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How to Fix “Desktop Window Manager High CPU” Error

You must have stumbled upon the Desktop Windows Manager process and asked yourself what it was. In this article, we will demystify this process for you.

What is Desktop Window Manager?

Desktop Window Manager is known by its abbreviated file name dwm.exe. It is a compositing window manager that delivers attractive effects in Windows.

Some of these effects include transparent Windows, live taskbar thumbnails, Flip3D, and high-resolution monitor support. Applications don’t draw their displays directly to your screen. Instead, they write the picture of their window to a particular memory location.

Windows creates one complex view of all the windows on the screen before sending it to your monitor.

Since windows are amalgamating and displaying the contents of each window, it is able to add effects like transparency and window animations when layering the windows for display.

Read Article: How to Download Snapspeed for PC – Free Download for Windows 10

Is dwm.exe A Virus?

The authentic dwm.exe is a component of the official Windows Operating System. In some cases, the original dwm.exe file may be replaced by a virus.

Two well-known viruses bear the same file name: Backdoor: Win32/Cycbot.B, which was discovered by Microsoft, and Suspect-BA!D6D4EFB26195 which was detected by McAfee.

How Do I Ensure That The dmw.Exe Is Not A Virus?


To determine whether the copy of the dwm.exe file is a virus or genuine, follow these steps.

-Press the Win key and the X Key simultaneously to select the Task Manager.
-At the Task Manager, click on the Process tab to view the processes running on your computer.
-Under Processes, look for Desktop Window Manager on the list.
-Then, right-click on it and select Open file location from the drop-down menu.
-Check if the file location is in the C:\Windows\System32 folder. If it is in the location above, then it is not a virus.

Can I Turn Off the Desktop Window Manager?

No, you cannot turn dwm.exe off. Windows Vista could allow you to disable it in order to turn it off. However, from Windows 7 onwards, it is very essential to create a graphical user interface.

The dwm.exe integration in Windows 8 and Windows 10 is more complex than on Windows 7 and Vista. Moreover, Microsoft has advanced the way Desktop Window Manager handles memory, eliminating the need to turn it off.

How Do I Fix The “Desktop Window Manager High CPU” Error?

Desktop Windows Manager should use nominal resources. Under normal circumstances, the dwm.exe process should use 1% of the CPU and about 60MB RAM.

It rarely uses much more than that, and if it does, it usually settles back down to its original usage pretty fast. If you feel the Desktop Window Manager is using up more RAM and CPU resources, than you want to try these solution guidelines:

1. Keep Your System Updated


Your first step to resolve this issue is to update your Windows Operating System. When you update your OS, most problems related to your system are addressed.

Follow these steps to keep your OS up to date:

-Press the Win key, and I key simultaneously.
-Click Update & Security.
-Select Windows Update and then click on Check for updates.
-Windows will start downloading automatically if there are updates available.
-Once the process is complete, restart your computer to install the updates.
-Finally, check if the Desktop Window Manager is rectified.

2. Update Your Computer’s Display Drivers

Updating your computer’s display drivers can help fix the “Desktop Window Manager High CPU” error. Follow these steps to update your machine’s display drivers:

-Press the Win key and the X key simultaneously to access the Device Manager.
-Look for Display adapters and expand.
-Right-click on the video driver and then select Update Driver to kick start the update process.
-Follow the instructions that will show on your screen to complete the process.
-Restart your computer for the changes to take effect.
-Check whether the error has been resolved.

3. Change Performance Options

“Desktop Window Manager High CPU” error can be fixed by changing the performance options of your machine. Follow the elaborate steps below to change the performance options of your computer.

-Open Settings and type of performance in the search box.
-From the search results, find and click on Adjust the appearance and performance of Windows.
-Click on the Visual Effects tab on the Performance Options window.
-From the checklist, check to Adjust for best performance.
-Click Apply and then OK at the bottom of the Performance Options window.
-Reboot your computer for the changes to take effect.
-Check whether the error has been resolved.

4. Run a Full Virus Scan

In certain instances, malware can replace the dwm.exe file causing the “Desktop Window Manager High CPU” error to occur. To check your system for viruses, run a full virus scan.

Using Windows Defender as an example, follow these steps to perform a full virus scan.

-Simultaneously press the Win key, and I key to open the Settings window.
-Locate and click on Update & Security.
-Then, select Windows Security.
-Click on Virus & threat protection under Protection areas.
-After that, click Scan Options and check Full Scan.
-Click Scan Now and wait for the process to complete.
-When the process is complete, it will show if there is any malware. If malware is present, use windows defender to fix it.
-Restart your computer to check whether the error continues.

We now hope that you have enough information about the dwm.exe file. You now know what it is and its role in your machine.

It’s now evident to you that the file can be replaced by a virus in some instances interfering with your CPU performance. There are also other aspects of your computer that can affect the performance of the dwm.exe file.

When you encounter the “Desktop Window Manager High CPU” error, don’t try to remove the file. You can use the guidelines in this article to try to fix the error. Moreover, if you have little understanding of how your computer system functions, seek the help of a more computer literate person.

The bottom line is, ensure your computer system is healthy by keeping the OS, drivers, and antivirus up-to-date.