What is dwm.exe and why is it using so much memory?

Updated: 01/24/2018 by Computer Hope
Microsoft Windows

The dwm.exe file is the Microsoft Windows Desktop Windows Manager and is a valid Windows file that should be running on your computer. It helps manage the visual effects in Windows Vista, and in Windows 7. These effects include the transparent or glass-like appearance, the Flip3D Alt-tab windows switcher, and the rendering of each of the Windows being displayed on your computer.

As more program windows are opened, the memory of this process will increase, sometimes using several megabytes, which is normal.

If you're trying to maximize the performance of your computer, or concerned about how much memory this process is using, we first suggest disabling Windows Aero to see if this has any effect. If after doing this you still want to disable dwm.exe, it can be done by following the steps below.


The steps below only work for Windows Vista and Windows 7. Desktop Windows Manager is not displayed in the Services window on Windows 8 and Windows 10, and therefore cannot be turned off or disabled.

  1. Click Start to open the Start menu.
  2. In the Windows Search box, type services and click the Services link.
  3. In the Services window, locate and double-click Desktop Windows Manager.
  4. In the Desktop Windows Manager window, click Stop to disable the service.
  5. If you want this process never to start when Windows loads, change the Startup type option from Automatic to Disabled.

Additional information