HomeTechnologyNewsWhat is ctfmon.exe and why is it running?

What is ctfmon.exe and why is it running?

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Jason Fitzpatrick / Instructional Geek

Windows uses Ctfmon.exe, or CTF Loader, to handle input via speech, tablet or handwriting, or input from certain languages ​​(such as Japanese or Mandarin). In Windows 11, it is linked to all text input. Ctfmon.exe should not be disabled as it will prevent certain parts of Windows from working.

Ctfmon.exe, or CTF Loader, has been around in Windows forever. You can end it in Task Manager, but it keeps showing up. Here’s what you’re doing on your Windows 10 or Windows 11 PC.

What is ctfmon.exe?

The exact function of ctfmon.exe, sometimes called CTF Loader, varies a bit between Windows 10 and Windows 11. We’ve broken it down by operating system.

Note: Ctfmon.exe will show up as “CTF Loader” in the Processes tab of Task Manager, but as “ctfmon.exe” if you look at the Details tab. They are the same thing.

What does Ctfmon.exe do in Windows 10?

Ctfmon.exe is the Microsoft process that handles many forms of user input. It’s how you can control the computer through speech, a pen tablet for handwriting, or input method editors (IMEs), which provide support for languages ​​like Mandarin or Japanese. It is also required by some official Microsoft applications, such as the Windows Terminal.

Note: Some Windows users previously reported that it is also required for the search function in the Start menu or taskbar to work in Windows 10. We are unable to replicate this behavior.

What does Ctfmon.exe do in Windows 11?

Ctfmon.exe in Windows 11 is responsible for text input, expressive input (Emojis), touch keyboard, handwriting, and input method editors (IMEs). Just like with Windows 10, IMEs in Windows 11 provide support for languages ​​like Japanese or Mandarin. It is fully integrated into all text input, even on a standard English QWERTY keyboard, in Windows 11.

Is Ctfmon.exe a virus?

No. Ctfmon.exe is a normal part of Windows and is not dangerous. It’s always possible for malware to call itself ctfmon.exe in an attempt to hide itself, but that’s relatively uncommon.

You can always check where any instance of ctfmon.exe is located to help determine if it is a malware imposter or not. Legitimate copies of ctfmon.exe are found in Windows folders, while a fake copy is most likely elsewhere.

To check where ctfmon.exe is located, open Task Manager, go to the Processes tab, right-click ctfmon.exe or CTF Loader and click “Open file location”.

File Explorer will open and you will notice the path displayed in the address bar. It should say “C:Windows” followed by a subfolder, probably System32. There are other copies in different Windows subfolders, especially in the WinSxS and SysWOW64 folders. They are all legit.

If you find a ctfmon executable somewhere strange, you should start your favorite antivirus and run a scan, just to be sure. Malwarebytes Anti-Malware is a good option if you don’t know which antivirus to use.

How to disable Ctfmon.exe

Ctfmon.exe plays similar, but different, roles in Windows 10 and Windows 11. As such, your ability to disable them is different.

Warnings: Disabling ctfmon.exe or the corresponding service will cause some malfunctions in Windows 10 and completely break any type of text input in Windows 11. You should not disable it.

How to disable Ctfmon.exe in Windows 10

You can end ctfmon.exe in Task Manager if an instance is failing and consuming too much RAM or CPU. Just find “CTF Loader” in the Processes tab of Task Manager, right-click and select “End Task”. However, it will reappear as soon as an application or Windows needs it.

Note: Ctfmon.exe is only displayed in the Details tab in current versions of Windows.

To permanently disable ctfmon.exe, you must disable the Touch Keyboard and Handwriting Pad service. Find “Services” in the Start menu, and then open it.

I searched "Services" in the Start menu.

Scroll down until you see “Touch Keyboard and Handwriting Pad Service,” then right-click and select “Properties.”

Locate the "Touch keyboard service and handwriting pad".

Click the dropdown menu, select “Disabled” and then click “Apply”. You can then close the Properties and Services window, then restart your PC.

How to disable Ctfmon.exe in Windows 11.

You cannot disable ctfmon.exe, or the associated Text Input Management Service, in Windows 11. If you delete ctfmon.exe via Task Manager, it will restart instantly. The service, Text Input Management Service (formerly Touch Keyboard and Handwriting Pad Service in Windows 10), cannot be turned off or stopped.

Even if it were possible to disable it, the likely result would be a PC that cannot accept any input from the keyboard.

Whether you’re on Windows 10 or Windows 11, it’s best to leave ctfmon.exe, like other Windows processes, alone if you want your computer to function properly.

Advice: This article is part of our ongoing series explaining various processes found in the Task Manager, such as svchost.exe, dwm.exe, mDNSResponder.exe, conhost.exe, rundll32.exe, Adobe_Updater.exe, and many others.


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