What is cthelper.exe?

The genuine cthelper.exe file is a software component of Creative Sound Blaster by Creative Technology.
Creative Sound Blaster is a family of sound cards developed by Creative Technologies. CtHelper.exe is required for third-party interfaces and DSPs (digital signal processors) that utilize the Sound Blaster drivers. This is a critical process associated with PC audio and should not be removed. Creative Sound Blaster was a de facto standard consumer audio card on pre-Windows 98 systems, especially on the IBM PC platform. After a worldwide transition to Windows 98, the evolution towards onboard motherboard audio cards opened a market for audio cards. The first Sound Blaster version, codenamed "Killer Kard", was launched in 1989 and went on to sell over 15 million units by 1995. Creative Technologies is a Singaporean company that designs and manufactures audio and video boards used in computers and personal electronics. The company was founded on July 1st, 1981 by Sim Wong Hoo and Ng Kai Wa as a simple repair shop. Creative went on to become one of the most recognized names in the computer audio industry, developing its line of Sound Blaster audio cards and creating a standard for computer audio interfaces. Creative is currently headquartered in Jurong East, Singapore.

CtHelper stands for Creative Helper Application

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 cthelper.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.

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Cthelper.exe file information

Windows Task Manager with cthelper
Cthelper.exe process in Windows Task Manager

The process known as CtHelper Application or CtHelper MFC Application belongs to software CtHelper Application or Dell PremierColor by Creative Technology ( or PORTRAIT DISPLAYS, INC.

Description: Cthelper.exe is not essential for Windows and will often cause problems. Cthelper.exe is located in the C:\Windows\System32 folder or sometimes in a subfolder of C:\Windows. Known file sizes on Windows 10/8/7/XP are 24,576 bytes (41% of all occurrences), 19,456 bytes and 9 more variants. 
It is not a Windows system file. The program is loaded during the Windows boot process (see Registry key: MACHINE\Run, Run, Winlogon\Shell). The program has no visible window. Cthelper.exe is located in the Windows folder, but it is not a Windows core file. Cthelper.exe is able to monitor applications. Therefore the technical security rating is 55% dangerous, however you should also read the user reviews.

Recommended: Identify cthelper.exe related errors

External information from Paul Collins:

Important: Some malware disguises itself as cthelper.exe, particularly when not located in the C:\Windows\System32 folder. Therefore, you should check the cthelper.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

it is a driver, that use MALWARE techniques not to be closed or interrupted, it's not a malware per se but an annoyance, a badly written software for good hardware. CTHelper.exe : 4,7Mb is mor annoying because it takes over the Windows's audio source settings. CTAudSvc.exe is no better, a program that supports the driver, also one moremegabyte of ram and a heavy process. Windows already does all that in its big audio service. CTAELicensing.exe, is it a DRM service? No way! It's a licensing server for ensuring the DRIVER and the two other .exe are not being distributed or used illegally! this is insane. a licensing program for a driver. So I'll try to find something like, a less absurd and less annoying version of this driver to run on my win7 install.
  Diamond Tiara   (further information)
It failed to start, and my WINxp professsional screamed right through start up, unlike all previous starts which took up to a minute.
Is part of Sound Blaster Driver
  Hipolito Gonzalez  
I know it monitors when you plug in headphones. When I kill it in Task Manager and plug in my headphones, I have to manually change my speaker settings.
Most cthelper.exe are safe from microsoft. HOWEVER some are definitely Malware. It's up to you to figure out which one it is.
  LinuxPusher   (further information)
Creative process
Yahoo [Bot]
Hogging up my CPU last night. Very Annoying. Couldn't use my machine. Windows XP Professional.
More comments can be found here:
    (further information)

Rating chart

Summary: Average user rating of cthelper.exe: based on 167 votes with 9 reviews. 84 users think cthelper.exe is essential for Windows or an installed application. 15 users think it's probably harmless. 31 users think it's neither essential nor dangerous. 13 users suspect danger. 24 users think cthelper.exe is dangerous and recommend removing it. 18 users don't grade cthelper.exe ("not sure about it").

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Best practices for resolving cthelper issues

A clean and tidy computer is the key requirement for avoiding problems with cthelper. This means running a scan for malware, cleaning your hard drive using 1cleanmgr and 2sfc /scannow, 3uninstalling programs that you no longer need, checking for Autostart programs (using 4msconfig) and enabling Windows' 5Automatic 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 6resmon command to identify the processes that are causing your problem. Even for serious problems, rather than reinstalling Windows, you are better off repairing of your installation or, for Windows 8 and later versions, executing the 7DISM.exe /Online /Cleanup-image /Restorehealth command. This allows you to repair the operating system without losing data.

To help you analyze the cthelper.exe process on your computer, the following programs have proven to be helpful: ASecurity 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. BMalwarebytes Anti-Malware detects and removes sleeping spyware, adware, Trojans, keyloggers, malware and trackers from your hard drive.

Other processes

cthelper.exe [all]