How to Solve Desktop Window Manager High CPU Usage “dwm.exe” in Windows PC

Desktop Window Manager or dwm.exe in Windows 10 is a system process responsible, among other things, for managing visual effects on the desktop. Undoubtedly, the application requires some resources to work, but modern desktops and laptops can handle it without any problems. Let’s learn more about this Windows process.

What causes Desktop Window Manager (dwm.exe) to use a high CPU load?

Windows uses the full power of your PC to create visuals, whether you use the standard Windows theme or apply new visual themes to your PC. However, if the dwm.exe process in Windows Task Manager takes a lot of CPU time, it indicates a problem with your hardware or system configuration.

Rather than relying on your graphics card to create visual effects, the CPU is used to create them. If your PC is slightly outdated, this can affect system performance. Higher CPU utilization can lead to higher temperatures and therefore more unstable system performance.

Although malware is not a typical cause of high CPU load by the dwm.exe processors, it cannot be ruled out. It is reported that some malicious programs try to copy the DWM process and therefore remain hidden.

Other reasons for high CPU load with dwm.exe may be outdated drivers or missing Windows system updates, as well as using an internal graphics card (instead of an external one) for visual effects.

How to eliminate the high CPU load of the desktop window manager (dwm.exe)?


Update the graphics driver

  1. Right-click the Windows button and select Device Manager from the list of available options.
  2. Right-click on the adapter and select “Update Driver”.
  3. A new window will appear asking if you want to update the driver manually or automatically.
  4. Select “Search for driver software on my computer”.
  5. Now navigate to the folders where you downloaded the drivers.
  6. Select them, and Windows will install the necessary drivers.
  7. Restart your computer and check if the problem has been resolved.

Changing the default application mode

  1. Press Windows + S to open the search bar.
  2. Enter “Settings” in the dialog box and open the application.
  3. In the settings, open the “Personalization” subcategory.
  4. In the setting, select “Colors” using the navigation menu on the left side of the screen.
  5. Scroll down until you find the option “Select default application mode”.
  6. Select the “Clear” option.
  7. Restart your computer and observe your CPU usage.

Switching the wallpaper or theme

  1. Press Windows + I to launch the Settings app.
  2. Once in Settings, click “Customize.”
  3. Now change the current theme and background image using settings and see if there is a difference.

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. Update your controller firmware.
  2. Check your computer for malware.
  3. Restart explorer.exe.
  4. Disable problematic services.
  5. Remove mdi264.
  6. Disable the Pepper Flash extension in Chrome.
  7. Install old video card drivers.
  8. Adjust the performance settings.

Desktop window manager's high memory consumption problem may be caused by a recent Intel driver bug. To save memory, you should restart your Windows process. Another good solution is to update your drivers with reliable third-party software.

  1. Turn off the screen saver.
  2. Run a performance diagnostic.
  3. Adjust your system for optimal performance.
  4. Switch to the main theme.
  5. Update the display drivers.
  6. Update any installed programs.
  7. Scan your computer with antivirus software.
  8. Troubleshoot in a clean startup state.

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