Desktop Window Management makes your Windows device appealing with all the visual effects you see on the Operating system. However, for some users, this feature has turned out to become troublesome as it overkills GPU usage.
This is possible if the device is loaded with heavy visual effects and the background process priority for the Desktop Window environment is set high. A bug in the operating system also appears to be contributing to this issue. Taking these factors into account, we will offer some solutions for fixing this problem in this article today.
Table of Contents
What Causes Desktop Window Manager to Use High GPU
Desktop Window Manager (DWM) is a Windows application that handles the function of personalization. The themes you get to see on windows, including the animations, wallpapers, transparent windows, and other such visual elements, are handled by the DWM.
DWM’s executable file
dwm.exe resides in the
windows\system32 directory and runs on the system processes the whole time you use your Windows device. If you see its process in the task manager, you might find its CPU and GPU utilization very high.
- Heavy visual effects
- Malware and Viruses mimicking
- High priority set for
- Issues with Graphic Drivers
- Task Manager reporting wrong GPU utilization data
How to Fix Desktop Window Manager High GPU
It is possible that the GPU usage might be shown high for the DWM due to some temporary glitches in the task manager or the system. Start by restarting the computer and checking if the problem exists as earlier. Also, ensure that a few processes that use DWM are running in the background.
Change Priority for DWM process
You may choose to run the applications on your Windows system with varying priorities. Setting it for a high priority will consume high GPU and CPU resources. It is possible that the Desktop Window Manager is set to a high-priority mode. You can configure it to run low-key from the Task Manager to fix it.
- Press Ctrl + Shift + Esc to launch the Task Manager.
- Go to the Details tab.
dwm.exeand right-click it.
- Go to Set Priority and select Normal.
Configure the Visual Effects
It is no wonder that if your device is running with high visual effects, it will consume a greater proportion of the GPUs capacity. This might be the reason that you are seeing a high GPU utilization by
dwm.exe. You can configure the visual effects and tone them down for best performance and lower GPU usage.
- Press Windows Key + R, type
sysdm.cpl, and hit enter.
- Go to the Advanced tab.
- Go to Settings, under the Performance section.
- Choose the Adjust for best Performance option.
- Click on Apply to save changes.
Turn off Transparency Effects
This effect makes the start menu, taskbar, and windows transparent to enhance the aesthetics of the Windows OS. However, it is also using a lot of system resources through Desktop Window Management. As reported by some users, disabling the transparency effects resolved this issue for them. Here’s how you too can disable it.
- Press Windows + I to launch the Settings.
- Go to Personalization > Colors.
- Click on the Transparency effects slider to turn off the feature.
Disable Hardware Acceleration
If you have hardware acceleration enabled, the DWM might get to utilize the excess of the GPU resources. The hardware acceleration feature consumes a higher proportion of GPU and extracts much from the CPU as well. To disable it,
- Press Windows Key + I to open up settings.
- Go to System > Display > Graphics.
- Under Default Settings, select the Change Default graphic settings.
- Click on the slider to disable the Hardware-accelerated GPU scheduling.
- Restart the computer to apply the changes.
Decrease Power Limit Throttling
If the heavy visual settings are incorporated into the Windows, which is a graphically intensive task, it can add stress to the GPU and ultimately result in throttling. To resolve this, you can decrease the Power throttling using the CPU tuning application.
In the case of Intel CPUs with Integrated GPUs, you can use the Intel Extreme Tuning Utility to control the Power Limit Throttling.
- Download the Intel Extreme Tuning Utility and install it.
- Launch the application, and go to the Advanced Tuning section.
- Drag the slider of the Turbo Boost Short Power Max to match the value of the Turbo Boost Power Max.
- Click on the Apply button to save the changes.
Note: You can also control the power level throttling by undervolting the CPU or GPU . However, undervolting can cause the system to crash if not performed correctly. Therefore, it is recommended to undervolt the components with extreme caution and precision.
Update/Rollback the Graphic Drivers
If the Graphic card drivers are outdated or have some issues with them, it can generate such problems. Updating the drivers works most of the time. You can update the drivers from the Device manager or manually install the latest ones from the GPU manufacturers.
- Press Windows Key + X and click on Device Manager.
- Click on Display Adapters to expand the list of GPU drivers.
- Right-click on the Graphic card and click on Update Driver.
- You will now have two options to choose from. Select the Search Automatically for drivers to make the Windows itself search for the drivers in the device.
- If you choose to Browse my Computer for drivers, select Let me pick from the list of available drivers.
- Follow the prompts and update the graphic drivers to their latest version.
You can also manually install the updates by downloading the installers from the manufacturer’s website. You can check out this article which deals with updating the graphic drivers on Windows.
If you have been experiencing this issue after updating the graphic drivers, you can even roll back to the previous stable version of the driver.
- Right-click on the Graphic driver and select Properties.
- Go to the Driver tab.
- Click on Roll back driver. This option will be greyed out if there is no roll-back possible for the selected driver.
- Restart the computer once the driver gets reverted to the previous version.
Scan for Malware
Malware is well known to hog the system resources for some unauthorized tasks without the user’s approval or knowledge. It is possible that malware has disguised its process as the Desktop Window Manager and raised the GPU utilization index.
Therefore, it’s ideal for running a malware scan to remove any sort of troublemakers from the system.
- Press Windows Key + X, type windowsdefender://threat/ and hit enter.
- Click on the Scan options.
- Choose Full Scan option and Click on Scan now button to start the process.
Perform windows update
This issue of the DWM using a high GPU can very well be due to the issues in the operating system. It is also seen that on the latest builds of Windows 10 and 11, this problem seems to have been fixed. In order to update the Windows,
- Press Windows + R to launch Run.
- Type control update and hit enter.
- Click on Check for Updates.
- If it finds new updates, Click on Install now button.
- After the update is completed, boot the device and check if the issue persists.