Applies To

Windows Server 2008, Windows Server 2008 R2, Windows Vista, Windows 7



Windows Operating System








The Desktop Window Manager is experiencing heavy resource contention.

Scenario: The Desktop Window Manager responsiveness has degraded.

Desktop composition is performed by the Desktop Window Manager (DWM). Through desktop composition, DWM enables Windows Aero visual effects on the desktop in addition to various features such as glass window frames, 3-D window transition animations, Windows Flip, Windows Flip3D, and high resolution support.

Windows Aero is the graphical user interface and the default theme in most editions of Windows Vista and Windows 7, operating systems. It is also available in Windows

Server 2008/R2, but is not enabled by default. Its name is an acronym for Authentic, Energetic, Reflective, and Open. Intended to be a cleaner, more powerful, more efficient, and more aesthetically pleasing user interface than the previously used theme (Luna), it includes translucency, live thumbnails, live icons, animations, and eye candy.


Event ID 500 is primarily caused by the over use of the graphics subsystem, which is controlled by the Desktop Window Manager (dwm.exe) process. 

This could be related to the following issues:

  •  The graphical display device drivers may not be fully compatible with the Windows Display Driver Model.
  •  The Windows Aero feature may not function correctly if your computer resources are insufficient due to running a high number of background application.

User Action

Check with your graphical display manufacturer for updated device drivers to make sure that you are using device drivers that are certified by Windows Hardware Quality Labs (WHQL).

Run tools such as Task Manager, Process Explorer, and MSINFO32 to gather details about your system and to identify the applications and device drivers that you have installed. Check with your independent hardware vendor (IHV) to ensure that you have the most up-to-date driver for your display adapter.

Additional Resources

Windows Vista Display Driver Model Design Guide - 

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