How to Restore Aero Effects if the Windows Desktop Window Manager Crashes

Aero” is the graphical user interface that Microsoft introduced with Windows Vista and Windows 7. It includes many productivity features for managing your windowed desktop environment, but one of the most noticeable features is the glass-like transparency effect that is typically present on the borders of windows.

Aero window effects working properly

At times, the Desktop Window Manager (DWM) service that runs Aero can crash. This can happen for a variety of reasons, but I’ve most frequently seen it when using applications that are not fully compatible with Windows 7, or when undocking my laptop with a full-screen application open.

Error message shown after the Desktop Window Manager has crashed

When the Desktop Window Manager service crashes, you’ll immediately notice that the Aero transparency effects will disappear.

Aero effects are disabled after the Desktop Window Manager service has crashed

You can fix this problem by restarting your computer, but there’s an easy fix to restart the service and re-enable Aero effects.

Restarting the Desktop Window Manager Service

Step 1: Click the Start (Windows) button and type “run” in the search box. Select the “Run” application that appears in the Programs list.

Note: You can also press the Windows Key + R to access the Run dialog.

Step 2: Type services.msc and press enter.

Step 3: Locate the entry for Desktop Window Manager Session Manager, right click it, and select Restart.

That’s it! The Desktop Window Manager service should now have restarted and Aero effects should be re-enabled.

Optional – Restarting DWM via Command Line

You can also restart the Desktop Window Manager via command line, which is useful if you wanted to create a batch script to automatically restart DWM when it crashes.

To restart DWM via command line, open the command prompt (cmd.exe) and type:

net stop uxsms

Followed by:

net start uxsms

This will have the same effect as restarting the DWM service through the Windows Service Manager application.

  • Lone Smith

    it does not work for me

    • Lone Smith

      nm

    • Junjun De Guzman Agir

      Its now working on me too. -________-

  • alex

    I cant find Desktop Window Manager Session Manager on my SERVICES.MSC… WAT TO DO

  • AnoPC

    Thank you. :)
    My explorer.exe crashed (and didn’t reboot, so all Windows features didn’t work). I got it back running with CMD, but Aero also crashed.
    Got it back running again thanks to this post.

  • marie

    I restarted the Desktop Window Manager Services…. when I go into the Control Panel, Personaliztion, then Window Color and Appearance, the color scheme of Windows Aero is not listed – cannot choose that option. My computer was upgraded and this is now missing. There is no option for transparency. The toolbar also does not look like a Vista toolbar, it looks like Windows 98. :( Memory of my computer was upgraded but I am not sure about graphics card. Need to ask him. How can I get the color scheme of Windows Aero back into the listed options??

    • http://www.facebook.com/hemanth.srinivasan.73 Hemanth Srinivasan

      Did you update your video drivers?

  • Vidit

    Thanks man! ITzzz AWSM! The first step worked

  • mehran

    ido every type solution but it doesnt work again please guide me:(((

  • nel

    tnx… its working.. lol

  • Guest

    works but, stop working again after a few seconds :( is there another way? just re-installed my videocard driver but it didnt solve the prob. is there another way?

  • marko

    works but, stop working again after a few seconds :( is there another way? just re-installed my videocard driver but it didnt solve the prob. Someone help me please…..

  • ruddevil

    Very useful tips. Thank you!

  • mrinmoy

    I’ve restarted Windows Desktop Window Manager. but it is not working. so my aero theme is not also working. though i’m using windows 7 but all dialogue boxes look like XP.pls advise

  • syaira norahmad

    thanks! it really works..finally i solve the dwm problem..

  • afnan

    wow..done……thnks

  • Thomas Norris

    You can do the same damn thing in task manager, don’t know why you’re putting the long way on here.

  • raha

    change the theme blindly…it works..thats all