DWM.exe Error & Fix | Why it is running and using high cpu?


DWM.exe stands for desktop window manager and it exists in windows just to bring transparent effects in taskbar and interface known as aero effects or aero themes in Windows Vista, 7 and above. In short you should not be worried as this file is not a virus, spyware or adware, it is considered to be safe as it is inbuilt in the windows and is from Microsoft. However if it is taking more memory and cpu than you think it should then it might slow down your computer.


You must be worried if you see in your task manager that the process is using 100 % or 99 % cpu or memory. If you are curious about how to fix it then here are several fixes for 100 % cpu/memory usage by dwm.exe : –

  • Turn off aero theme and effects and switch to basic theme.
  • Disable the dwm.exe service
  • Permanently disable dwm.exe

So how here is how they are done, step by step :-

  • Turning off aero effects and switching to basic theme

In Windows Vista : –

Right click on desktop, then choose personalize and then Windows Color and Appearance as illustrated below :-

dwm.exe fix

 Then select windows color and appearance as below

dwm.exe error fix

then go to classic appearance and properties as

fixing dwm.exe

then select basic theme and click on apply as below

selecting basic theme to fix dwm.exe

Now lets come to method number 2 i.e. stopping the service, here we go :-

  • How to disable dwm.exe by stopping service

This is an advanced method to disable the service, doing this windows will be automatically switched to basic theme. Here how to do that in two steps :-

  1. Goto control panel and open services from there or press windows + r key together and type services.msc as in below screenshot.
    run service.msc to disable dwm.exe
  2. Find the service in the list named as “Desktop Window Manager Session Manager” and then stop it as described below :
    stopping dwm.exe service


This is method number 3 to fix dwm.exe error, it permanently disable this service and prevents it starting automatically when Window starts.

Actually this is an additional step in the above method, here it is :

  1. Open services by going to control panel or using start + r key (as described in above method).
  2. Find “Desktop Window Manager Session Manager” service from the services list.
  3. Right click on it and change startup type to disabled state as in following screenshot : –
    permanently disable dwm.exe service

This will permanently disable the process and service and you will be switched to basic theme by default.


If you want to avoid all these hassle above then you may use cmd interface to stop or disable service, its just a matter of one command and that you can copy and paste too.

Firstly just open command prompt as administrator then type the following commands :-

To start the service

net start uxsms
 It will start the dwm service if it was already stopped.

To stop the service

net stop uxsms
It will just stop the service but when you restart windows it will also be restarted.

To disable the service

sc config uxsms start= disabled
It will disable permanently the dwm.exe service and prevent it from starting automatically.

To enable the service again

sc config uxsms start= auto
It will bring back the service, require restart.

example screenshot :-

cmd interface to disable dwm.exe

Hope this guide on how to fix dwm.exe high cpu and memory usage helps you in the best way, do not forge to comment, like, follow and share.