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Sometimes this dialog box will pop up (see screenshot below). Every time it appears I select "Keep the current color scheme, and don't show this message again". Windows then reminds me again -- either the next day or after reboot, or sometimes another 5 minutes later.

Do you want to change the color scheme to improve performance?

Do you want to change the color scheme to improve performance?

Windows has detected your computer's performance is slow. This could be because there are not enough resources to run the Windows Aero color scheme. To improve performance, try changing the color scheme to Windows 7 Basic. Any change you make will be in effect until the next time you log on to Windows

  • Change the color scheme to Windows 7 Basic
  • Keep the current color scheme, but ask me again if my computer continues to perform slowly
  • Keep the current color scheme, and don't show this message again

Is there some reason why Windows is ignoring/forgetting my attempts to suppress the dialog? I'd love to never ever see it again, it's annoying, and it alt-tabs me out of fullscreen applications.

If it matters, I'm running Windows 7 x64 Professional. I believe the dialog appears because I'm forcing Vsync and Triple Buffering for DirectX applications.

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Are you by any chance using NXclient from NoMachine? If yes, then just disable DirectDraw in session configuration. – dtoubelis Nov 23 '11 at 4:11
Nope @dtoubelis, in my case it appeared when I was running Just Cause 2. Good advice for anyone using NXClient though =) – William Lawn Stewart Nov 30 '11 at 10:57
@FakeName give a try, right click My Computer on the desktop, select Properties>Advanced System Settings. Under the "Advanced" tab, click the Settings radio button under "Performance" and either select a custom scheme, or, Click the button for Adjust for best appearance or Adjust for best performance and click "Apply". – avirk Nov 3 '12 at 12:38 check out that link and try out the .bat files to run the games. – avirk Nov 3 '12 at 14:49
Have you tried switching Vsync off? See this article. – harrymc Nov 5 '12 at 8:51
up vote 72 down vote accepted

Assuming you realize this message is informing you your system is low on resources and is asking you to disable Aero so it can keep performing at optimum speed,

  1. Go to the Start Menu and type Action Center on the Search box
  2. Start it (it should be the top entry, under the "Control Panel" group)
  3. On the left sidebar, click Change Action Center settings
  4. Untick the Windows Troubleshooting checkbox, under "Maintenance Messages".
  5. Click the Ok button and you are done.

Here is a screenshot of the setting screen:


  • You can try and keep this setting just as it is and switch to Basic desktop mode before launching the applications that usually fire up this Action Center notification. Or,
  • You can right click the icons you use to fire up these full screen applications, clicking properties and under the Compatibility tab tick Disable desktop composition. This will disable the Desktop Window Manager Session Manager service during execution of this application which will increase system and video memory and avoid some application incompatibilities. A likely cause for your Action Center message if you have enough system and video memory but are stuill getting this message with certain games or full screen applications.
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Worth being mentioned just bad hardware device driver messages that will no longer be displayed. Ã rare occurrence if you don't make changes to your hardware or always download drivers from reliable sources. – A Dwarf Jul 25 '11 at 0:13
@will hmm, I am not sure this answer is correct. I do not have "Windows Troubleshooting" checked and I keep getting nagged with this dialog. – Jeff Atwood Nov 21 '11 at 23:42
@ADwarf I do prefer your answer personally, but possibly desktop composition is the better option to suggest first, since it solves the underlying problem, rather than suppressing the message. You're right though, your answer does mention that as well. – William Lawn Stewart Nov 30 '11 at 23:26
Answer for french windows 7 version because it is not very well translated: Panneau de configuration/Système et sécurité/Centre de maintenance/Modifier les paramètres du Centre de maintenance(Left menu). – Doomsday Dec 18 '11 at 20:36
This doesn't work. I have it unchecked. – user2867288 Dec 6 '15 at 4:22
up vote 25 down vote

I'm constantly in a similar situation even though I never get that exact same message, and have done a bit of testing around.

To my understanding, the core resource that is under stress here, is the GPU memory. But this doesn't necessarily indicate that you're running out of this resource in general. It might just mean the Desktop Window Manager has detected that you're running so low that one specific feature of this service could be disabled to free up more memory.

To test this, I started opening up GPU memory intensive applications:

enter image description here

This is somewhat above average use on my triple-screen setup with a few key players running (Visual Studio 2012 (hardware acceleration enabled), PhpStorm, Aptana Studio, Chrome, Firefox, IE, ...). So, yeah, if you only have a 1 GB card and this would be your usual usage scenario, you'd already have a problem.

I had to push a bit further and start a couple more Visual Studio instances...

enter image description here
enter image description here

...until it was nearing the 1.5 GB mark and...

enter image description here

SNAP! This caused Windows to kill desktop compositing completely (and free up some precious resources).

Now, when I'm already at a critical level, and I start an application that uses excessive amounts of GPU memory in fullscreen, I can even go beyond this critical limit. Here's the result after running Black Mesa for a while on 2560x1440 at max details:

enter image description here

So, two things can be deducted from this. While going over the 75% mark on the desktop can force Windows to disable desktop composition, when reaching the same limit in a fullscreen application (and, optionally exiting that application) desktop composition is not disabled.
The second thing is, while you're in your game, you can get the idea "Hey, I have enough resources to run this game, why don't I have enough resources for the desktop?". The reason is, both require memory at the same time.

Windows might only be able to tell you about the memory situation after you exited the game. So, when I start another Visual Studio after exiting Black Mesa... enter image description here

So, what can we do about this?

Get more GPU memory

Sweet and simple.

Disable Desktop Composition (per process)

As was already suggested, you can disable desktop composition for a single executable. This has the effect that desktop composition is temporarily disabled while the executable is being executed. This drastically reduced the overall memory consumption while the application is executed in my tests:
enter image description here

The bounty notice mentions that this is undesirable, as this is potentially a lot of work.

Disable Desktop Composition (globally)

I wouldn't consider this a solution as desktop composition is usually desired. But this is where to disable it:

enter image description here

I just want to get rid of the annoying message!

Just because you remove the warning "Your battery is almost empty! You can only talk for 10 more minutes!" does not mean you can talk for longer than 10 minutes. In fact, your phone will most likely simply shut off and that's it. Now how's that for an improvement?

I never assumed the message can be turned off and I don't see how that could be considered a benefit.

You might think you know better, but you don't. If the system is telling you it's running out of resources, it is.

But it isn't! I know!

Ok, let's assume Windows is just not smart enough to detect the special situation you're in and the warning message is simply an annoying inconvenience. What now?

The thing is, me personally, I'm also affected by this and it's annoying the hell out of me. Because I don't even get that warning message. Windows simply switches my color profile and that's it. And I like that actually.

When it happens I usually quickly run a script that calls

net stop uxsms & net start uxsms

Here is the full script. It will pop open a UAC prompt and restart the service so it can be triggered from anywhere. I have it pinned to the start menu.

@if (1==1) @if(1==0) @ELSE
>nul 2>&1 "%SYSTEMROOT%\system32\cacls.exe" "%SYSTEMROOT%\system32\config\system"||(
    cscript //E:JScript //nologo "%~f0"
    @goto :EOF
NET STOP uxsms
@goto :EOF
@end @ELSE
ShA=new ActiveXObject("Shell.Application")
ShA.ShellExecute("cmd.exe","/c \""+WScript.ScriptFullName+"\"","","runas",5);

This restarts the Desktop Window Manager and brings me back to my composited desktop (and it frees up lots of resources in the process, yay).

Knowing this, you can also construct yourself a special gaming environment where you stop the service before starting the game to combat this whole behavior. However, this will cause identical behavior to disabling desktop composition for a single executable through the file properties.

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The issue (for me, at least), is that while I may be running low on memory, everything is still performing fine, and if I click "Don't change anything" the game AND dwm.exe perform perfectly fine. So No, I don't want a tweak that reduces my memory udace, I want to make JUTS THE DIALOG go away. – Fake Name Nov 4 '12 at 9:26
If I run into a situation in the future where I actually do need the additional video memory that's used by the desktop composition engine, I'll fix that then. However, at this point, I don't need that memory back. – Fake Name Nov 4 '12 at 9:27
I mean, the dialog has exactly what I want as one of the button options, but that button doesn't work. Keep the current color scheme, and don't show this message again. – Fake Name Nov 4 '12 at 9:29
All great points but... I have a system with two ATI Radeon HD 5450 cards and the only thing I'm running is iTunes & Chrome - and I'm getting this. That makes no sense. – David Thielen Jul 7 '13 at 15:26
"I never assumed the message can be turned off and I don't see how that could be considered a benefit." - Because this message pops up often when playing video games, pulling me out of the game (which sometimes isn't paused) just to disable this message once again. I don't care that my system is using all its GPU ram (in fact, that's a good thing). I don't care if Windows Aero runs slow while I'm in my game, as long as the game continues to run fine - which it always does. I just want this message to not disrupt my gaming. – BlueRaja - Danny Pflughoeft Nov 14 '13 at 21:21

You are running out of GPU memory. This may be :

  1. A bug in a graphical-intensive program that you are using (such as a game)
  2. A bug in the video driver,
  3. A resource-starved computer.

As you are running Windows 7 x64, the third possibility doesn't probably apply.

For the second possibility, you could update your video driver to the latest version as found on the manufacturer's website.

For the first possibility, if this is always happening when running the same program, then it might have compatibility problems with the Aero theme. To disable Aero while running that application, modify the Properties of its executable to "Disable desktop composition" :

enter image description here

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Is there some reason why Windows is ignoring/forgetting my attempts to suppress the dialog?

No - window should not be displayed again if you answer that, but it happens anyway.

I believe the dialog appears because I'm forcing Vsync and Triple Buffering for DirectX applications.

No, it's not because of that. First of all - Desktop Composition forces system (but not games, they uses DirectX) to work in vertical sync mode and gives you possibility to use nice features like Win+Tab (for example), so disabling it, like many people says, is not a solution, it's method for degrading your system and really bad workaround. Some programs works better with Desktop Composition enabled because of that vsync (like some movie players - it prevents tearing), some works better with Desktop Composition disabled (some window with dot-type borders moves really slow when DC is enabled, also gfx program like old Corel can works much slower), but new programs always works good, so leave Desktop Composition enabled.

For now I recommend to wait until MS releases any fix for that annoying behaviour. For sure do not disable Desktop Composition if you like new Win7 features or Vsync.

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