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What is ctfmon.exe?

Ctfmon is a part of Microsoft Office. From the Microsoft Knowledgebase:

What Is the Ctfmon.exe (Ctfmon.exe) File?

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Ctfmon.exe activates the Alternative User Input Text Input Processor
(TIP) and the Microsoft Office Language Bar.

What Does the Ctfmon.exe File Do?

Ctfmon.exe monitors the active windows and provides text input service
support for speech recognition, handwriting recognition, keyboard, translation,
and other alternative user input technologies.

You can read the entire knowledgebase article, which includes instructions
on disabling Ctfmon: What Is CTFMON and What Does It

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47 comments on “ctfmon.exe”

  1. First I want to thank you for your really suitable article. I was interested to the “ctfmon.exe” file because it causes me some troubles using a specific application… I tried to uninstall it using the Microsoft procedure (I just have Office XP installed with Windows ME), but It seems I guessed wrong… The file is already installed and starts on Windows inizializing. How can I definitively uninstall and delete this file? Does exist a possibility that this file may be used by another application (i.e. Norton Utilities)? Thank you for your attention.

  2. I have the same problem and it started recently.
    I tried deleting the actual executable file, it comes back, took it out of registry, it comes back, disabled in MSCONFIG and took the entry off the startup list. It came back. Ran 3 different spyware removal programs, it just keeps coming back. Since this recently started happening, and I never had this problem before, I do believe something in my machine is using it, something my machine picked up recently.

  3. Same thing, and yes it does seem to be causing a lot of problems. So far unable to find any explanation for the nonremoval issue, system unstable since this started running.

  4. Really, its easy to get rid of.

    Control Panel -> Regional and Language Options -> Languages TAB -> Details BUTTON -> Language Bar BUTTON (under “Preferences”)

    Select the “Turn off advanced text services” check box.

  5. I tried to delete the ctfmon.exe by uninstalling the shared office components from the office installed on my mellinium but the ctfmon.exe keeps coming back

  6. Did you look at the knowledgebase article referenced in my article above? It has several answers to scenarios such as you describe.

  7. Thanks for the info Leo. I have finally been able to disable ctfmon.exe which was causing Adwatch to report it as a new registry change every time XP booted. The problem only started after installing SP2, so I guess Bill Gates and Co. decided we need it turned on. I’m not using Office XP or the language bar, so I’m sure I don’t need it turned on.

  8. one of the components ctfmon.exe uses, msctf.dll, seems to be seriously damaged since XP/SP2. because windows tries to start ctfmon.exe for every app and window opened on the system, the crash of ctfmon.exe (with what looks like an invalid address dereference) causes applications to get confused and fail. it’s a major nuisance.

  9. I’m also having problems with Ctfmon.exe. And for those who tendd to take a lax standpoint here, I must protest. I, for 1, scrutinize anything Corp. America claims merely for the fact that their sole motive is to take my wallet.

    RE Ctfmon.exe. If the thing isn’t needed then it should be there. It does take up resources, it may be exploitable and the fact the it keeps coming back is annoying. I found freeware prgm that’s suppose to work. It’s called CTFMON_Kill.exe.

    I’ve tried to microsoft to no avail and I think it’s my design. I’m running W2K and my control panel does not have a “region and language” selection. But when I tried disabling the office xp features it also disabled other features I do want. So as usual when things like this arise with ne. I’ll burry into it, my girlfriend will leave me…again and and finally emerge victorious with some rediculous tail of how I accidentally figured it out. GOOD LUCK OT THERE!


  10. Don’t have any xp office programs period. And I see the ctfmon on my start up in Miscong. How do I get rid of it? Not in my add/remove program either.. It doesn’t show up in adware

  11. My Webroot spyware asks me if I want to install ctfmon.exe every time I boot up. I always click on no, but it is running in Task Manager anyway. When I run a search for ctfmon.exe on my c: drive I get 2 locations, i386 and system 32, but when I add hidden files to the search I also get 2 temporary internet files as well. Are the temporary internet files adware? One is titled ctfmon.exe and the other is titled: ads?client=ca-pub01708…followed by an unending (I can’t find the end without opening the file) string of numbers, letters and characters.

    I think the temp internet files are adware. Have you seen this since the last post of 2/16?

    Will deleting these files be sufficient? Why is the Webroot program not protecting against this? This program is not my choice – this is my work computer. I am also not allowed any administrative tasks on this computer.

    Thanks very much.

  12. Ctfmon.exe showed up in my task manager as well all of a sudden for the first time ever. The only new things I’ve done on this computer was 1. I had to reactive windows after a reformat and 2. I installed the new IE7. I’m thinking it’s related to one of those… please don’t send me a link to Microsoft’s explanation on it…. I’ve read it and they merely state it is part of Office XP which I have never owned, used, tried anything, and they also suggest not removing it…??? hmmm… because it might damage my Office XP??? hmmmm… yeah right…. but they show you how to disable it… whatever… Since I’ve never had Office XP on this system…ever… I searched my computer and registry for ctfmon.exe… found one in the prefetch folder and one in the system/32 folder… deleted ever little one I found…. what do I care if it messes up a program I never had???? We’ll see what happens. I know someone said it seemed safe and they would leave it alone for now… I tend to be a little more on the safe side or paranoid if you prefer and would rather get rid of it knowing I don’t even have the program it’s suppose to be associated with and deal with any issues that may occur from the removal than find out later it was a keylogger or worm or something. After reading this forum I did follow further advice from amwhoam and unregister the other 2 dll’s.

    It seems to me this really needs to be investigated since several people are reporting seeing it show up out of the blue that don’t have or never have had the program it is supposedly associated installed on the computer in question.

  13. Disable it by going to start/control panel/regional and Language options.
    Click the language tab/details/ advanced…
    here check: turn off advanced text service!!!
    Thats it! No registry editing or spyware program..

    enjoy! Frank

  14. Frank, your disable instructions worked great. I saw this language window come up after installing IE7, checked it to make sure english was the setting and that was it. Should have went further. Thanks again. Dan

  15. Hi Dan
    Yes..this feature gets loaded by default after you install ie7. I think also when you install windows for the first time..can be useful if you travel a lot, but also can be accesed manually whenever you need a keyboard or language change. Frank

  16. Dear Frank, thanks so much for your instrs. Have been trying a long time to get rid of that cftmon, but was scared to because of the vague warning given at the Microsoft co. site. And also because monkeying around with the registry, as described above, is not for me. Here all along was your simple fix! Rgds.

  17. Great information Frank – thank you. I have been trying to rid my computer of ctfmon for several days now. (Since installing IE7)

    BTW turning it off in task manager does NO good as it simply turns itself back on repeatedly.

    Disabling it from language options was genious. Thanks again.

  18. I just installed ie7 yesterday and noticed ctfmon.exe running in background. when the language icon for ie7 was at the bottom near the clock, ctfmon.exe was now in the msconfig file. i closed the icon and ctfmon.exe was removed from msconfig but remained running in background in task manager. i noticed that the system was hanging a bit when i logged users off also.

  19. My system is slow and is hanging. am looking for viruses and worm to delete.some say ctfmon.exe is a virus, some say is not harmful.i saw it in msconfig.i want to know if i should delete it or not.

  20. Tried your suggestion, of disabling advanced text services, i’m afraid it made no difference at all ! ctfmon exe is a heavy user of memory and appears to serve no purpose at all, any other ideas on how to disable it? tried three things so far , no luck.
    Help would be appreciated.

  21. Regardless of using Frank’s method, ctfmon.exe is still run on System startup. In order to disable it from startup, type “msconfig” at the Start Menu/Run prompt, go to the Startup tab and unselect ctfmon.exe as a Startup item. This option may only be available to WinXP.

  22. 1) Just asking… does CTFMON.exe does it enable
    keystroke recorders or register entries?

    2) You wouldn’t be related to a Chris Noteboom
    from Grand Rapids would you? lol just curious.

  23. 1) I don’t understand your question. CTFMON has nothing to do with keystroke records. If you mean “registrY entries”, then I’m sure that CTFMON probably has/creates a few.

    2) Nope. At least not without going back MANY generations, to whenever the change in spelling happened. :-)

  24. “Start. Control Panel. Regional and Language Options. Languages TAB. Details BUTTON. Advanced TAB. “Turn off advanced text services” CHECK BOX.”

    That turned it off for me. No problem

  25. Spybot identifies ctfmon as a possible parasite. Some websites say if it is anywhere but in C:\windows\system32 then it is a threat. I ran a search and have the following 3:
    ctfmon Application in C:\windows\system32
    ctfmon Stuffit Encoded file in C:\windows\prefetch
    ctfmon EX_File in C:\windows\I386

    are any of these threats?

  26. C:\Windows\System32
    go in there… search for “ctfmon”
    Delete it, you should never see from it again, if you do… just delete it, new text document inside System32, save as “ctfmon.exe” then whenever it tries to start, it wont start ;)

  27. ctfmon.”txt” is a file included in “Family Keylogger” a program that is considered a virus I think that is what the gentleman below was refering too.

  28. Thanks for the info I disabled it in language bar advanced settings and at the same time always wanted to know how to shut it off since it overides startup configs and readds itself as enabled if already disabled or even not disabled, I personaly have not needed to use this process as of yet and have already shut down numerous services I dont need unless I was on a network which should give me a couple frams per second more in my applications or so I hope.

  29. Using XPpro, the Advanced tab in Language Settings only gives me the option of selecting which languages non-Unicode programs can display. I can then check a box to apply these settings to the currect user and all new users. The box is unchecked. Using CrapCleaner (brilliant!) I can look at the Start up progs and CTFMON is there. Can I simply delete it from the Startup prog list?

  30. I will chance not being erased and hopefully you will answer. I am configuring a System clean up and repair utility and I am not planning on using the anti-virus portion in the suite of utilities. It’s Fixit 8. I was going thru start up programs and services when I was alerted by some portion of the new program to not believe that the ctfmon in services was the real ctfmon. If that is true then is has survived 2 versions of Panda, MS One Care and the Malicious Software tool that comes periodically eithe once or twice a month from MS. Would that detect such a program? It says that the ctfmon I have was installed bt RAIDYS TROGEN and refered me to a Paul Collins Startup kit, on the MS Web site. I don’t know what its doing and I don’t know any more after reading the Paul Collins piece or the thread on this site. It warns me to delete. I suppose this could be a story as well and don’t know how to handle this if at all. Can you explain this for me please? Thanks in any case.

  31. I tried to stop ctfmon from running but when I reached step 5 of microsoft procedures…

    “Microsoft Windows 2000 and Microsoft Windows XP:
    1. Quit all Office…
    5. In the Maint Mode Options box, select Add or Remove Features…”

    …I had no option to Add or Remove Features.

    I always check my task manager to stop programs from running that I don’t need. On 16 Jan 08 I found ctfmon running and stopped it. It restarted repeatedly.

    I went to Microsoft knowledge base and found a procedure to stop it from running but that procedure was wrong in regard to Win XP (see above). I found CTFMON.EXE-0E17969B in windows prefetch created on 16 jan 08, the day I found it running in task manager, while the ctfmon.exe and CTFMON._xe were created on 26 Aug 04 in sytem32 and I386 folders.

    Spysweeper (from microsoft), Spybot S&D and AdAware all ID ctfmon as a problem. What’s up?

    I followed JAGUART’s procedures to stop ctfmon but won’t know if that worked until after restart. Right now the program is not listed in my task manager.

    Michael Polidori
    [email address removed]

  32. I haven’t had Spybot or any other recognize ctfmon as spyware, but I have had several times when Word would not open. “has encountered error” & others. Awhile back I found an article that said to uncheck ctfmon in start up, restart, then recheck, restart. that helped for a few days, then back to same thing. I did as Jaguar suggested, word opens for now, but I’ll wait & see if it solves it in the long run.

  33. Question: What program is running CTF mon?
    This buggy program complains everytime i open a tab. Office not installed so which program is running it?

  34. My computer becomes very slow and when i look in running processes there is he again ctfmon.exe. I
    I remove it from running process and my computer works again. But 20 minutes later he is back and my computer becomes slow again.
    I remove it from the start up and it adds it self back again.
    I am sure its a virus. Help!

  35. Can you help me? Some time ago Spybot came up with a message that “CTFMON.EXE was replaced by CTFMON.exe.
    I rejected the change but my laptop seems to freeze up and locks the keyboard and touch pad. I used to remove the plug and when the battery was low and the low battery message appeared the laptop un-freezed and then I could put the plug back in and work normally on electricity power.
    Now my battery is completely dead and I cannot use the computer as it runs on electric power only and after boot it locks the keyboard and touch pad. It runs on safe mode without problems, but I have no idea what to do to make it run properly.
    Please help.

  36. Amazing how the number of different possible configurations lead to so many different possible solutions. I am running XP Pro, SP3 and MS Office 2007. My problems from CTFMON began suddenly and not after loading anything on my system–it had been stable for months. At first, I could not use most MS applications (IE7, Office 2007). I tried the KB solution as others had suggested but I did not have those particular options/features visible in order to disable them.

    Eventually I had to uninstall/reinstall Office 2007. This allowed me to use MS applications but I still had start up errors with CTFMON. I tried using the Control Panel/Regional Language options solution but kept getting an error message (some Shell and rundll errors) when I attempted to click on the Details button on the Language tab! The only thing that worked for me, at this point at least, was to disable CTFMON in startup. I know that hasn’t worked for everyone, but such are the joys of computing these days! If I ever need to get into those advanced language options, I know I’ll need to work on other solutions but, for now, everything is finally working again.

    Best of luck to all!

  37. I don’t even have MS Office installed (I used Openoffice from the first day of install) but I still have ctfmon.exe running, how is that possible. Currently my XP sp3 runs for a number of hours/days without issues, but applications suddenly start hanging one after the other, so I reboot the moment I see the first hang, and guess what, ctfmon.exe is always hanging. Not sure if it is also hanging for the same reason as the other apps, or if it is the root cause of the OS hang. I will see if uninstalling it will help with the stability and report back.


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