What is a CTF Loader (ctfmon.exe)?

This post continues our series of articles about Windows processes and today we will discuss what is CTF loader (Collaborative Translation Framework) or ctfmon.exe, how can user disable it and if it’s safe.

What’s the Purposes of ctfmon.exe and is it a Legitimate Process?

Ctfmon.exe (CTF loader) is a Windows system component which appeared in Windows XP for the first time. This component is responsible for Alternative User Input and Office language panel. The process provides support for the recognition of speech and handwriting, on-screen keyboard functionality etc. The main way on how user communicates with PC is by using keyboard and mouse. Voice, touchpads etc. are alternative input methods and these are ctfmon.exe is responsible for. CTF loader is also being used together with MS Office components, but, meanwhile, it can appear on computers without Microsoft Office installed.

In case you are using some from the alternative input methods – it’s not recommended to perform any actions with CTF loader or trying to shut it down. It’s important to mention that this process should never load a CPU high or decrease the overall performance of the PC, so it’s just better not to touch it at all.

Does the CTF Loader is a Virus and Why It Can Cause Issues?

So does the ctfmon.exe is a virus? No, in most cases it’s not (sometimes viruses can use this filename to hide in your system). This process should be running from the system folder and you can check if it’s true in your case using simple steps:

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  1. Open Task manager and at the Processes tab find the CTF loader in the list;
  2. Right click on it and click on Open file location;
  3. The system will open folder C:\Windows\System32 in File Explorer and you will see ctfmon.exe in it. In case you have 64-bit Windows, ctfmon.exe will be also located in folder C:\Windows\SysWOW64 (this one is responsible for 32-bit applications emulation);
  4. Right click on ctfmon.exe and choose its Properties;
    ctfmon.exe
  5. Switch to Details tab and check file’s digital signature. It should be the same as on the screenshot below.
    ctf loader process

In case the file ctfmon.exe is located in proper folder and has a Microsoft signature – there is nothing to worry about. But if the CTF loader is located outside folders System32/SysWOW64 and doesn’t have a correct signature, this can be a signal that your PC is infected with virus or malware (high CPU usage for this process is also a strength sign of virus infection).

Many users report about issues with ctfmon.exe after Windows Fall Creators Update. Often the issues are related to extra languages packs: the issues won’t allow to type anything into the Search/Cortana bar and in most cases user facing with ctfmon.exe stopped working error during short time after every reboot. Microsoft claimed that they have fixed this bug in 16232, but, most likely, they don’t.

How to Shut Down CTF Loader?

So, let’s suppose you do not use alternative input methods. In such case you won’t really need the CTF loader (but we still don’t recommend you to shut it down). So, in case you need to disable it – there is a special option that allows to get rid of the CTF loader. Follow the instruction below.

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Important! This instruction must be implemented using account with the Administrator privileges.

The first important thing to mention is the fact that when you disable CTF loader it will also disable some of the Windows components (for example, after disabling you won’t be able to use on-screen keyboard or speech recognition feature and others). In case your PC works fine – we don’t recommend you to disable CTF loader. So, follow the steps:

  1. Run the Task manager;
  2. At the Processes tab find CTF loader. If you found it – that’s mean that the service is working;
  3. Switch to Services tab and find TabletInputService in the list (this service is related to ctfmon.exe);
  4. Right click on it and choose Open Services;
    ctfmon.exe tabletinputservice
  5. Find the service Touch Keyboard and Handwriting Panel Service in the list. Double click on it and after that you will see a new service’s settings window;
    ctf loader touch keyboard handwritting
  6. Press button Stop, and then choose Disabled form the Startup type drop down menu in General tab;
    shut down ctfmon.exe
  7. Press ОK, close all the windows and reboot the machine.

After the computer will reboot you will see that the CTF loader process will disappear in Task manager.

Comments (1)
  1. Chella Rao DVS August 29, 2018

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