Desktop Window Manager dwm.exe High CPU on Windows 11

Dwm.exe helps create a graphical user interface for windows. However, it is associated with high CPU usage.

Desktop Window Manager High CPU usage

Desktop Window Manager or dwm.exe running in the background and causing High CPU Or GPU usage problems on Windows 11? A number of users reported, Is dwm.exe Safe? why is Desktop Window Manager causing 100 CPU usage on Windows 11? Usually, Desktop Window Manager (dwm.exe) is a Microsoft core system file that is responsible for enabling visual effects on your desktop including taskbar thumbnails, transparent windows, etc. It works by enabling the use of hardware acceleration and runs in the background as dwm.exe. It consumes a certain amount of system resources but it can sometimes cause high CPU usage after the Windows 11 update. If you are experiencing Windows 11 High CPU usage problem due to Desktop Window Manager Dwm.exe here are a few solutions to apply.

Dwm.exe is a process in Windows that manages your PC’s graphical user- interface, handles all the work involving graphics and visual effects.

Desktop Window Manager High CPU usage

There are several reasons that cause Desktop Windows Manager high CPU or GPU usage in Windows 11. Outdated display drivers to corrupted system files or Recent intel driver bugs, virus malware infections or bouched Windows updates are common. Update or reinstalling the graphics driver with the latest version is a good solution to apply. Also, scan the Windows system file for errors with the SFC tool that help fix the problem. In addition, make sure the latest Windows updates are installed on your computer and perform a full system scan for viruses or malware infections with the latest updated antivirus.

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Let’s first reboot your computer refreshes the operating system, restart the running process, and clear minor glitches that may stuck running or consume high system resources on Windows 11.

Adjust The System For Best Performance

  •  Press Windows key + R, type sysdm.cpl and click ok to open system properties
  • Move to the Advanced tab, Here under the Performance section, click on Settings,
  • On the next screen make sure you are on the visual effects tab and select the radio button  Adjust for best performance
  • Now, click on Apply and click on OK to save the changes.

windows 11 Adjust for best performance

Install Windows 10 Updates

One of the best fixes to Desktop Windows Manager high CPU usage issues is to Install the latest Windows 11 updates. Microsoft regularly offers Windows updates that ensure overall system stability and enhances the system performance. The latest update also comes with the latest bug fixes that may hit high CPU or GPU usage problems on Windows 11.

Make sure that your Windows operating system, as well as all your installed software, is updated to the latest versions.

  • Press Windows key + I to open Windows 11 settings,
  • Navigate System then hit the check for updates button,
  • If pending updates there allow them to download and install on your computer

windows 11 update install

  • Next on the same window, click on Advanced updates, expand the driver updates and check mark available driver updates list,
  • Also, expand the Windows updates section and check mark if any optional updates are pending there.
  • Finally, click on download and install to get the optional update and driver updates installed on your PC.

Download optional updates

  • After installing the latest driver releases, restart your computer and check if they have any impact on the Dwm.exe process.

Run SFC And DISM Scan

Problems with system files, or system files corrupted due to power interruption, disk drive error, or a malicious program installed you may experience Windows 11 not performing well. Try running the SFC and DISM scan to fix the DWM.exe Windows 11 issues.

SFC utility scan and repair damaged or missing system files automatically

  • Press Windows key + S and type cmd, right-click on the command prompt select run as administrator,
  • Type sfc /scannow and press enter key to execute the command,
  • This will scan all protected system files, and replace corrupted files with a cached copy that is located in a compressed folder at %WinDir%\System32\dllcache
  • Wait for the process to complete, and then close the Command Prompt and restart your PC.

SFC scannow

Note – If SFC scan results found corrupt files but was unable to fix some of them then you need to run the DISM restore health command.

  • Open command prompt as administrator
  • Type the command DISM /Online /Cleanup-Image /restorehealth in the Command Prompt and hit Enter to execute the command.

DISM RestoreHealth Command line

  • Once the process is completed, again run the sfc /scannow command,
  • Once the scanning is complete 100% close the Command Prompt and restarts the PC.

Update display adapters Drivers

This is another effective solution to fix the dwm.exe high CPU usage problem. If you have an older or outdated display driver (Graphics) on your computer you may experience performance issues include high CPU or GPU usage by Desktop Window Manager (DWM.exe). As such, you should ensure you are using the latest graphics drivers.

You can check the manufacturer’s website to ensure you are using the latest drivers.

  • Press Windows key + X and select device manager,
  • Locate and expand Display adapters, right-click your video driver and choose Update Driver.
  • Select Search automatically for drivers and follow on screen instructions.
  • Wait for the update to complete, then restart your PC.

update graphics driver

In addition check the manufacturer’s website for the latest driver releases, as drivers often reach the Windows update system much later.

Disable Hardware Acceleration

Few users mention disable the hardware acceleration helps them fix the problem

  • Press Windows key + R, type regedit and click ok to open the registry editor,
  • Navigate Computer\HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Office\Common
  • Right-click on the Common key, Click on New, and then click on Key and name it Graphics.

Create new DWORD key

  • Right-click on the Graphics Click on the New DWORD (32-bit) value and name it DisableHardwareAcceleration.
  • On the right side, double-click on DisableHardwareAcceleration, and set the Value Data to 1.

Disable Hardware Acceleration

  • Click on OK to save the changes and then close the Registry Editor and restart your PC. This should most probably fix the issue

Scan Your PC For Virus And Malware

Sometimes viruses and malware infections on your system cause high system resource usage including High CPU or GPU. If the above solutions didn’t help, then you should prefer to perform a full system scan with the latest updated antivirus or antimalware application.

The legit dwm.exe process is located in the System32 folder. But if it is located in some other folder, it could well be malware.

  • You can use Windows Security to scan your PC for viruses.
  • If you have a third-party antivirus app on your PC, you can also use that to scan your PC for viruses and malware

Antivirus scan

Dwm.exe is safe or a Virus?

Locate the Desktop Window Manager (dwm.exe) file location if the file is in the C:\Windows\System32 folder then it isn’t a virus. If the file is located in a different folder, it’s malware.

Can I Disable dwm.exe?

Yes, you can disable dwm.exe, But it is not advisable because of its importance to Windows systems.

Did the above solutions help fix Desktop Window Manager or dwm.exe High GPU or CPU Usage problem on Windows 11? Let us know on the comments below.

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