What is ctfmon.exe?

The .exe extension on a filename indicates an executable file. Executable files may, in some cases, harm your computer. Therefore, please read below to decide for yourself whether the ctfmon.exe on your computer is a Trojan that you should remove, or whether it is a file belonging to the Windows operating system or to a trusted application.

Click to Run a Free Scan for ctfmon.exe related errors

Ctfmon.exe file information

Windows Task Manager with ctfmon
Ctfmon.exe process in Windows Task Manager

The process known as CTF Loader or eMule or Cicero Loader or Sun Java update scheduler or SoBit Mail Service or Microsoft Office Word or Shareaza Ultimate File Sharing

belongs to software Microsoft Windows Operating System or eMule or Microsoft® Windows NT® Operating System or wsgta or Microsoft Office Professional Edition (version 2003) or Family Keylogger or jusched.exe or Microsoft Office (version 2003)

by Microsoft ( or or Sun MicroSystems ( or Shareaza Development Team ( or SoBit.

Description: The original ctfmon.exe from Microsoft is an important part of Windows, but often causes problems. The ctfmon.exe file is located in the C:\Windows\System32 folder. Known file sizes on Windows 8/7/XP are 15,360 bytes (77% of all occurrences), 30,208 bytes and 80 more variants. 
The program is not visible. The application is loaded during the Windows boot process (see Registry key: Run, DEFAULT\Run, MACHINE\Run, User Shell Folders, MACHINE\User Shell Folders, Winlogon\Shell, MACHINE\RunServices, Userinit, RunOnce, MACHINE\RunOnce). Ctfmon.exe is a Microsoft signed file. Therefore the technical security rating is 33% dangerous, however you should also read the user reviews.

Recommended: Identify ctfmon.exe related errors

Viruses with the same file name

Is ctfmon.exe a virus? No, it is not. The true ctfmon.exe file is a safe Microsoft Windows system process, called "CTF Loader". However, writers of malware programs, such as viruses, worms, and Trojans deliberately give their processes the same file name to escape detection. Viruses with the same file name are such as Worm:Win32/Fakerecy.A or Virus:Win32/Virut.BI (detected by Microsoft), and Trojan.Win32.VB.aqt or Worm.Win32.VB.xb (detected by Kaspersky).
To ensure that no rogue ctfmon.exe is running on your PC, click here to run a Free Malware Scan.

How to recognize suspicious variants?

External information from Paul Collins:

Important: Some malware camouflages itself as ctfmon.exe. Therefore, you should check the ctfmon.exe process on your PC to see if it is a threat. We recommend Security Task Manager for verifying your computer's security. This was one of the Top Download Picks of The Washington Post and PC World.


User Comments

The process is defined as the program CTF Loader.
  david scott   (further information)
can not delete ctfmon.exe because it says I need special permission. It is located in user-windows-system32.
Unless you use the language bar, get rid of it. Even when located in the proper folder, it causes internet connectivity problems. The Microsoft site details their preferred "blanking" procedure. However, I removed it outright and experienced NO instability (unless the absence of the language bar can be considered instability). This immediately cleared up numerous connectivity problems. Microsoft's attitude is wholly unacceptable: having garbageware running all the time just "because" is piss-poor practice, as well as being highly suspicious. Somebody should have a look under the hood to see what this piece of crap is really doing. Since it runs even when nothing related to the language bar is concerned, it has more than one purpose, and one that Microsoft doesn't want to give up - or reveal to the public.
Click on Start. Click on run. Type MSCONFIG and enter. Click on Startup. If ctfmon box is checked, uncheck it. Thats it, PC speed back to normal.
  Patrick A Kavanagh  
Sometimes it a virus, sometimes its a language file from Microsoft office.
  Pinkie Pie  
Ctfmon.exe is a system file but if you find the file in anx other location then of course it is a virus.Use Kaspersky Internet Security 2012 (the best antivirus software all over the world) .It will automatically delete or quarrantine the file.If you need more suggestions use tuneup utilities 2012 and uniblue speed up my pc software to get your pc in top shape (full performance) .
  Habib Ashraf  
system requirements Windows 7 Vista, 2003, XP, 2000 (including 64-bit)
Does not require MS Office to be currently installed. It just hangs around. Located in c\i386, and System32\, System32\DLLCache, ServicePackFiles\i386 in Windows\.
  Al Breeck   (further information)
More comments can be found here:
    (further information)

Rating chart

Summary: Average user rating of ctfmon.exe: based on 502 votes with 9 reviews. 169 users think ctfmon.exe is essential for Windows or an installed application. 24 users think it's probably harmless. 139 users think it's neither essential nor dangerous. 74 users suspect danger. 96 users think ctfmon.exe is dangerous and recommend removing it. 32 users don't grade ctfmon.exe ("not sure about it").

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Best practices for resolving ctfmon issues

A clean and tidy computer is the key requirement for avoiding problems with ctfmon. This means running a scan for malware, cleaning your hard drive using cleanmgr and sfc /scannow, uninstalling programs that you no longer need, checking for Autostart programs (using msconfig) and enabling Windows' Automatic Update. Always remember to perform periodic backups, or at least to set restore points.

Should you experience an actual problem, try to recall the last thing you did, or the last thing you installed before the problem appeared for the first time. Use the resmon command to identify the processes that are causing your problem. Even for serious problems, rather than reinstalling Windows, you are better off doing a repair of your installation, or in the case of Windows 8, executing the DISM.exe /Online /Cleanup-image /Restorehealth command. This allows you to repair the operating system without losing data.

To help you analyze the ctfmon.exe process on your computer, the following programs have proven to be helpful: Security Task Manager displays all running Windows tasks, including embedded hidden processes, such as keyboard and browser monitoring or Autostart entries. A unique security risk rating indicates the likelihood of the process being potential spyware, malware or a Trojan. Malwarebytes Anti-Malware detects and removes sleeping spyware, adware, Trojans, keyloggers, malware and trackers from your hard drive.

Other processes

ctfmon.exe [all]