What is dwm.exe?

The .exe extension on a filename indicates an executable file. Executable files may, in some cases, harm your computer. Therefore, please read below to decide for yourself whether the dwm.exe on your computer is a Trojan that you should remove, or whether it is a file belonging to the Windows operating system or to a trusted application.

Click to Run a Free Scan for dwm.exe related errors

Dwm.exe file information

Windows Task Manager with dwm
Dwm.exe process in Windows Task Manager

The process known as Desktop Window Manager or Gestionnaire de fenêtres du Bureau or Manager de ferestre desktop or Administrador de ventanas del escritorio or Desktopfenster-Manager or Microsoft .NET ClickOnce Launch Utility

belongs to software Microsoft Windows Operating System or GSoft or Système d’exploitation Microsoft Windows or Microsoft .NET Framework or Sistem de operare Microsoft Windows or Sistema operativo Microsoft Windows or Betriebssystem Microsoft Windows

by Microsoft (

Description: The original dwm.exe from Microsoft is an important part of Windows, but often causes problems. Dwm.exe is located in the C:\Windows\System32 folder. Known file sizes on Windows 10/8/7/XP are 81,920 bytes (40% of all occurrences), 92,672 bytes and 14 more variants. 
Dwm.exe is a Windows core system file. The program has no visible window. The dwm.exe file is a trustworthy file from Microsoft. It can change the behavior of other programs or manipulate other programs. Therefore the technical security rating is 20% dangerous, however you should also read the user reviews.

Recommended: Identify dwm.exe related errors

Viruses with the same file name

Is dwm.exe a virus? No, it is not. The true dwm.exe file is a safe Microsoft Windows system process, called "Desktop Window Manager". However, writers of malware programs, such as viruses, worms, and Trojans deliberately give their processes the same file name to escape detection. Viruses with the same file name are for example not-a-virus:RiskTool.Win64.BitCoinMiner.ts or Trojan-Downloader.Win32.Agent.fjqt (detected by Kaspersky), and Bitcoinminer or Trojan.Gen.2 (detected by Symantec).
To ensure that no rogue dwm.exe is running on your PC, click here to run a Free Malware Scan.

How to recognize suspicious variants?

Important: Some malware disguises itself as dwm.exe, particularly when not located in the C:\Windows\System32 folder. Therefore, you should check the dwm.exe process on your PC to see if it is a threat. We recommend Security Task Manager for verifying your computer's security. This was one of the Top Download Picks of The Washington Post and PC World.


User Comments

it is malicious in my laptop have its root somewhere but take host in appdata/temp/msupdates
Dwm.exe is used for transparent window borders and window animations on Windows Vista and newer. If you think dwm.exe is a virus, try ending it with task manager. If you get opaque windows then it's the real thing. But if your windows remain transparent, then it could be a virus. If you dwm.exe on Windows XP, then it's probably a virus.
dwm.exe is needed for Vista and above because we can have all those Aero effects we see until today. However,sometimes it may (sometimes) affect your computer's performance.
Can be virus or not, Virus can be any process, you need to investigate about it
This file is completely fine... If you think it's taking too many resources on your computer then do: Hold Start+R (Start = the Flag on your keyboard) then type "tskill dwm" without the speachmarks.
  Clix   (further information)
Runs Aero in Vista/7 and Aero Lite in Win8.
It pretty much just handles the graphics as from what I know. Your cpu can rest once it's disabled.
WVista, W8 system process - It's used to create all those Aero effects (transparent windows, etc.). To turn off just rightclick your desktop, select personalize and switch to style which doesn't use Aero. Can cause problems on scrap-quality computers.
  ATL   (further information)
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Rating chart

Summary: Average user rating of dwm.exe: based on 277 votes with 9 reviews. 176 users think dwm.exe is essential for Windows or an installed application. 17 users think it's probably harmless. 34 users think it's neither essential nor dangerous. 8 users suspect danger. 42 users think dwm.exe is dangerous and recommend removing it. 12 users don't grade dwm.exe ("not sure about it").

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Best practices for resolving dwm issues

A clean and tidy computer is the key requirement for avoiding problems with dwm. This means running a scan for malware, cleaning your hard drive using 1cleanmgr and 2sfc /scannow, 3uninstalling programs that you no longer need, checking for Autostart programs (using 4msconfig) and enabling Windows' 5Automatic Update. Always remember to perform periodic backups, or at least to set restore points.

Should you experience an actual problem, try to recall the last thing you did, or the last thing you installed before the problem appeared for the first time. Use the 6resmon command to identify the processes that are causing your problem. Even for serious problems, rather than reinstalling Windows, you are better off repairing of your installation or, for Windows 8 and later versions, executing the 7DISM.exe /Online /Cleanup-image /Restorehealth command. This allows you to repair the operating system without losing data.

To help you analyze the dwm.exe process on your computer, the following programs have proven to be helpful: ASecurity Task Manager displays all running Windows tasks, including embedded hidden processes, such as keyboard and browser monitoring or Autostart entries. A unique security risk rating indicates the likelihood of the process being potential spyware, malware or a Trojan. BMalwarebytes Anti-Malware detects and removes sleeping spyware, adware, Trojans, keyloggers, malware and trackers from your hard drive.

Other processes

dwm.exe [all]