Desktop Window Manager (DWM, previously Desktop Compositing Engine or DCE) is the window manager in Windows Vista, Windows 7 and Windows 8 that enables the use of hardware acceleration to render the graphical user interface of Windows.
It was originally created to enable portions of the new "Windows Aero" user experience, which allowed for effects such as transparency, 3D window switching and more. It is also included with Windows Server 2008, but requires the "Desktop Experience" feature and compatible graphics drivers to be installed.
... First introduced in Windows Vista, the Desktop Window Manager (DWM) in Windows 7 has been updated to use version 10.1 of Direct3D API, and its performance has been ... The Desktop Window Manager still requires at least a Direct3D 9-capable video card (supported with new D3D10_FEATURE_LEVEL_9_n device type introduced with the Direct3D 11 ... With a video driver conforming to Windows Display Driver Model v1.1, DXGI kernel in Windows 7 provides 2D hardware acceleration to APIs such as GDI, Direct2D and DirectWrite (though ...
... Premium editions of Windows Vista include a redesigned user interface and visual style, named Windows Aero (Authentic, Energetic, Reflective and Open) ... intended to be cleaner and more aesthetically pleasing than previous Windows versions, including glass-like transparencies and window animations ... Windows Aero also features a new default font (Segoe UI) with a slightly larger size, a streamlined style for wizards, and a change in the tone and phrasing of most of the dialogs and control ...
... In Windows Vista, DWM requires compatible physical or virtual hardware A GPU that supports the Windows Display Driver Model (WDDM) Direct3D 9 support Pixel Shader 2.0 support ... Windows 8 has the same requirements as 7, but it can also run DWM using the "Microsoft Basic Display Adapter", which uses software rendering ... In addition, Windows Virtual PC allows composition using the Remote Desktop Protocol ...
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—Lao-Tzu (6th century B.C.)