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What Is dwm.exe And Why Is It Running?

By on December 22, 2011

You must have often wondered about the functionality of the dwm.exe process. The process, no doubt, takes up most of the memory space; however, before you decide to get rid of it you must understand what it does and whether it should be kept or not.

What Is dwm.exe File?

The dwm.exe is Desktop Window Manager. It is this process that is responsible for amazing effects like live taskbar thumbnails, Flip 3D switcher as well as Transparent Windows, all in Windows Vista.

In Windows Vista the applications are responsible for writing pictures. These pictures need to be written in the places mean for them in the memory. Once this happens, the Window prepares a wholesome view of all the windows that are present on the screen. This is done before the images are transferred to the monitor. At this point, the Vista can add effects while the windows are being layered.

One main advantage of this is that this lets the Windows Vista use the hardware acceleration feature. This feature is part of the video card and is useful for preparing neat and clean images as well as animations. It especially comes in handy when you have to do re-sizing of images.

Memory Usage and dwm.exe

The dwm.exe process is listed in the Task Manager. If you open the Task Manager you will see that the process takes up 30-50MB of memory.

Memory Usage and dwm.exe

The size of the DWM is dependent on the number of windows that have been opened. This means that the more the number of windows opened, the more memory will be used.

Therefore, it is best to use a compositing window manager as it limits the memory use.

Will Using Vista Basic Theme Turn off dwm.exe?

If you switch over to the Vista Basic theme, it will not help you disable the process in any way.

Vista Basic Theme Turn off dwm.exe

However, it will drastically cut down on your memory usage.

How Do You Switch to Vista Basic?

This is easy:

Right click on the desktop and select personalize from the drop down menu. Then select Window Color and Appearance.

select Window Color and Appearance

Click the classic appearance properties button (located at the bottom).

classic appearance

Select Windows Vista basic and click on Apply button.

choose Windows Vista Basic and click the Apply button

How Disable dwm.exe?

It is not recommended that you disable or turn off the process unless you want to play your games in the full screen mode. However, turning off the process will not help fasten the speed of your program.

The only way that you can remove/turn off/disable the dwm.exe process is by disabling the software from running in the first place.

Go to Control Panel and open up Services. Now go to the “Desktop Window Manager Session Manager” and click on the stop button.

How Do I Turn dwm.exe Off

Clicking the stop button will enable the Vista Basic theme. To remove the file permanently, double click the item. In the “Startup type” click on disable.

select Disabled from the “Startup type” drop-down

You can even use command line for executing the dwm.exe file. Select any command prompt by opening the administrator mode. This is permanent deletion, so think carefully before removing the dwm.exe file.

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