Fix: Desktop Window Manager stopped working and was closed

Desktop Window Manager is for the first time introduced in Windows Vista and it is available in Windows 7 and Windows 8. What is the purpose of Desktop Window Manager? Desktop Window Manager is used to compose the desktop. Through desktop composition, Desktop Window Manager enables visual effects on the desktop and various features including glass window frames, 3-D window transition animations, Windows Flip and Windows Flip3D, and high-resolution support.

The Desktop Window Manager runs as a Windows service and can be enabled or disabled through Services tool. If is not working properly, you will see an error on your Desktop: Desktop Window Manager stopped working and was closed.

This issue occurs on operating systems from Windows Vista to Windows 8. There are different reasons why this error occurs, including a problem with the service, a problem with the operating system, the conflict between files, malware infections, and others.

We created 17 methods which will help you to solve this issue. So, let’s start.

Repair Corrupt System Files

Download and run Restoro to scan for corrupt files from here, if files are found to be corrupt and missing repair them using Restoro in addition to performing the Methods below.

Method 1: Try to rotate the second screen

Are you using more than one monitor? Did you do some changes on the graphics card like changing rotation settings by using graphics card software? If your answer is not for both questions, please read next method. But, if your answer is yes for one or both questions you should continue to read this article. Few users encouraged this issue after they changed second screen rotation to portrait mode. What was the right solution for this problem? You should try to change rotation screen to landscape mode and problems should disappear. After you do this changes, please restart and test your Windows machine.

Method 2: Perform a Clean Boot in Windows

This is one of the best methods how to check is there a conflict between two applications or is there an issue with some application. Clean boot provides booting your Windows without application services or driver services, so it will eliminate suspiciously is there a conflict between Desktop Windows Manager and another application. After you do clean boot, and issue is still there, we are recommending you to check another method, because there is not any conflict between Desktop Windows Manager and another application. If the issue is not there, it means some applications are conflicting with Desktop Windows Manager. How will you know which application is conflicting with Desktop Windows Manager? We recommend you to test one by one application and restart your Windows. You can find more information in links which are included in the text below. Please check instructions how to perform a clean boot on Windows Vista and Windows 7. Also, you can perform a clean boot in Windows 8.

Method 3: Check Desktop Window Manager service

If service is not started, that means application or tool will not work. The same situation is with Desktop Window Manager. In this method, we will show you how to configure Desktop Window Manager service through Service tool. We will show you how to do it on Windows 7 Pro, and the same procedure is compatible with another operating system.

  1. Hold Windows logo and press R
  2. Type services.msc and press Enter to open Services
  3. Navigate to Desktop Window Manager Session Manager Properties service. This service provides Desktop Window Manager startup and maintenance service.
  4. Right click on Desktop Window Manager Session Manager Properties service and choose Properties
  5. Choose General tab
  6. Under Startup type, choose Automatic and then click Start. If the status is already running, click the Stop button and confirm with Yes to stop the service. Restart the service by clicking the Start button.
  1. Click Apply and then OK
  2. Close Services tool
  3. Restart and test your Windows machine

If you do not need Desktop Windows Manager and disabling of this service will not decrease your productivity or make some problems to your work, you can disable Desktop Windows Manager. You will need to follow the procedure above, and instead of choosing Startup type: Automatic, you need to choose Manual.

 Method 4: Change version of graphics card driver

Updating or downgrading graphics driver can be a potential solution for this problem. What will you do depends on your last action? If you updated your graphics card driver and Desktop Window Manager stopped to work, you will need to rollback graphics card driver to the previous version, by following method 2.But, if you did not update your graphics card driver, it is the right time to do it. You can update graphics card driver, by following method 3.

Method 5: Turn of Aero Peek

Aero Peek is here since Windows 7 and it is located on the right side of Taskbar. If you move your mouse to the right side on the Taskbar, Windows will hide all opened applications and documents and it will show your Desktop. In this method, you will need to disable Aero Peek, by following method 1. The procedure is compatible with Windows 7 and Windows 8.

Method 6: Defragment hard disk

If you are using your machine for a long time, files on your hard disk get fragmented which slows down your Windows machine. The best solution for this is to do disk defragmentation using Disk Defragmenter. Disk Defragmenter is integrated into Windows and you can access it using different ways. We will show you one way which is compatible with all operating systems. If you are using SSD (Solid State Drive), please read next method, because SSDs are working in different ways as HDDs, and you do not need to defragment SSDs. We will show you how to defragment a hard disk WD 320 GB SATA II on Windows 7 Pro.

  1. Hold Windows logo and press R
  2. Type dfrgui and press Enter to open Disk Defragmenter
  3. Click Defragment disk
  4. Wait until Windows is finished disk defragmentation
  5. Close Disk Defragmenter tool
  6. Restart and test your Windows machine

Method 7: Perform a System Restore

Implementation of backup and restore strategy is a crucial action for home and business environment. There are different solutions for Windows or data recovery, and one of them is System Restore. What can you with System Restore? If System Restore is enabled on your Windows machine, you can revert the operating system to the previous state when everything worked without any problems. Please note that you can not restore your Windows machine to the previous state if System Restore is turned off. Please read how to perform a System Restore, by following method 17.

Method 8: Run Windows Update

Updating your operating system, drivers and applications are one of the crucial steps you need to do on your Windows machine. Microsoft is using term Patch Tuesday (Update Tuesday) which means that Microsoft releases updates every second or fourth Tuesday of each month. If you are not running Windows update, malware can infect and damage your operating system, software or data because security patches are not installed. In this method, you will need to run Windows Update on your machine. Please read how to run Windows Update, by following method 1.

Method 9: Scan your hard disk for malware

No one likes malware because it is destructive and can be really powerful in destroying operating system, applications, drivers or data. In this method, you will need to scan your hard disk for malware using Malwarebytes. If you do not use Malwarebytes, you will need to download and install it on your Windows machine. Please read how to run Malwarebytes, by following method 10. Also, we are recommending you to scan your hard disk for malware using Avira Antivir or Microsoft Defender. You will find more information how to run Avira Antivir or Microsoft Defender on method 5. After you finished removing malware from your machine, you will need to restart and your Windows machine.

Method 10: Run Check Disk

When your hard disk is not working properly because of file corruption or bad sectors, you should do a check disk. Check disk is a utility which will help you to find bad sectors, and fix them in case there are fixable. You will need to run check disk through Command Prompt by the following method 14. This method is compatible with the operating system from Windows Vista to Windows 7.

Method 11: Run SFC /SCANNOW

System File Checker (SFC) is a command line utility integrated into Windows that checks for system file corruption. In case SFC found some issues with system file corruption, SFC will try to fix them. SFC includes additional commands as SCANNOW. SCANNOW scans integrity of all protected system files and repairs files with problems when possible. In this method, you will need to run SFC /SCANNOW. This method is compatible with the operating system from Windows Vista to Windows 7.

Method 12: Repair Windows installation

Sometimes due to the malware infections, file corruption or something other your Windows installation can be damaged. The best way to fix is it by repairing Windows installation. For this method you will need to reconfigure BIOS or UEFI and boot your Windows from Windows DVD, and after that run Windows repair. The same procedure is compatible with Windows Vista and Windows 8.

Method 13: Update Windows 7 to Service Pack 1

If you are using Windows 7 without SP1, you will need to download and install proper SP1 for your Windows 7. Based on operating system architecture you are using, you will need to download 32-bit or 64-bit SP1.  Windows 7 SP1 is available on Microsoft Download Center. If you are not using Windows 7, please read next method. You can read more information how to update Windows 7 to Service Pack 1, by following method 5.

Method 14: Create new user account

Your user account can be corrupted and one of the problems which can occur is a problem with Desktop Window Manager. You can solve this issue by creating a new account. You do not need to reinstall the operating system to create another user account, you can do it using your current user account. Please note, you will need Administrator privilege because Standard user account is not allowed to create user accounts. Also, you will need to move your data to a new user account. You can read instructions how to create a new user account by following method 14. The procedure is the same or similar on another operating system from Windows Vista to Windows 8.

Method 15: Change version of BIOS or UEFI

We talked so many times about BIOS or UEFI, and if you read our articles, you should know what is the purpose of BIOS or UEFI. In this method, you will need to change the version of your BIOS or UEFI. At first, we are recommending you to update your BIOS or UEFI to the newest version. If that does not solve the issue, please try to downgrade version of BIOS or UEFI. How will you do it? There are a lot of articles which can teach you how to change the version of your BIOS or EUFI. Pleas read instructions how to change version of BIOS or UEFI. Before changing version of BIOS or UEFI, we are recommending you to read the technical documentation of your motherboard.

Method 16: Upgrade operating system

I hope you are not using Windows Vista because it is not anymore supported by Microsoft. So, we are recommending you to upgrade Windows Vista to Windows 7 or newer operating system. Few users solved their problem by upgrading their operating system to a newer version.

Kamil Anwar
Kamil is a certified MCITP, CCNA (W), CCNA (S) and a former British Computer Society Member with over 9 years of experience Configuring, Deploying and Managing Switches, Firewalls and Domain Controllers also an old-school still active on FreeNode.

Expert Tip

Fix: Desktop Window Manager stopped working and was closed

If the issue is with your Computer or a Laptop you should try using Restoro which can scan the repositories and replace corrupt and missing files. This works in most cases, where the issue is originated due to a system corruption. You can download Restoro by clicking the Download button below.

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