of them into the final desktop image the user sees. Basically, it is an important part of the system’s GUI (Graphical User Interface) display.

Desktop Window Manager - figure 1

What is Dwm.exe (Desktop Window Manager)?

DWM.EXE is a Windows service that manages visual effects such as transparency, desktop icons. This utility also helps display thumbnails of open applications on the Taskbar. It also supports high resolution screens.

If you think Desktop Window Manager reduces system performance, that’s not entirely true. Sure it consumes a lot of resources but in case it constantly takes up more RAM and CPU than usual, it could be due to a number of factors such as viruses, graphics drivers, etc. To help reduce RAM usage and CPU, some of the ways below may help.

Handling Desktop Window Manager high CPU and RAM usage

The first thing that you need to do is check the CPU and RAM usage by Desktop Window Manager:

1. Open Task Manager by pressing key combination CTRL +Alt +Delete.

2. Below tab Windows Processes, you will see Desktop Window Manager.

Desktop Window Manager - figure 2

3. You can check the RAM and CPU usage in the table.

Turn off program effects

You can turn off the system transparency setting, it will reduce the CPU usage of Desktop Window Manager. To turn off the effect perform the following steps:

1.Press Windows key + I to open Settings then click Personalization.

Desktop Window Manager - figure 3

2. Under Personalization, click Colors from the menu on the left.

3. Click the button below to turn off Transparency effects.

Desktop Window Manager - figure 4

Turn off all system visual effects

Another way to reduce CPU usage is to disable all system visual effects, like this:

1. Right click on “This PC” and choose Properties.

2. In the window that appears click on the link Advanced system settings.

Desktop Window Manager - figure 5

3. Switch to tab Advanced tab and click the button Settings below item Performance.

Desktop Window Manager - figure 6

4. Click the “option”Adjust for best performancee”.

Desktop Window Manager - figure 7

5. Click the Apply and OK buttons to save the changes.

Turn off Screensaver

Screensavers are also controlled and managed by Desktop Windows Manager. Maybe the Screensaver is the cause of the high CPU usage. So try disabling Screensaver to check if CPU usage goes down.

To turn off Screensaver, perform the following steps:

1. Enter lock screen settings in the search bar and press Enter to open Lock screen settings.

Desktop Window Manager - figure 8

2. From the Lock screen setting window click on the link Screen saver settings at the bottom.

Desktop Window Manager - figure 9

3. The default screensaver may be enabled on the system.

4. Therefore, you need to turn off screensavers to reduce the CPU usage of DWM.exe. From the screensaver drop-down list, select (None).

Desktop Window Manager - figure 10

5. Click the Apply button and the OK button to save the changes.

Check Driver has been updated

One of the biggest factors slowing down your computer is drivers that are not updated or they are simply corrupted. If your system driver is updated, it will help free up system resources. Therefore, updating the Display drivers may reduce the excessively high CPU usage of Desktop Window Manager.

Check if your computer is using the latest Driver version, if not, update.

Run the Troubleshooter program

The Troubleshooter helps users find the problem then adjust the settings to improve system performance, try running the Troubleshoot program, it can sometimes help:

1. Enter powershell in the search bar then right click Windows PowerShell and choose Run as administrator.

Desktop Window Manager - figure 11

2. Type the following command into PowerShell and press Enter:

msdt.exe -id MaintenanceDiagnostic
Desktop Window Manager - figure 12

3. Window System Maintenance Troubleshooter will appear, click next.

Desktop Window Manager - figure 13

4. If the Troubleshooter finds some problems, click Repair and follow the on-screen instructions to finish the process.

5. Again type the following command into the PowerShell window and press Enter:

msdt.exe /id PerformanceDiagnostic
Desktop Window Manager - figure 14

6. It will open the window Performance Troubleshooter, click next and follow the instructions to finish.

In addition, this may be caused by a virus, so run a full scan of your computer with your virus scanning software.

Hopefully through this article you have understood what Desktop Window Manager is and how it works. Moreover, it consumes very few resources on the system and is an integral part of the system, so you should not make any unnecessary changes. All you need to do is check the usage and if it is consuming a lot, then you can take the measures mentioned above. Hope you are succesful.

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