What Is Ctfmon.exe?

What is Ctfmon.exe?

The ctfmon.exe file is responsible for controlling the Alternative User Input technologies and activates the Language bar icon in the System Tray if more than one keyboard layout is enabled on a Windows computer. It provides text input service support for speech recognition, handwriting recognition, electronic recognition, braille keyboards, and other alternative user input technologies.

Ctfmon.exe – File Information

By default, on a Windows XP and Windows Vista computer, the ctfmon.exe file is located in the C:\Windows\System32 folder. The most common size of the ctfmon.exe file is 15,360 bytes.

The ctfmon.exe file is loaded after you install the Office XP Alternative User Input features and automatically starts every time you boot your Windows computer.

The ctfmon.exe file is running in the background, even after I’ve closed all Office programs

This is normal and should not be a cause of concern. The ctfmon.exe file is designed to run in the background during Windows sessions, regardless of whether an office program is running.

Is ctfmon.exe and essential file?

Well, this depends on your requirements. If you do not use more than one keyboard layout or alternative text input features then you can safely disable the ctfmon.exe process.

The ctfmon.exe keeps coming back even after I’ve removed it from my Startup Programs using msconfig

You cannot disable ctfmon.exe using the msconfig command. The ctfmon.exe process automatically loads again and continues to run in the background even after you remove it from the startup programs.

How to disable ctfmon.exe

If you do not require the features that ctfmon.exe offers on a Windows computer, then you can safely disable this process.

To disable ctfmon.exe, perform the following tasks:

Step 1 – Disable Advanced Test Services through Control Panel

  1. Click the Start menu and select Control Panel.
  2. Next, double-click Regional and Language Options.
  3. Click the Languages tab and then click Details.
  4. Next, click the Advanced tab and clear the checkbox for Turn off advanced text services.
  5. Click Apply and then click OK to close the Text Services and Input Languages dialog box.

Step 2 – Disable the startup entry for ctfmon.exe

  1. Click Start and then click Run.
  2. Type msconfig and press Enter.
  3. In the System Configuration Utility dialog box, click the Startup tab and clear the checkbox against the startup entry for ctfmon.exe.
  4. Click the Apply button and then click OK.
  5. Restart your computer.

Ctfmon.exe – Security Threat?

The true ctfmon.exe is a legitimate file from Microsoft. However, various malware programs, such as trojans, spyware, and viruses are also known to use a process by the same name. It is important that you do not confuse the rouge ctfmon.exe with the legitimate file. The legitimate ctfmon.exe file is present in your system folder and is not a system threat.

How to ensure that ctfmon.exe running is not a virus

To ensure that only the legitimate ctfmon.exe is present on your computer, run a malware scan using reliable security tools, such as STOPzilla Antivirus and Spyware Cease.

In case a threat is found to exist on your computer, remove it immediately. At this point, it is recommended that you also perform a registry scan using an efficient registry cleaner, such as RegServe to clean your registry to eliminate any invalid or corrupt entries that the malware may have added.

For reference, a list of malware that are known to be associated with ctfmon.exe is below:

Worm.Rungbu.B [PC Tools]
Worm.Win32.VB.du [Kaspersky Lab]
WORM_VB.BDN [Trend Micro]
Worm.Win32.VB.du [Ikarus]
Worm.VB.ZVX [PC Tools]
Worm.VB.YVF [PC Tools]
Worm.Autorun.DU [PC Tools]
Win32.Sality.AA [PC Tools]
W32/VB-CTQ [Sophos]
W32/Sality.ac [McAfee]
W32/Rungbu-C [Sophos]
W32.Sality.X [Symantec]
W32.Rungbu [Symantec]
W32.Fakerecy [Symantec]
W32.Dizan.D [Symantec]
Virus:Win32/Rungbu.C [Microsoft]
Virus.Win32.VB.cc [Kaspersky Lab]
Trojan.Win32.VB.aqt [Kaspersky Lab]
Bloodhound.Unknown [Symantec]
FakeRecycled [McAfee]
Generic VB.c [McAfee]
PE_RUNGBU.A-O [Trend Micro]
PE_RUNGBU.B-O [Trend Micro]
PE_RUNGBU.C-O [Trend Micro]
Trojan Horse [Symantec]
Trojan.VB.XFZ [PC Tools]
Trojan.Win32.VB [Ikarus]
W32.SillyFDC [Symantec]
W32/Rungbu-A [Sophos]
Trojan.VB!sd5 [PC Tools]
Downloader [Symantec]
Mal/Packer [Sophos]
Generic.dx [McAfee]
Infostealer [Symantec]
PE_DZAN.A [Trend Micro]
PE_TENGA.A [Trend Micro]
Trojan-Dropper.Agent [Ikarus]
Virus.Win32.Dzan.a [Kaspersky Lab]
Virus.Win32.Tenga.a [Kaspersky Lab]
Virus.Win32.Virut.q [Kaspersky Lab]
W32.Licum [Symantec]
[email protected] [Symantec]
W32/Dzan.b [McAfee]
W32/Gael.worm.a [McAfee]
W32/Vetor-A [Sophos]
W32/Virut.gen [McAfee]
Application.Family_Keylogger [PC Tools]
Keylog-Family [McAfee]
W32.Virut.U [Symantec]
Backdoor.Win32.Poison.cpb [Kaspersky Lab]
Backdoor:Win32/Koceg.gen!A [Microsoft]
Backdoor:Win32/Poisonivy.E [Microsoft]
BackDoor-DRW [McAfee]
Generic Downloader.x [McAfee]
Mal/EncPk-GC, Mal/Packer [Sophos]
Mal/Generic-A [Sophos]
Mal/Koceg-A [Sophos]
PE_AGENT.ZAE-O [Trend Micro]
PE_RUNGBU.C [Trend Micro]
PE_VIRUT.XP [Trend Micro]
Suspicious.MH690 [Symantec]
Troj/Poison-AE [Sophos]
Troj/VB-CSA [Sophos]
Trojan-Downloader.Win32.Agent.llo [Kaspersky Lab]
TrojanDownloader:Win32/Renos.FJ [Microsoft]
TrojanDownloader:Win32/Small.gen!H [Microsoft]
Virus:Win32/Sality.T [Microsoft]
W32/Sality-AD [Sophos]
Win32.AutoRun.H [PC Tools]
Win32/Xema.worm.103424.B [AhnLab]
Win-Trojan/Recycled.20480 [AhnLab]
Worm.Win32.VB.mz [Ikarus]
Worm:Win32/Autorun.OX [Microsoft]
Worm:Win32/Fakerecy.A [Microsoft]
WORM_SOCKS.BL [Trend Micro]
New Malware.n [McAfee]
not-a-virus:Monitor.Win32.FamilyKeyLogger.280 [Kaspersky Lab]
not-a-virus:Monitor.Win32.FamilyKeyLogger.283 [Kaspersky Lab]
PE_DROWOR.A [Trend Micro]
Win32/Xema.worm.76288.B [AhnLab]
W32/Virut.gen.a [McAfee]
W32/Sality-AM [Sophos]
W32/Cekar [McAfee]
W32.Spybot.Worm [Symantec]
W32.Mandaph [Symantec]
Virus:Win32/Virut.AE [Microsoft]
Virus:Win32/Sality.AM [Microsoft]
Trojan-Downloader.Win32.Delf.def [Kaspersky Lab]
Trojan.Win32.Agent [Ikarus]
Spyware.FamilyKeylog [Symantec]
Backdoor.Trojan [Symantec]
Backdoor.Poison!sd6 [PC Tools]
Backdoor.IRCBot!sd6 [PC Tools]
Backdoor.Bifrose [Symantec]
Backdoor:Win32/Koceg [Microsoft]
Backdoor:Win32/Poisonivy.H [Microsoft]
BackDoor-DKI.gen.a [McAfee]
MonitoringTool:Win32/FamilyKeyLogger [Microsoft]
MemScanRootkit.3315 [Ikarus]
BackDoor-DSS [McAfee]