• December 5, 2023

What if the dwm.exe process is loading Windows 10 at 20-30?

Dwm.exe is a desktop window manager and can run in the background. It belongs to the graphical part of the interface and is responsible for handling various visual effects when using the Windows interface. Unfortunately, many users complain that the dwm.exe file in Task Manager is using too much CPU resources. In some cases, up to 30% of the total volume can be spent on its work. As a result, the performance of other applications and games drops dramatically.

  dwm.exe on Windows 10

Why is dwm.exe overloading the system?

In other words, high CPU utilization by dwm.exe typically occurs when you are performing graphics-intensive tasks on your computer, such as playing video games or watching high-definition video. However, given that the program is responsible for these processes, everything is quite logical. But the increased load on the processor often leads users to suspect that the PC is infected with malware.

The problem is that checking the system with a good antivirus does not detect threats. If you notice such activity, do not panic, because the dwm.exe process is rarely associated with a computer infection. Like any other Windows file, dwm.exe can be damaged for various reasons, the most common of which are:

  • third-party antivirus;
  • Explorer.exe process
  • problematic Windows services;
  • process mdi264.dll;
  • video card drivers.

As always, there is no one-size-fits-all solution, as all computers have different configurations, and PC problems can arise for several reasons. Sometimes they are difficult to identify and there are many troubleshooting steps to be taken.

Solution 1: disable your antivirus and temporarily stop Windows Firewall

Windows Firewall, third-party antivirus, and Windows services tend to conflict quite often, so it is recommended that you disable the first two programs.

  1. Press Ctrl + Alt + Esc to open the Task Manager.
  2. Find your antivirus under the Services tab, right-click it and select End Task.
  3. Then find the antivirus icon in the toolbar, right-click and select Disable.
  4. Right-click on the Start button and select the Control Panel section.
  5. In the window that opens, go to the Windows Firewall section and disable the defender.
  6. Enter the administrator password if required and click OK.
  7. Then turn off Windows Firewall on both the private and public network.
  8. Click OK to save your changes and close everything.

  dwm.exe on Windows 10

Solution 2: restart Windows Explorer process


  1. Press Ctrl + Shift + Esc and open the Task Manager, go to the Processes tab.
  2. Right click on Windows Explorer and select Restart.

  dwm.exe on Windows 10

Solution 3: check the mdi264.dll process

If you find that the mdi264.dll file starts a process in the Task Manager, it may be the culprit for the dwm.exe error. To fix this, you must remove the virus by following these steps:

  1. Enter cmd in Windows search;
  2. Right click on Command Prompt and select Run as administrator;
  3. Type the following command and press Enter (note: replace [имя пользователя] to a name in the system);
  4. C: cd Users [имя пользователя] AppData Local Temp del mdi264.dll.

  dwm.exe on Windows 10

Then close everything and restart your computer. Check the process mdi264.dll.

Solution 4: perform a clean boot

You should try to boot the system without programs:

  1. Press Windows + R and enter msconfig.
  2. In the System Configuration window, click the Services tab.
  3. Select the Do not display Microsoft services check box and select Disable all.

  dwm.exe on Windows 10

  1. Open the Startup tab and click Open Task Manager.
  2. Click each startup item and select Disable.

  dwm.exe on Windows 10

  1. Close the task manager.
  2. Go to the Boot tab (in System Configuration), select Safe Mode and click Apply and OK.
  3. A clean boot will help you isolate the software or services that are causing the dwm.exe error.

  dwm.exe on Windows 10

Solution 5: update or reinstall GPU drivers

Sometimes the dwm.exe error occurs after updating the system drivers. In this case, it may turn out that the new version of Nvidia is incompatible with your operating system, so it is recommended to install an earlier one.

  1. Right-click on the Start button and select Device Manager.
  2. Expand the Video adapters section and right-click the Nvidia driver.
  3. Select “Update driver” and “Search automatically for updated drivers.”
  4. Wait for the drivers to install and reboot.

  dwm.exe on Windows 10

Device Manager is far from the best choice for driver updates, especially when it comes to GPU elements (often failing to determine if they are out of date). Thus, you must either visit the manufacturer’s website and install the latest software based on your model, or use an automatic download using specialized programs.

Solution 6: select “High performance for dwm.exe” in the graphics settings

Keep in mind that the following solution can be applied to any GPU intensive application:

  1. Right-click on Start and select Settings.
  2. Go to the System section.
  3. On the right side, scroll down until you find Graphics Settings and select them.
  4. Under Graphics Performance Options, click Browse and select dwm.exe from the path C: Windows System32.
  5. Click Options, select High Performance and Save.

These solutions should be enough to fix the dwm.exe issue on any operating system.

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