DWM Crashes! Useful Tips and Fixes for Windows 11

In computing, encountering unexpected crashes or errors can be frustrating, particularly when they disrupt your workflow or computing experience. One such issue that Windows 11 users may encounter is a crash related to DWM, also known as the Desktop Window Manager. When this component crashes, it can lead to various symptoms, including sudden logoffs, disruptions in the graphical user interface, or even system instability. In this article, we’ll delve into what dwm.exe is, why it might crash, and potential solutions to address these crashes.

What is DWM.exe?

DWM.exe stands for Desktop Window Manager, and it’s an essential component of the Windows operating system, responsible for managing graphical user interface (GUI) elements like windows, taskbars, and desktop backgrounds. It controls visual effects like transparent windows, window animations, and taskbar thumbnails. DWM helps in rendering everything smoothly on your screen by using hardware acceleration and managing the composition of graphical elements.

Dwm.exe using 100% of the processor when idle
Dwm.exe using 100% of the processor when idle

When DWM crashes, it can lead to various display issues, including frozen screens, graphical glitches, or even automatic logoffs from your Windows session.

Common Symptoms of DWM.exe Problem

  1. Sudden logoffs: Users may find themselves abruptly logged off from their Windows session, accompanied by a message indicating that the session was terminated due to a DWM crash.
  2. Graphical glitches or freezes: When DWM crashes, it can lead to graphical anomalies, such as screen flickering, unresponsive windows, or the disappearance of graphical elements like the taskbar or desktop icons.
  3. Error messages: Users might encounter error messages such as “dwm.exe has stopped working” or “Faulting application name: dwm.exe”.

Why Does DWM Crashes?

Several factors can contribute to DWM.exe crashes in Windows 11:

Software conflicts

Software conflicts between third-party applications and the Desktop Window Manager (DWM) can be a common cause of DWM crashes in Windows systems. These conflicts arise when a third-party software application tries to modify or interact with DWM in a manner that is either incompatible or unsupported by the system.

For example, certain applications may attempt to access DWM to implement custom visual effects or window management features. However, if these attempts are not properly coded or if they conflict with the way DWM operates, it can lead to instability and crashes within DWM.

Moreover, conflicts can also arise when multiple applications compete for resources or attempt to make simultaneous changes to the display environment. For instance, if two applications try to overlay graphics or manipulate window elements concurrently, it can result in conflicts that cause DWM to crash. These conflicts often stem from software that relies heavily on graphics processing, such as video editing software or graphic design tools, as they may place a significant demand on system resources and inadvertently interfere with DWM’s operation. Resolving such conflicts typically involves identifying the problematic software and either updating it to a version that is compatible with DWM or discontinuing its use while running the affected system.

Driver issues

Driver issues are a common culprit behind DWM crashes within the Windows operating system. When graphics drivers become outdated or faulty, they can disrupt the smooth operation of the Desktop Window Manager, resulting in instability and potential crashes. Graphics drivers serve as the bridge between your computer’s hardware and software, facilitating communication to ensure that graphical elements are displayed correctly on your screen.

Keeping graphics drivers up-to-date is crucial for maintaining system stability and compatibility with the latest Windows updates. Updated drivers often include bug fixes, performance improvements, and enhancements that address issues with Desktop Window Manager functionality. By regularly checking for driver updates from the manufacturer, users can mitigate the risk of DWM crashes and ensure optimal performance of their graphical interface.

Failure to address outdated or faulty graphics drivers can lead to persistent DWM crashes, impacting the user experience and productivity. Users experiencing frequent DWM crashes should prioritize updating their graphics drivers as part of the troubleshooting process. Additionally, performing clean installations of graphics drivers or utilizing driver update utilities provided by manufacturers can help resolve compatibility issues and prevent future instances of DWM instability.

Resource constraints

Resource constraints, such as low RAM or high CPU usage, can significantly impact the stability of DWM.exe, the Desktop Window Manager in Windows operating systems. When system resources are insufficient, DWM may struggle to efficiently manage graphical elements on the screen, leading to potential crashes and instability. One common scenario where this occurs is when users run resource-intensive applications or engage in heavy multitasking, placing a heavy burden on the system’s resources.

Low RAM (Random Access Memory) can particularly hinder DWM’s ability to render graphical elements smoothly. When available memory is limited, DWM may encounter difficulties in storing and managing graphical data, resulting in sluggish performance and potential crashes. Similarly, high CPU usage, often caused by intensive tasks or poorly optimized applications, can overwhelm DWM’s processing capabilities, leading to delays in rendering graphical elements and an increased likelihood of crashes.

To mitigate these issues, users can take several steps to optimize system resources and prevent Desktop Window Manager crashes. This includes closing unnecessary applications and background processes to free up RAM and reduce CPU usage. Additionally, upgrading hardware components such as RAM or investing in a more powerful CPU can provide DWM.exe with the necessary resources to operate smoothly, especially when running demanding applications or multitasking extensively. By addressing resource constraints proactively, users can enhance the stability and performance of DWM, minimizing the risk of crashes and ensuring a smoother computing experience.


Malware poses a significant threat to the stability and security of any system, including Windows. Although relatively rare, malware infections specifically targeting system processes like DWM can wreak havoc on your computer’s stability. Malicious software may attempt to exploit vulnerabilities within Desktop Window Manager or other system components to gain unauthorized access, manipulate system resources, or disrupt normal operations. When malware infects this file, it can cause frequent crashes, erratic behavior, or even render the system unusable.

To safeguard against such threats, it’s essential to maintain robust cybersecurity measures. This includes installing reputable antivirus software, keeping it updated regularly, and running routine system scans to detect and remove any potential threats. Additionally, exercising caution when downloading files from the internet, opening email attachments, or clicking on suspicious links can help prevent malware infections from infiltrating your system in the first place. By remaining vigilant and proactive in your cybersecurity practices, you can mitigate the risk of malware-induced PC crashes and ensure the stability and security of your Windows environment.

How to Fix DWM.exe Crashes?

  1. Update Graphics Drivers: Ensure that your graphics drivers are up-to-date by visiting the website of your GPU manufacturer (such as NVIDIA, AMD, or Intel) and downloading the latest drivers compatible with Windows 11.
  2. Check for Windows Updates: Microsoft frequently releases updates and patches to address known issues and improve system stability. Make sure your system is up-to-date by checking for Windows updates regularly.
  3. Troubleshoot Third-Party Software: If you suspect that a specific application is causing crashes, try uninstalling or updating the software to see if the issue resolves. You can also try running the application in compatibility mode or troubleshooting compatibility issues using Windows built-in tools.
  4. Monitor System Resources: Keep an eye on system resource usage using Task Manager and ensure that your system has adequate resources available. Close unnecessary applications or processes consuming excessive CPU, memory, or disk resources.
  5. Run System File Checker (SFC) Scan: Use the System File Checker tool to scan for and repair corrupted system files that may be contributing to DWM crashes. This error involves DWM.exe, we might as well first check the integrity of Windows. The operation method is:

    Press Win+X, select and open “Windows Terminal (Admin)“, enter the following commands respectively, and run:

    sfc /scannow
    Dism /Online /Cleanup-Image /ScanHealth
    Dism /Online /Cleanup-Image /CheckHealth
    Dism /Online /Cleanup-Image /RestoreHealth

    sfc /scannow - Fix DWM crashes
    sfc /scannow – Fix DWM crashes
  6. Use Malware Removal Tools: If you suspect malware may be causing PC crashes, perform a thorough scan of your system using reputable antivirus or anti-malware software. While Loaris Trojan Remover is mentioned, it’s crucial to use trusted security software to avoid further issues.

Loaris Trojan Remover can remove the threat from your PC and repair the system after the attack. It has an advanced scanning mechanism that consists of three different modules that can detect malware in any form. Additionally, you will be able to check up on all suspicious places with the Custom Scan function – it will scan the designated directory in just a minute.

It is important to mention that circumventing virus that blocks the executive files launch requires booting into Safe Mode with Networking. You can download the installer before booting or after it – that will not matter at all.

To boot your PC into the Safe Mode, you must open the Troubleshooting panel. Press Win→Power, and then click on the Restart button while holding the Shift key. After that, you will see the Troubleshooting screen. Go to Startup Settings → Windows 10 Safe Mode with Networking. Press Enter and wait till your system is loading.

Reboot into Safe Mode

Safe Mode in Windows supposes the system loading without certain modules, in particular – the startup programs and a part of Group Policies. This mode is convenient for malware removal since it prevents the launch of programs not listed as systems and nails the majority of restrictions implemented by malware.

When your PC is booted into Safe Mode, launch the Loaris installation file and wait until the program is installed. It may take several minutes. After that, the program will offer you to activate a free trial. This action is recommended since it allows you to use the full functionality of the Trojan Remover. Just enter your email address and receive a free trial code.

Trojan Remover main screen
Trojan Remover Main Screen

When the trial is activated, launch the full scan. It may last for 20-30 minutes, so keep patience. You can use your computer during this operation without any restrictions.

Loaris scan for Malware

After the scan, you will see the list of detected threats. By default, the program designates suitable actions for each detection. In particular, for the trojan virus, it is a removal. However, you can manage these actions by clicking on the label on the right side of the detection if you think some detected items may need a different action.

DWM Virus Removal Process

In conclusion, DWM.exe crashes in Windows 11 can stem from various causes, including software conflicts, driver issues, resource constraints, and malware infections. By following the troubleshooting steps outlined above and maintaining a proactive approach to system maintenance and security, users can mitigate the risk of DWM-related issues and ensure a smoother computing experience on Windows 11.

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