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What is the dwm.exe Process and Should it be Running? Windows TipsWhat is dwm.exe and is it safe or a virus? Great question being that you’ve probably opened up your Task manger where you’ve seen the process called “dwm.exe” and now you’re wondering what it is.  It’s obviously taking up system memory, and these short initials make it look suspicious.  Here we’ll look at what dwm.exe is and why it’s running.

The Windows process dwm.exe is the Desktop Windows Manager.  Windows uses it to control themes, window effects, taskbar icons, and pretty much anything visually pleasing in the Windows user interface.  There isn’t anything wrong with this process, so don’t worry, it is supposed to be there. You’ll find though that many people will recommend disabling it to increase performance, is this true?

dwm.exe shows up in task manager, what is it?

The Desktop Windows Manager uses a nominal amount of memory so I wouldn’t recommend any drastic action against the process just to save a few K of memory especially considering there are several other things you can do like disabling themes support and going back to the windows classic theme.

If for some reason you decide that you still want to get rid of dwm.exe, I’ll show you how below, but it really isn’t necessary if you ask me.

How To Disable dwm.exe In Windows 7

Step 1

Click the Start Menu and Type services.msc into the search box.  Click the services program that appears on the list.

use the start menu to access services.msc

Step 2

In the services management window, Right-Click Desktop Window Manager, and then Click Properties.

services.msc management window, rigt-click dwm and click properties

Step 3

In the properties window, Click the General tab.  Then under Startup type Select Disabled, and underneath that Click Stop. To finish Click OK.

properties for windows desktop management service

Now you’ll no longer be bothered by dwm.exe.  If you opted to remove it you’ll notice that disabling Desktop Window Manager also disables all Windows themes.  The classic look is for some people, but for most, it’s a little dull.  If you decide you want to revert back, just go back into services.msc and set the startup type to Automatic on Step 3 above.



  1. PJ

    thnx – was wondering what the heck dwm.exe was…

  2. Ben Whitaker

    sufficiently groovy

  3. Christina

    Thank you so much, it was going to slow, and i couldn’t even make a pdf file through In design!

  4. ivan

    thank you so much (party)

    • Steve Krause

      Party? Yes indeed. ;)

  5. Jen

    Mine is using 26,416kb. That doesn’t seem minimal to me. I’m not sure what I have it doing so I’m kind of scared to stop it. Does that amount seem normal or have I got something on I don’t even know I’m running?

  6. thrasis

    Hi Austin :D nice subject…usefull..(if i was read it before that) i had a little problem with that process.. ~i’m running windows 8.1 x64~ i open my task manager and i see that that file dwm.exe was from unknown vendor.. so i decided to delete it.. /windows/system32 after that my half left screen was almost ok, and the other half right was black.. so i redecide to put again on 32, i reboot and the same.. i said f***… after that i thought that i put it on wrong file and i cut-paste it to /windows i reboot again and…… that was the End~~~ after those my computer was on startup booting and then… all black… any suggestions?

  7. ronald voights

    I don’t mind the amount of memory it uses, the problem is that I have to wait at least 1 minute or more. at least one minute…. before I can do anything. everything stops until the dwm stops running. I don’t have vista and my operating system is running windows 7. I have just purchased a new computer (haven’t arrived yet) with windows 8.1. will I have the same problem with this exec?

  8. Rao

    Last week I was trying to install a program and it started creating problems. Whatever I do and did, the message “dwm.exe” stopped working pops up. I disabled it from services and tried to remove it from teh registry even but of no help.

    Can somebody throw some light on this issue?


    • Rao


      In addition to the info I provided in my last mail, these are teh further details

      I upgraded my OS from windows 7 pro to Windows 10 in November 2015

      I had no problems until last week whe I tried to install wavepad sound pro” editor [program using a program that somebody put on the web but aborted it in the middle as it was installing some junk programs

      I ran windows defender in full mode overnight and no virus was found

      I ran ccleaner to clean the the hard disk and no there were no issues

      Th “dwm.exe” stopped running message pops up even when the system is idle

      I apprecite any help in resolving the issue.

      BTW, is there any way thet I can get the system back prior to say, April 1st of this yar so that the registry is clean


  9. cseb1417

    I have windows 10.
    I don’t find Desktop Windows Manager in Services to disable it.
    What to do?????

  10. Harini

    what should we do I we close dmw window

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