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What’s ctfmon.exe (CTF Loader)? Is it safe or a virus?

If you use pen computing, or some other type of alternative input for your Windows PC you'll need this important Microsoft .exe called the "CTF Loader" (ctfmon.exe). Here at SpyShelter Labs, we've found most of our PCs have this common process running and it should be safe, as long as it's signed by our friends at Microsoft.

Ctfmon.exe is responsible for handling and controlling the Alternative User Input and Office Language Bar. This process manages input language and keyboard layout, as well as speech recognition and handwriting recognition functionalities.

It runs in the background and is required for your PC input features to function properly. Ctfmon.exe also monitors and tracks the active windows and provides support for features such as language switching and other alternative user input methods.

(Researched by Jon @ SpyShelter Labs)

Executable Processes List

More about ctfmon.exe on WINDOWS

Who makes ctfmon.exe (CTF Loader)?

We’ve found Microsoft Windows should be the publisher of ctfmon.exe.

How do we know? Our SpyShelter cybersecurity labs focuses on monitoring different types of Windows PC executables and their behaviors for our popular SpyShelter Antispyware software. Learn more about us, and how our cybersecurity team studies Windows PC executables/processes.

What does it mean if someone is the publisher of a PC .exe (executable or process)?

The publisher of an executable is the entity responsible for its distribution and authenticity. Most processes/executables on your PC should be signed. The signature on the executable should have been verified through a third party whose job it is to make sure the entity is who it says it is. Find an unsigned executable? You should consider scanning any completely unsigned .exe on your PC.

Is ctfmon.exe safe or a virus?

Below are 4 simple steps you can take to see if the ctfmon.exe process is safe or malware.

  1. Scan the executable with Microsoft's built-in tech
  2. Find ctfmon.exe's publisher
  3. Search the executable's hash with VirusTotal
  4. Monitor the executable's behavior
Last updated: February 1, 2024

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Why should you trust us?

Our team at SpyShelter has been studying Windows PC executables for over 15 years, to help fight against spyware, malware, and other threats. SpyShelter has been featured in publications like The Register, PC Magazine, and many others. Now we’re working to share free, actionable, and easy to understand information about Windows executables (processes) with the world, to help as many people as possible keep their devices safe. Learn more about us on our "About SpyShelter” page.

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