Desktop Window Manager High GPU: Fix It in 5 Quick Ways

Dwm.exe GPU usage is highly dependent on your graphics drivers

by Cesar Cadenas
Cesar Cadenas
Cesar Cadenas
Cesar has been writing for and about technology going on for 6 years when he first started writing tech articles for his university paper. Since then, his passion... read more
Reviewed by Vlad Turiceanu
Vlad Turiceanu
Vlad Turiceanu
Passionate about technology, Windows, and everything that has a power button, he spent most of his time developing new skills and learning more about the tech world. Coming... read more
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  • Desktop Windows Manager high GPU issues can affect Windows 10 as well as Windows 11 PCs.
  • To start fixing it, you will need to update the graphics drivers and make sure there are no hardware problems.
  • Modifying the personalization settings can also help you stop the high GPU usage of dwm.exe.
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Desktop Windows Manager (also known as DWM.exe) is the system manager that renders your computer’s user interface by utilizing the graphics card onto your monitor.

It enables all of the visual effects that appear, like transparent windows, animations, thumbnails, themes, wallpapers, you name it. It’s all done by DWM.

Some users have encountered issues as a message pops up saying that their GPU memory is full, which can cause a lot of stress and confusion. However, DWM has the habit of using a lot of your GPU, sometimes even 100% of GPU, although this happens rarely.

Why is Desktop Windows Manager taking up so much GPU?

Here are a few of the most common reasons that trigger the Desktop Windows Manager high GPU issue:

  • Problem with your hardware: Dwm.exe can usually use a lot of GPU memory if there’s a problem with your hardware.
  • The GPU driver hasn’t updated: Chances are the graphics driver is faulty or outdated.
  • Latest Windows update isn’t installed: Latest Windows updates not only bring new features but also fix the bugs that cause multiple issues, such as the one at hand.
  • Corrupt system files: System files are responsible for the smooth functioning of your PC, and if they are corrupt or missing, then they can cause issues.
  • Misconfigured graphics settings: You should check if your Nvidia or AMD graphics settings aren’t misconfigured.

How to stop Desktop Windows Manager from using all my GPU?

In this article

1. Update drivers

1.1 For Windows 10 PC

  1. Open the Start menu by pressing the Win key.
  2. Type Device Manager and open it.
  3. Expand Display adapters section.
  4. Right-click on the GPU and select Update driver.
  5. Select Search automatically for drivers.
  6. The drivers will automatically be installed.

1.2 For Windows 11 PC

  1. Open the Start menu by pressing the Win key.
  2. the Device Manager in the search bar and open it.
  3. Expand the Display adapters section.
  4. Right-click on your GPU and select Update drivers.
  5. Choose Search automatically for drivers to update.

If you want to avoid following the above-mentioned steps, and also keep your PC’s drivers updated constantly, using specialized software like DriverFix can do the trick.

DriverFix will not only keep all of your drivers up to date with just a few clicks, but it will also help you schedule scans, create driver backups, acts as a downloaded manager, and much more.


Rely on a dedicated driver manager for secure driver operations and low GPU usage.

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2. Turn off visual effects

2.1 For Windows 10

  1. Press the Windows key to open the Start menu.
  2. Type performance of Windows and open it.
  3. Select Adjust for best performance.
  4. Click on Apply and OK.

A handy method to fix Desktop Windows Manager consuming a lot of GPU is to turn off all visual effects. This should ensure that your PC works more smoothly. The process for doing this in Windows 10 and 11 is the same.

2.2 For Windows 11

  1. Press the Windows key to open the Start menu.
  2. Type Adjust the appearance and performance of Windows and open it.adjust-performance-w11 windows 10 random shutdown
  3. Select Adjust for best performance and click OK.adjuns-performance windows 10 random shutdown
  4. Check whether the issue is gone.

3. Change personalization

  1. On your desktop, right-click anywhere and select Personalize. The process is the same for Windows 10 and 11, but the guide will focus on Windows 11 for brevity.
  2. Click on Background.
  3. In the Personalize your background drop-down, select Solid color.
  4. Select a color to serve as your background. (Doesn’t matter which, so long as the background doesn’t have a graphic that will increase GPU consumption.)
  5. You can also create your own custom color.
  6. Back in the Personalization menu, select Colors.
  7. Turn off Transparency effects.
  8. Go back to the Personalization menu, and select Themes.
  9. Select either Windows (Light) or Windows (Dark).

4. Disable the Fast Startup feature

  1. Open the Start menu by pressing the Win button.
  2. Type Control Panel and open it.
  3. Ensure that either Large Icons or Small Icons are in the View by.
  4. Click on Category and make the change to either Icon choice.
  5. Select Power Options.
  6. Click Choose what power buttons do on the left pane.
  7. Click Change settings that are currently unavailable.
  8. Under Shutdown settings, click Turn on fast startup (recommended) and Hibernate to turn them off.
  9. Open the Start menu and open System Configuration.
  10. Click the Services tab.
  11. Click Hide all Microsoft services.
  12. Hit the Disable all button.
  13. Restart your computer.

5. Turn OFF Hardware accelerated GPU Scheduling

  1. Press the Win key to open the Start menu.
  2. Type Display Settings and open it.
  3. Click on Graphics.
  4. Click on Change default graphics settings.
  5. Toggle off the Hardware-accelerated GPU scheduling option.
  6. Restart your PC.

Expert tip:


Some PC issues are hard to tackle, especially when it comes to corrupted repositories or missing Windows files. If you are having troubles fixing an error, your system may be partially broken.
We recommend installing Restoro, a tool that will scan your machine and identify what the fault is.
Click here to download and start repairing.

This solution was suggested by one of our readers and said to have fixed the Desktop Window Manager high GPU issue. You can also try this and check if this fixes the problem or not.

One solution that wasn’t touched upon for Desktop Windows Manager is using antivirus software. In certain situations, malware may cause DWM suddenly using more resources.

Antivirus software is a great way to get rid of that malware and set everything back to normal. Most software that works for Windows 10 also works for Windows 11.

Other GPU problems may be due to high internal temperatures. Normal temperatures range from 149 to 185 degrees Fahrenheit (65 to 85 degrees Celsius) but go slightly higher during intense gaming sessions.

Prolonged high temperatures can cause permanent damage to your GPU, so it’s recommended that you be aware of how hot it gets.

Conversely, there are solutions for low GPU usage and high CPU usage. It’s a mismatched problem that can be caused by bottlenecking, but not always.

From this strange discrepancy, you may have to deal with frame drops or your processor overheating. This problem may be caused by out-of-date drivers or certain apps getting in the way.

Feel free to comment below if you have questions about other Windows 11 apps. Also, leave comments about guides you’d like to see or information on other Windows 11 features or list guides like this.

Still having issues? Fix them with this tool:


If the advices above haven't solved your issue, your PC may experience deeper Windows problems. We recommend downloading this PC Repair tool (rated Great on to easily address them. After installation, simply click the Start Scan button and then press on Repair All.

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