DWM.exe (Desktop Window Manager) won't initialize

The desktop window manager won't load at startup, or by manual initialization. This problem started on the first system restart after I installed Asus Smartdoctor and AMD Overdrive. I installed a new asus ATI Radeon HD4890 (and a new power supply) last week, as well as new drivers, but there had been several restarts between those changes and the appearance of the problem. I tried a system restore to the oldest possible date, but that wasn't early enough, I guess. Here's some info:

Version: 6.1.7100 Build 7100
Computer Model: Home built
RAM: 2gb ddr2 1066
Hard Drive: OS is on a 70gb Barracuda, media and stuff is on a 750gb barracuda
Graphics Card: Radeon HD4890 (asus EAH4890)
Antivirus: AVG
Downloaded Beta From: Microsoft
Other OS’s on the Computer: None

Thanks for taking the time to read, and hopefully respond.


Essential Member
Open Task Manager and see if dwm.exe is in the list

Now go to Strati > Run,. and type services.msc.

Look for Desktop Windows manager Session Manager is started an set to Automatic

It is not in the list of processes, though the services window lists its status as "started" and its startup type to "automatic".


Essential Member
Is Aero working OK?

Try executing it by going to C:\Windows\System32\dwm.exe

What's not working?

Aero is not working.

Per the opening post, manual execution isn't working, and it won't load at startup. My taskbar and windowframes aren't transparent, there are no previews of active windows when I hover over an icon on the task bar, and minimization/maximization animation is laggy/choppy.


Essential Member
Go to Start,. Search Programs and Files and type fix in the box,.

Now select fix problems with transparency and other visual effects.

This will bring up they Aero trouble shooter to see if your graphics card can handle it

Problems found:
Desktop Window Manager is disabled


Essential Member
Would you share the solution with us?

Last edited:
"Enable the Desktop Window Manager", which windows thinks it has done. It actually hasn't O_O

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