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:

[code lang=”shell”]
net stop uxsms

Followed by:

[code lang=”shell”]
net start uxsms

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






26 responses to “How to Restore Aero Effects if the Windows Desktop Window Manager Crashes”

  1. Lone Smith Avatar
    Lone Smith

    it does not work for me

    1. Junjun De Guzman Agir Avatar
      Junjun De Guzman Agir

      Its now working on me too. -________-

  2. alex Avatar

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

    1. Jeff Huang Avatar
      Jeff Huang

      At the bottom right, when the notification pops up, click it. It should provide a troubleshooter. Run it.

  3. AnoPC Avatar

    Thank you. ๐Ÿ™‚
    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.

  4. marie Avatar

    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. ๐Ÿ™ 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??

    1. Hemanth Srinivasan Avatar

      Did you update your video drivers?

      1. Sukrit Avatar

        Sort of “updated drivers”.
        I installed flux and restarted computer to try more “warmer” colors.

  5. Vidit Avatar

    Thanks man! ITzzz AWSM! The first step worked

  6. mehran Avatar

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

  7. nel Avatar

    tnx… its working.. lol

  8. Guest Avatar

    works but, stop working again after a few seconds ๐Ÿ™ is there another way? just re-installed my videocard driver but it didnt solve the prob. is there another way?

  9. marko Avatar

    works but, stop working again after a few seconds ๐Ÿ™ is there another way? just re-installed my videocard driver but it didnt solve the prob. Someone help me please…..

  10. ruddevil Avatar

    Very useful tips. Thank you!

  11. mrinmoy Avatar

    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

  12. syaira norahmad Avatar
    syaira norahmad

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

  13. afnan Avatar


  14. Thomas Norris Avatar
    Thomas Norris

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

  15. raha Avatar

    change the theme blindly…it works..thats all

  16. pheaktra Avatar

    but it dose not work for me. I have a problem it need video card or update video driver.

  17. warlock87 Avatar

    Old topic, but useful as hell. Thank you!

  18. Jeff Huang Avatar
    Jeff Huang

    Is there a way to make sure it is never disabled?

  19. donny bryant Avatar
    donny bryant

    i get error 5 has occured

    1. aljuv14 Avatar

      same here… antivirus deleted the themes its in the quarantine list.. restore it.

  20. Varun Daga Avatar
    Varun Daga

    Works like a charm

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