dwm.exe leaking memory RRS feed

  • Question

  • Hello,

    dwm.exe on my vista box keeps increasing in size, so I keep killing it.

    Not sure if thier is a memory leak with this exe or what.

    Anyone else?


    Monday, June 4, 2007 10:53 PM

All replies

  • Mine gets big and fat too.  Oddly, memory consumption can be huge (150MB) with no apps open on the desktop at all.

    Thursday, June 7, 2007 6:02 AM
  • Oh yeah, me too. Happens every day for no particular reason (that I have been able to observe so far).


    Another VisDUH bug hole?


    After a while, it seems Visduh just slows down like win95 style resources were running out.


    just like the good ole days. awful.



    Anybody got any ideas  (other than going back to XP, which isn't an option on this particular machine, unfortunately).


    Friday, September 21, 2007 6:43 AM
  • Hi


    I had this problem, too. After new setup my notebook it was gone so far... but don't know if it's gone completely.


    Friday, September 21, 2007 5:55 PM


    The DWM has surfaces for all windows opened on the desktop.  These can quickly add up to a lot of memory.  Generally these surfaces are all in video  ram but he video driver allocates system memory to back surfaces.  Running at 1024 by 768 by 32bit a full screen window takes 3 megabytes for 1600 by 1200 its 7 MB.  The DWM also has 3 surfaces the size of the desktop.  The sidebar, the desktop, and the task bar are all also windows represented this way. 


    How many windows do you have open and what resolution do you run?  I am running a dual-mon setup each at 1600 by 1200 with about 10 app window open.  The DWM is using about 124 MB out of my 2GB. 




    Tuesday, September 25, 2007 12:14 AM
  • 150 MB is quite normal for dwm.exe. I also am a large multitasker, while coding, I use a memory hogging VisualStudio2005, notepad, Macromedia Dreamweaver,StyleEditors, MS office 2007 (generally just outlook) , 3 Web browsers opened at once each with at least 3 or  4 tabs opened,  Media Player playing a movie as i work. So yeah I am a heavy user. But also with areo you get Flip3d which is always running and other various tools. So dwm needs to keep track of where all these apps are and what they are doing to be able to give you that compositing desktop. If you have n apps open and it is 150MB then check your windows update. Im pretty sure there were major memory leaks in the early releases but updates should fix these.

    dwm.exe should also store its data in the graphics cards memory by default. Anything less than 256 will give you lagging performace. But this does not effect the size of dwm.exe size.

    Greg also mentioned the res of your screen. I also use dual monitor, 1 at 1650 x 1080 and the other at 1024 x 800. With just 1 gig of memory and 256 on the nVidea it works fine but windows does lag a bit. I have never seen it really ever go over 150 most of the time it sits aound 28 to 49 mb.

    Wednesday, September 26, 2007 1:34 PM
  • Mine was right at the moment 294 Mb, I guess I am the winner! In fact, I rarely switch off my windows, instead, I leave it fall asleep for fast restart and I guess dwm.exe keeps all infos from previous sessions. But if you wanna reduce its size you right click on dwm.exe and "terminate process". It will automatically restart dwm with the lowest memory consumption (then of course, it will grow back soon).


    Sunday, May 4, 2008 9:01 AM
  • My DWM.exe has gone up to 512 Mb and other programs then get affected. e.g. Images on Buttons in programs appear as blank, Images on webpages stop working (e.g. Firefox)
    I kill dwm.exe and it goes back to 57 MB and everything works OK again.

    Is this a problem with Vista (i.e. memory leak on DWM) or some other program?

    Monday, July 27, 2009 5:19 PM
  • Hi Gerry,

    I have had problems with DWM.exe too.  I am running Window Blinds, Skin Studio, Vue 7, Apophysis, PSP and some other fun stuff here - all of which use a lot of memory.  I have 4 GB of ram so memory is not an issue for my 3.0 Ghz dual core computer (soon to be updgraded). 

    However, I was previously getting an error message saying that dwm.exe failed and the desktop would fade and lock up when it happened.  I've spent a lot of time on this particular issue and found only a couple of things that probably contributed to it.  I checked every single driver on this machine and found one that was out of date.  The driver for the PCI bridge needed to be updated.  Clearly, this could have been a major factor in the failures and things seemed to improve once that driver was updated but the problem was not completely cured.  I would also make sure that Windows is set to automatically set the size of the paging file.  If it is set for a specific limit, that could also add to the problem.  

    My video card died (XFX Nvidia 8600 GT with 256 MB ram) amid the fireworks on the Fourth of July.  I never liked that card so it was an appropriate, timely death.  :-)  My new video card is a BFG Nvidia GTX 260 with 896 MB of DDR3 ram. That, along with the updated driver, has made a huge difference.  The only thing I see now is the error showing when I check the Reliability Monitor.  My system runs perfectly all the time. I usually have the system in sleep mode while I am at work so the "error" seems to occur when the system comes out of sleep mode.  I do not get the error on days when I shut the system down completely.  No idea if there is a cure for that so my solution is to quit worrying about it.  I sure hope this isn't an issue with Windows 7. 

    Update:  Possible Solution
    I went back over the logs and the problem reports.  In March there were five unexpected shutdowns due to unexpected thunderstorms.  I now have a UPS to prevent this from happening again.  After posting this morning, I used Diskeeper to defrag the boot file and the master table file.  After several anxious moments of staring at a black screen, my system came up again and no more problems.  No more dwm.exe errors and my system boots a bit faster.  The boot file and master table files must be defragged before windows loads.  They cannot be defragged using the normal defrag mode in windows. 
    • Proposed as answer by Cameochi Sunday, September 13, 2009 9:00 AM
    Saturday, September 12, 2009 1:10 PM