The dwm.exe process is responsible for a variety of window manager functions within newer versions of Microsoft Windows (Vista, Windows 7, Windows 8). The primary functions it provides are the ability to have transparent windows, visual alt-tabbing, and live taskbar thumbnails.
Since these processes can be memory intensive, this file may display error messages or memory alerts.
Application: Desktop Window Manager
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Possible causes of Dwm.exe errorsThese errors are frequently caused by conflicts with the file or installation profile, misuse of the file or respective directories, or a malicious attack on the system.
- When conflicts arise on the profile or with the file, the application may be unable to transmit data between the necessary files.
- When a file or directory is misused or damaged, the application as a whole may be unable to load.
- Malicious attacks or infections on the system may render the entire system frozen or unable to perform any necessary computing functions.
Is Dwm.exe a dangerous file (virus, malware, spyware)?In most cases, the file is considered to be safe. However, files do become corrupt at times and some malicious files are disguised to represent known, secure system files. When that happens, they can be very difficult to detect and remove, but using a comprehensive system scan usually detects them and allows you to safely remove them.
Known Dwm.exe error messages
- File not found: Dwm.exe
- Cannot find file: Dwm.exe
- Device not recognized missing Dwm.exe file
Should I stop the Dwm.exe task or process within the Task Manager?Unless you have experience managing the processes and tasks on your machine, it is best to allow a system scanner or registry scanner to handle those tasks. Many of the tasks are required for performing specific operations on your machine and removing them may cause your program or entire computer to malfunction or reboot.
Should I download a new copy of the Dwm.exe file?The only time you should ever download a new version of a system file is when it comes through an application update or from the publisher directly. Be very cautious when downloading system files from third-party websites as they may contain additional software that you would install without knowing. This could cause an even larger issue than the error you are getting from this file!
Best way to fix Dwm.exe errorsWhen these errors occur, verify if any new hardware or software has been added. If so, simply removing the new hardware or software may resolve the issue. If not, follow the steps below.
- Scan for any driver updates for new equipment. If new equipment or programs have been loaded, they may require updated drivers. Download new, secure drivers and perform a clean system restart.
- Download and install updates for the operating system. Regardless of the operating system version you are using, it is always considered good practice to install the latest security updates.
- Use anti-virus and anti-malware applications. Most virus scanners will protect your machine from basic threats. To increase your protection, use a malware scanner as well.
More information about Dwm.exe
This process will generally use less than 50,000Kb of memory, but this can vary based on number of running processes and how much RAM is available on your machine.
If you wish to decrease memory usage from this process, you can disable your existing Windows theme and switch to a 'Basic Theme'. This will not completely remove the dwm.exe process, though it will greatly reduce the memory consumption.
UPDATE: Many users are experiencing the "dwm.exe has stopped working" error message. This is happening in new versions of Windows 8 and 8.1. It is a known issue to Microsoft and may not be directly related to a virus infection (though that has not been completely ruled out).
Unless the file has been infected or proven to contain a virus, it is not recommended to disable or remove it. Without this process, you lose the ability to perform certain visual functions within your operating system. Another file that should not be removed and may display higher memory usage is rundll32.exe. Again, if system files become infected, they should be scanned as quickly as possible.