Desktop Window Manager High CPU Usage: How to Troubleshoot?

Desktop Window Manager is a system process, and it controls the visual effects of the Windows operating system. The dwm.exe is associated with the graphical user interface, and it helps create taskbar thumbnails, transparent windows, and so on. Therefore, you can expect the process to be active in the background, and it should occupy the required resources just like other processes. However, Windows users reported Desktop Window Manager high CPU usage.

Every Windows computer can behave differently, and there can be varying configurations. You might be experiencing the same issue due to 3D window transitions, high-resolution support, or anything similar.

Generally, the Desktop Window Manager process consumes 2 to 3% CPU resources and memory space of up to 100 MB. But, when you are experiencing a Desktop Window Manager high CPU usage, you have to find fixes to this problem. Otherwise, the entire system will slow down, and the applications will start crashing. 

Here’s how to solve the Desktop Window Manager high CPU usage issue.

Changes the Wallpaper and Theme Settings

The same Desktop Window Manager controls the Wallpaper and Theme settings. If they are set to any high resolution, the Desktop Window Manager high CPU usage will be more. 

Here’s how you can minimise the high CPU usage by changing Wallpaper/Theme settings:

  1. Hit the Windows key and click the Settings option.
  2. Select the Personalization option from the Settings window.
  3. It will take you to the background, themes, and other settings. 
  4. Modify them and see if they can reduce the high CPU usage by the Desktop Window Manager.

Deactivate the Screensaver

If you have kept the screensaver option enabled on your desktop, then there are chances for the Desktop Window Manager to use high CPU resources. According to specialists, the screensaver settings can consume too many CPU resources. 

Let’s see how you can disable the screensaver:

  1. Click on the Search icon from the Taskbar. Enter ‘lock screen settings’, and relevant results will show up.
  2. Choose the first result from the list. You should be able to view the lock screen settings of your Windows device.
  3. Scroll down until you can notice Screensaver Settings and click on it.
  4. Ensure that the screensaver is disabled.

Users have reported that there can be a default screensaver with a black background. So, double-check the screensaver settings and observe if the high CPU usage issue still exists.

Update Graphics Drivers

The Desktop Window Manager process might be using high CPU resources due to outdated graphics drivers. In this case, you should update the graphics drivers to their latest version. Check out the graphics driver manufacturer for your windows computer. Then, you have to visit the official support website of the manufacturer and download the latest driver.

For instance, if your Windows device has graphics drivers from NVIDIA, then you have to head toward the official website of NVIDIA drivers. Check if it has released the latest updates for drivers. Additionally, the latest updates are helpful in resolving any kind of bugs. Install them and notice if the Desktop Window Manager high CPU usage issue persists.

Run a Security Scan for Malware

Apart from graphics driver glitches, the presence of nasty malware can also trigger the Desktop Window Manager high CPU usage error. Malware or viruses might be extracting data or making changes in the background, and that’s why the CPU usage might have crossed limits. 

Therefore, you should run a security scan and determine whether any suspicious activity is responsible for this.

  1. Use the keyboard shortcut of Windows+S and type ‘Windows Defender’ in the dialog box.
  2. Click the Windows Defender option from the result.
  3. When the window opens, take a look at the right pane of the screen.
  4. Choose the Full Scan option followed by the Scan option.

Hang on, as this full scan process will take a lot of time to complete. It will search for suspicious files across the device. Therefore, have patience and allow the scan to be complete. 

Put a Stop to Hardware Acceleration for Microsoft Office Applications

Users have claimed that deactivating the hardware acceleration for Microsoft Office products can provide you instant relief from the Desktop Window Manager high CPU usage. 

Here’s how you can disable the hardware acceleration feature for Office products:

  1. Open any Office product and opt for the File option from the top row.
  2. Opt for the Options choice from the left pane of the screen.
  3. When the particular window opens, you have to hit the Advanced option from the left pane.
  4. Scroll down the right pane and locate the heading that says Display. There should be an option that says, ‘Disable hardware graphics acceleration’. Check the box right next to this option.
  5. After that, you can click the Apply button.

Finally, you can reboot your Windows computer and check if this solves the problem.

Run the Performance Troubleshooter

If you are still struggling with the Desktop Window Manager high CPU usage issue, you should try this. Attempt to run the performance troubleshooter, and it can discard bugs associated with graphics settings. 

Here’s what you need to follow:

  1. Click the Windows icon from the Taskbar and type ‘command prompt’. Right-click on Command Prompt and choose the option that says, ‘Run as administrator’.
  2. After entering the Command Prompt window, type in the following command: msdt.exe /id PerformanceDiagnostic.
  3. Opt for the Next option, and the troubleshooter will look into the matter.

Update your Windows System

Pending system updates can seem to be troublesome. Therefore, you should check if there’s any update pending on your Windows device. Otherwise, you might encounter the Desktop Window Manager high CPU usage now and then. 

Go to System Settings and hit the Update & Security section. While in the Windows Update section, click on the option that says, ‘Check for updates’. If Windows finds any updates, then it will load them automatically. Restart your computer and check if it makes any difference to the Desktop Window Manager high CPU usage issue.

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