What Is dwm.exe In Task Manager And Why It uses So Much Memory?

What is dwm.exe In Task Manager And Why It uses So Much Memory?

Dwm.exe (Previously known as Desktop Composting engine Or DCE) desktop windows manager  is a windows system file and mainly to enhances the use of hardware acceleration  to perform graphical user interface of windows operating system such as 3D elements, aero glass preview, control themes, live window thumbnail preview and icons.

How it works? Dwm is composting windows manager and each program has its window image. The data of this image is stored in memory and then composits  final image of all the windows on the screen before sending it to monitor.The prominent advantage of this approach in windows Vista is to use hardware acceleration feature in video card for visual effects like minimizing and restoring. To add video card with your windows Dwm. Video card should have the following features:

  • 32 bit per pixel support
  • Direct x 9 support
  • Pixel shader 2.0 support
  • A video card GPU that support WDDM

What about memory utilization?

To see the dwm.exe process, open up task manager and will show how much memory is eaten by dwm.exe process. It should be around 30 to 50 MB.

dwm memory usage windows

Memory Size usage vary, Dwm process uses more memory depends upon how many program windows are opened. It is because each window need some memory for content storage.The major benefit of  windows manager is to use very small amount of memory in most of the cases.

Does Dwm turn off by switching to vista basic theme ?

Switching to vista basic theme does not switch Dwm process off  but helps to reduce memory usage to greater extend.

dwm switch to vista

To switch vista. Right click on the desktop a dialogue box open choose personalize and then windows color and Appearance.

How to switch vista


Click on the classic appearance properties.

classic appearance in dwm


Choose Windows Vista Basic and then click on Apply

windows vista basic in dwm


Caution: Only Shown how to select Basic Theme.

How To Turn dwm.exe off ?

It is not recommended to turn off the Dwm process unless you play games in full screen mode. It does not increase speed by just turning it off .To quit the Dwm process. Go to control panel or Start Menu and find “Desktop Window Manager Session Manager” then click on the stop button. By stopping Dwm process you will be directly taken to Vista Basic theme.

stop dwm process


To disable permanently double click on on the item and opt  Disabled from the “Startup type” drop-down:

disable dwm permanently


Dwm process can be stopped through command prompt service by using the below mentioned commands

Stop Service                                              net stop uxsms
Start Service                                              net start uxsms
Disable Service                                         sc config uxsms start= disabled
Enable Service                                           sc config uxsms start= auto

Conclusion: You got what the process is, do you still want to stop it.

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Javeed Ahmad

Javeed Ahmad is CEO and Founder of mobilegeeknaut. He likes to write articles about the latest gadgets and technology.

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