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Fix Desktop Window Manager High CPU (DWM.exe)

Desktop Window Manager High CPU Usage? The Desktop Window Manager is basically responsible for managing the visual effects of the desktop. When it comes to the latest Windows 10, it manages high-resolution support, 3D animation, and everything. This process keeps on running in the background and consumes a certain amount of CPU usage. Nevertheless, there are some users who experienced high CPU usage from this service. However, there are several conditions of the system configuration that cause this high CPU usage. In this article, we will walk you through some methods to fix the Desktop Window Manager High CPU usage issue.

Fix Desktop Window Manager (DWM.exe) High CPU

What this DWM.EXE does?

DWM.EXE is a Windows service that allows Windows in filling visual effects like transparency and desktop icons. This utility also helps in displaying live thumbnails when the user uses various Windows components. This service is also used when users connect their high-resolution external displays.

Is there a way to disable DWM.EXE?

In the old operating system like Windows XP & Windows Vista, there was an easy way of turning off the visual services of your system. But, modern Windows OS have very intensively integrated visual service within your OS which cannot be run without Desktop Window Manager.

From Windows 7 till Windows 10, there are various visual effects which use this DWM service for better user interface and pretty effects; hence there is no way to disable this service. This is an integral part of your OS and a crucial part in rendering the GUI (Graphical User Interface).

Fix Desktop Window Manager High CPU (DWM.exe)

Make sure to create a restore point just in case something goes wrong.

Method 1 – Change Theme/Wallpaper

Desktop Window Manager manages your visual effects which also includes wallpaper and its theme. Therefore, it could be possible that your current theme settings are causing high CPU usage. Therefore, the first way to fix this problem is to start with changing the theme and wallpaper.

Step 1 – Press Windows Key + I to open Settings then click on Personalization.

Select Personalization from window Settings

Step 2 – From the left-hand menu click on Background. 

Step 3 – Here you need to change your current theme & wallpaper and then check whether you’re able to Fix Desktop Window Manager High CPU (DWM.exe) usage issue or not.

Change your current theme and wallpaper | Fix Desktop Window Manager (DWM.exe) High CPU

Method 2 – Disable Screensaver

Your screensaver is also controlled and managed by the Desktop Windows manager. It has been noted that in the latest updates of the Windows 10, many users reported that screensaver settings are consuming high CPU usage. Thus, in this method, we will try to disable the screensaver to check whether CPU usage is reduced or not.

Step 1 – Type lock screen settings in the Windows search bar and open lock screen setting.

Type lock screen settings in the Windows search bar and open it

Step 2 – Now from the Lock screen setting window, click on Screen saver settings link at the bottom.

At the bottom of the screen navigate Screensaver Settings option

Step 3 – It could be possible that the default screensaver is activated on your system. Many users reported that there was screensaver with a black background image which was already activated but they never realized that it was a screensaver. 

Step 4 – Therefore, you need to disable the screensaver to fix the Desktop Window Manager High CPU usage (DWM.exe). From the screen saver drop-down select (None).

Disable screensaver in Windows 10 to fix Desktop Window Manager (DWM.exe) High CPU

Step 5 – Click Apply followed by OK to save changes.

Method 3 – Malware Scanning

If you are experiencing this problem, it could be due to the malware issue on your device. If your PC is infected with some malware or virus then the malware could run some scripts in the background causing a problem for your system’s programs. Therefore, it is recommended to run a full system virus scan.

Step 1 – Type Windows Defender in Windows Search bar and open it.

Type Windows Defender in Windows Search bar | Fix Desktop Window Manager High CPU (DWM.exe)

Step 2 – Once it is open, from the right pane you will notice the Scan option. Here you will get some options – full scan, custom scan, and quick scan. You need to choose the full scan option. It will take some time to completely scan your system.

Step 3 – Once the scanning is complete, reboot your system to check whether the Desktop Window Manager High CPU (DWM.exe) usage is solved or not.

Method 4 – Delete Specific Applications

If the above-mentioned solutions did not work, you can try this method. It is important to ensure that you check which application is causing trouble for your device. Some of the applications are OneDrive, SitePoint, and Dropbox. You can try deleting or temporarily disabling Onedrive, SitePoint or some of these applications to fix Desktop Window Manager High CPU (DWM.exe) usage.

Click on Uninstall under Microsoft OneDrive | Fix Desktop Window Manager High CPU (DWM.exe)

Method 5 – Disabling Hardware Acceleration for MS Office products

Some users reported that they solved this problem by simply disabling Hardware Acceleration for MS Office products. Hardware acceleration feature is used by Windows to perform various functions more efficiently.

Step 1 – Open any MS Office product (PowerPoint, MS Office, etc) and click File option from the left corner.

Open any MS Office product and click File option on the left corner

Step 2 – Under the File menu, you need to scroll down to choose Options.

Step 3 – Once the new Window Pane open, you need to click on the Advanced option. Once you click on it, on the right side you will get multiple options, here you need to locate Display option. Here you need to checkmark the option “Disable hardware graphics acceleration”. Now save all the settings.

Click on the Advanced option. Locate Display option and check option “Disable hardware graphics acceleration”

Step 4 – Next, restart/reboot your system to apply the changes.

Method 6 – Change Default App Mode

The latest Windows update comes with some advanced features. You will get the option to change the default app mode in two available options: Dark and Light. It is also one of the causes of High CPU usage in Windows 10.

Step 1 – Press Windows Key + I to open Settings then click on Personalization.

Step 2 – From the left-hand window click on Colors under Personalization.

Step 3 – Scroll down to the bottom of the screen until you locate Choose your default app mode heading.

Under the personalization category, select the colors option

Step 4 – Here you need to choose the Light option.

Step 5  – Restart your computer to apply the settings.

Method 7 – Run the Performance Troubleshooter

1.Type powershell in the Windows Search then right-click on Windows PowerShell and select Run as administrator.

powershell right click run as administrator

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

msdt.exe -id MaintenanceDiagnostic

Type msdt.exe -id MaintenanceDiagnostic in PowerShell

3.This will open System Maintenance Troubleshooter, click Next.

This will open System Maintenance Troubleshooter, click Next | Fix Desktop Window Manager High CPU (DWM.exe)

4.If some problem is found, then make sure to click Repair and follow on-screen instructions to finish the process.

5.Again type the following command in PowerShell window and hit Enter:

msdt.exe /id PerformanceDiagnostic

Type msdt.exe /id PerformanceDiagnostic in PowerShell

6.This will open Performance Troubleshooter, simply click Next and follow the on-screen instructions to finish.

This will open Performance Troubleshooter, simply click Next | Fix Desktop Window Manager High CPU (DWM.exe)

Method 8 – Update Graphics Card Driver

Manually Update Graphics Drivers using Device Manager

1.Press Windows Key + R then type devmgmt.msc and hit enter to open Device Manager.

devmgmt.msc device manager

2.Next, expand Display adapters and right-click on your Graphics Card and select Enable.

right-click on your Nvidia Graphic Card and select Enable

3.Once you have done this again right-click on your graphics card and select “Update Driver“.

update driver software in display adapters | Fix Desktop Window Manager High CPU (DWM.exe)

4.Select “Search automatically for updated driver software” and let it finish the process.

search automatically for updated driver software

5.If the above steps were helpful in fixing the issue then very good, if not then continue.

6.Again right-click on your graphics card and select “Update Driver” but this time on the next screen select “Browse my computer for driver software.

browse my computer for driver software

7.Now select “Let me pick from a list of available drivers on my computer.”

Let me pick from a list of available drivers on my computer | Fix Desktop Window Manager High CPU (DWM.exe)

8.Finally, select the latest driver from the list and click Next.

9.Let the above process finish and restart your PC to save changes.

Follow the same steps for the integrated graphics card (which is Intel in this case) to update its drivers. See if you’re able to Fix Desktop Window Manager High CPU (DWM.exe) Issue, if not then continue with the next step.

Automatically Update Graphics Drivers from Manufacturer Website

1.Press Windows Key + R and in the dialog box type “dxdiag” and hit enter.

dxdiag command

2.After that search for the display tab (there will be two display tabs one for the integrated graphics card and another one will be of Nvidia’s) click on the display tab and find out your graphics card.

DiretX diagnostic tool

3.Now go to the Nvidia driver download website and enter the product details which we just find out.

4.Search your drivers after inputting the information, click Agree and download the drivers.

NVIDIA driver downloads | Fix Desktop Window Manager High CPU (DWM.exe)

5.After successful download, install the driver and you have successfully updated your Nvidia drivers manually.

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I hope this article was helpful and you can now easily Fix Desktop Window Manager High CPU (DWM.exe) usage, but if you still have any questions regarding this tutorial then feel free to ask them in the comment’s section.

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Aditya Farrad

Aditya is a self-motivated information technology professional and has been a technology writer for the last 7 years. He covers Internet services, mobile, Windows, software, and How-to guides.

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