What is ctfmon.exe? Should I remove it?

by Jake Doevan - -
ctfmon.exe

Ctfmon.exe is a Windows process that activates alternative user input which might be disabled 

Questions about ctfmon.exe

Ctfmon.exe is a process that is connected to the Office XP suite, usually runs in the background and monitors active windows. Its main functionality is to provide support for alternative data input methods, such as text-to-speech, voice recognition, handwriting, some language inputs (e.g., Korean or Chinese), and others. Ctfmon.exe will be running in the Task Manager[1] even if MS Office programs are off, so some users might want it disabled if they are not using alternative user inputs entirely. Ctfmon.exe should be located inside the %System% folder, and if the file location is other than that – there is a high chance that the device infected with malware, such as Win32:Trojan-gen.

Name Ctfmon.exe
Type System file
Functionality Used for alternative user input and Microsoft Office language bar, such as text-to-speech
Location %System% folder
Can it be malware? Yes, users reported that their anti-virus engines flagged Ctfmon.exe (located outside %System% folder) as a virus
Related viruses CoolWebSearch, Family Key Logger, Raidys infostealer, Win32:Trojan-gen
Removal You should get rid of the file if you are not using its functionality. On the other hand, if the executable was flagged by anti-virus software, its elimination should be performed immediately

Even though this is not an essential process, experts do not recommend users to remove Ctfmon.exe from their systems. On the other hand, it is possible to disable the process until you need it. However, only advanced users are advised to do so. Otherwise, the MS Office suite might start malfunctioning.

It is wise to know that Ctfmon.exe filename can sometimes be used by malware to hide its presence on the system, so pay attention to the location of the file. If it is located not in C:\WINDOWS\System32, there is a huge possibility that this file is malicious. 

Note that the name of Ctfmon.exe is mostly used by parasites Satiloler, Satiloler.d, Satiloler.c, Satiloler.e and Snow, so you are highly advised to scan the system just to make sure that this executable file is not dangerous. For that, we strongly recommend using Reimage or other professional security software.

Ctfmon.exe virus might display a variety of typical infection signs, such as:

  • System slowdown;
  • Multiple suspicious processes running in the background;
  • Program errors or crashes;
  • System errors of crashes;
  • Blue screen of death occurrences;
  • Redirects to random websites, etc.

It is also known that a very similar name (Ctfmon32.exe) is used by an aggressive browser hijacker called CoolWebSearch, Family Key Logger, or Raidys info stealer.

The primary purpose of Ctfmon32.exe is to start a parasite or launch some of its components. Be aware that it is a significant part of a dangerous threat, or it can also work on its own. Therefore, it is essential to pay attention to unknown processes on the Task Manager.

If you suspect that the executable file is malicious and causing various problems on your computer, you should not only terminate this process but run a full system scan with SpyHunter 5Combo Cleaner. If the antivirus marks the file as dangerous, do not hesitate and let it perform Ctfmon.exe removal right away.

Malware can be hidden inside cracked software and spam emails

Usually, cyber threats are distributed via peer-to-peer networks[2] or sent in the attachment of an email directly to the victim. Likewise, those who are not closely monitoring their online behavior might unknowingly install malware – and it will disguise as a legitimate Windows process.

Therefore, NoVirus.uk[3] team strongly advises avoiding downloading video, audio, and other content from torrent and other high-risk sites. Criminals often share malware as fake software or its cracks online and trick people into downloading the payload of the malware. Instead, always get programs only from official websites and make sure that its developer is authorized.

Additionally, pay attention when opening spam emails. This is a viral technique used by hackers to distribute not only trojans but ransomware and other types of infections. Note that the email might look like sent by a well-known company. However, do not open it or click on its attachment unless you are sure that the email is legitimate.

Ctfmon.exe termination procedure

Since Ctfmon.exe file helps users control their computers via pen tablet, speech, or on-screen keyboard for Asian languages, those who do not need these features can disable the process. However, only people who are experienced enough are advised to do so. 

However, as it has been already mentioned, the name of this process might be exploited by malware to hide its presence on the system. In this case, users are advised to remove Ctfmon.exe immediately. Even though we would suggest you to do that by employing a professional security software like Reimage, you can also do it manually.

Manual Ctfmon.exe removal might be complicated. For that, we have prepared instructions which should guide you through the process:

Method 1. Get rid of Ctfmon.exe by disabling its feature in Microsoft Windows 2003

  1. Open “Add/Remove programs” and select “Change your installation of Microsoft Office”;
  2. Search for the checkmark called “Choose advanced customization of applications” and tick it;
  3. Click next;
  4. Find “Alternative User Input” in the list;
  5. Disable it by selecting “Not available.”

Method 2. Disable alternative text input in  Windows XP

  1. Go to “Control Panel” and pick “Regional and Language Options”;
  2. Navigate to the Languages tab and find “Text services and input languages”;
  3. Press “Details” button in that section;
  4. Navigate to the Advanced tab and select “Turn off advanced text services.”

Method 3. Stop Ctfmon.exe by unregistering the DLLs

  1. Open “Command Prompt” as administrator;
  2. Run Regsvr32.exe /u msimtf.dll and Regsvr32.exe /u msctf.dll commands;
  3. Open “System Configuration Utility” and navigate to Startup tab;
  4. Find ctfmon and de-select its checkmark.
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What to do if failed?
If you failed to remove virus damage using Reimage, submit a question to our support team and provide as much details as possible.
Reimage is a recommended tool to scan your system for possible threats and crappy software. The trial version of the product will find harmful applications in your system.
Alternative Software
Different security software includes different virus database. If you didn’t succeed in finding malware with Reimage, try running alternative scan with SpyHunter 5.
Alternative Software
Different security software includes different virus database. If you didn’t succeed in finding malware with Reimage, try running alternative scan with Combo Cleaner.

About the author

Jake Doevan
Jake Doevan - Computer technology expert

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