You should expect Desktop Window Manager to use around 60-100 MB ram; however, many users report that dmw.exe uses hundreds of MBs and often GBs of memory.
But why does desktop window manager use so much ram?
The Desktop Window Manager uses so much RAM on Windows 11 due to a memory leak bug in newer Intel Graphics drivers, and the Visual Effects of Windows 11 set as Let Windows choose what’s best for my computer.
The dwm memory leak happens when the Visual Effects is set to default, and Windows 11 decides what visual effects of applying to your screen. The Desktop Window Manager starts using RAM usually when you start Windows, but it increases the RAM usage with time, which makes users unable to run other processes.
This issue happens on Intel UHD Graphics (for example, Intel UHD Graphics 615 or Intel UHD Graphics 630) on 6th Generation through 10th Generation Intel processors.
Intel has officially fixed the bug; here is how to fix this issue.
How to Fix Desktop Window Manager High RAM Usage (Updated)
In February 2022, Intel finally released the Intel graphics driver 22.214.171.1241, which provides a definite fix for the dwm.exe memory leak on Windows.
To fix the desktop window manager high ram usage:
- Download the driver 126.96.36.1991 (or newer) from Intel’s official website:
- Run the executable file and click on Start Installation:
- Agree with the Intel Software License Agreement.
- Then click on Start to install the new driver, and wait patiently:
- When the installation is finished, reboot your system to apply the changes.
If this solution doesn’t work, you can utilize an Intel Graphics driver older than version 188.8.131.5287 as the driver 184.108.40.20676.
(If you are also having issues with Windows Audio Device Graph Isolation high memory usage, check the article I’ve written about it)
You can also try the fix of turning off Windows visual effects, as explained below.
Turn off Let Windows choose what’s best for my computer
This fix works by turning off an option that lets Windows decide which visual effects to use. It was the go-to fix before Intel released an official fix.
Many users reported fixing the Window Desktop Manager memory leakage issue without changing drivers. The downside to this fix is that it will disable some visual effects on Windows.
To try this fix:
1. Open any folder, right-click on This PC on the left side of the folder, then click on Properties.
2. Click on Advanced System Settings.
3. On the Advanced tab, click on the Settings… button under Performance
4. On the Visual Effects tab, select Custom or select Adjust for best performance if you are okay with having no visual effects. If you select Custom, you can manually choose the visual effects you want on and off.
Restart your PC and check if the memory usage is back to normal.
With Intel finally releasing a solution for the Desktop Windows Manager high memory usage on Windows, you only need to update your Intel graphics driver to version 220.127.116.111.
If this doesn’t work, you can try the past fix of turning off Let Windows choose what’s best for my computer and rolling back to an older Intel driver from early 2020.
If you choose to set your Visual Effects as custom, remember to experiment with the different options until you find the best settings.
Another step you can take to reduce RAM and disk usage on your PC is to remove unused programs and Windows apps. We have an article to tell you how to uninstall multiple programs and Windows apps at once to save time and keep your PC clean.
If you want to free up further memory resources by uninstalling the Intel Graphics Command Center, I’ve written an article on how you can disable it without uninstalling it.