Desktop Window Manager, or dwm.exe, is a lightweight window manager for the Windows System.

While this article will discuss what it does and how to use it, you should not confuse Desktop Window Manager with Windows Management Instrumentation (WMI).

Indeed WMI is used by Microsoft operating systems to provide management capabilities for application deployment and system configuration tasks while Desktop Window Manager is an open source tool that allows you to manage your screen more efficiently.

What Is Desktop Window Manager?

Desktop Window Manager, or better known as dwm.exe is a free and open-source software that provides efficient, keyboard-oriented desktop interface without drawing any unnecessary windows on your screen. It’s considered to be the most lightweight window manager for Windows System.

Rather than displaying all open windows, dwm presents them as part of its template: which means you can use Alt+Tab to cycle through them without changing what you see on your screen or using up valuable workspace with additional taskbar panels.

You might find yourself asking: Can I turn Desktop Window Manager off?

The answer is no, because dwm is the program that controls the look and feel of any windows on your screen! If you want to change anything about how your windows will look and what they’ll do, it’s best to use Desktop Window Manager instead of turning it off.

What If Desktop Window Manager Is Not Running?

If you see that dwm is not running, it means there’s something wrong with your computer system, probably involving some other program on your computer. Desktop Window Manager isn’t affected by any other Windows program, so if it’s not working, you need to figure out what other program isn’t working and solve the problem.

Desktop Window Manager is taking most of my RAM

If you notice that dwm is taking up a lot of your computer’s memory but is running in the background and not doing anything useful: this might be an indication that your Windows system or some other program on your computer is infected. Scan your system by running a virus and malware scan on all of your hard drives and memory, and if you find anything: delete the program!

I keep having system errors with DWM

If you notice some errors related to Desktop Window Manager while using Windows, it’s best to check for any updates released by Microsoft and see if they could be causing the problem.

You might also want to look at some of the other programs running on your computer and see which ones take up the most RAM, as this might give you an idea about what’s causing the errors.

If there are no updates available for you Windows operating system or any of your programs, it could be that Desktop Window Manager is not compatible with your operating system.

Check for updates to your BIOS and if there are no relevant ones you might have to switch to a different version of Windows. If this doesn’t work, you should consider upgrading your CPU, motherboard, RAM or graphics card.

About the Author


Julia is a programmer by day and geek by night. She joined in 2021 after meeting Matt. She writes about softwares and applications.

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