Task Manager on Windwos 10.
Jason Fitzpatrick / How-to Geek
Ctfmon.exe, or CTF Loader, is used by Windows to handle input via speech, a tablet or handwriting, or input for certain languages (like Japanese or Mandarin.) On Windows 11, it is tied to all text input. Ctfmon.exe should not be disabled, as it will prevent certain parts of Windows from operating.

Ctfmon.exe, or CTF Loader, has been present in Windows forever. You can end it in the Task Manager, but it just keeps reappearing. Here’s what it’s doing on your Windows 10 or Windows 11 PC.

What Is ctfmon.exe?

The exact function of ctfmon.exe, sometimes called CTF Loader, varies a bit between Windows 10 and Windows 11. We’ve broken it down by operating system.

Note: Ctfmon.exe will be displayed as “CTF Loader” in the Task Manager Processes tab, but as “ctfmon.exe” if you look at the Details tab. They’re the same thing.

What Does Ctfmon.exe Do on Windows 10?

Ctfmon.exe is the Microsoft process that controls many forms of user input. It’s how you can control the computer via speech, a pen tablet for handwriting, or Input Method Editors (IMEs), which provide support for languages like Mandarin or Japanese. It is also necessary for some official Microsoft apps, like the Windows Terminal.

Note: Some Windows users have previously reported that it is also required for the search function in the Start Menu or on the Taskbar to function on Windows 10. We cannot replicate this behavior.

What Does Ctfmon.exe Do on Windows 11?

Ctfmon.exe on Windows 11 is responsible for text input, expressive input (Emojis), touch keyboard, handwriting, and Input Method Editors (IMEs). Like with Windows 10, IMEs in Windows 11 provide support for languages like Japanese or Mandarin. It is fully integrated into all text input, even a standard English QWERTY keyboard, on Windows 11.

Is Ctfmon.exe a Virus?

No. Ctfmon.exe is a normal part of Windows, and it isn’t dangerous. It is always possible for malware to name itself ctfmon.exe in an attempt to hide, but that is relatively uncommon.

You can always check where any instance of ctfmon.exe is located to help determine if it is a malware imposter or not. Legitimate copies of ctfmon.exe are found in the Windows folders, whereas a fake copy will most likely be found elsewhere.

To check where ctfmon.exe is located, open Task Manager, go to the Processes tab, right-click ctfmon.exe or CTF Loader, and click “Open File Location.”

File Explorer will open and note the path displayed in the address bar. It should read “C:\Windows\” followed by a subfolder, probably System32. There are other copies in different Windows subfolders, most notably in the WinSxS and SysWOW64 folders. They’re all legitimate.

If you do find a ctfmon executable somewhere strange, you should fire up your favorite antivirus and run a scan, just to be sure. Malwarebytes Anti-Malware is a good all-around choice if you don’t know which antivirus to use.

How to Disable Ctfmon.exe

Ctfmon.exe plays similar — but distinct — roles on Windows 10 and Windows 11. As such, your ability to disable them is different.

Warning: Disabling ctfmon.exe or the corresponding service will cause some malfunctions on Windows 10, and it willcompletely break any kind of text input on Windows 11. You shouldn’t disable it.

How to Disable Ctfmon.exe on Windows 10

You can end ctfmon.exe in the Task Manager if an instance is bugged and consuming too much RAM or CPU. Just find “CTF Loader” in Task Manager’s Processes tab, right-click it, and select “End Task.” It will reappear as soon as an application or Windows needs it, however.

Note: Ctfmon.exe is only shown in the Details tab on current versions of Windows.

To permanently disable ctfmon.exe you must disable the Touch Keyboard and Handwriting Panel Service. Search for “Services” in the Start Menu and then open it.

Search for "Services" in the Start Menu.

Scroll down until you see “Touch Keyboard and Handwriting Panel Service,” then right-click it and select “Properties.”

Locate the "touch Keyboard and Handwriting Panel Service."

Click on the drop-down menu, select “Disabled,” then click “Apply.” You can then close the Properties and Services Window, then restart your PC.

How to Disable Ctfmon.exe on Windows 11.

You cannot disable ctfmon.exe, or the associated Text Input Management Service, on Windows 11. If you kill ctfmon.exe via the Task Manager, it will instantly restart. The service, Text Input Management Service (formerly Touch Keyboard and Handwriting Panel Service on Windows 10), cannot be disabled or stopped.

Even if it were possible to disable it, the likely result would be a PC that can’t accept any input from the keyboard at all.

Whether you’re in Windows 10 or Windows 11, you’re best off leaving ctfmon.exe — like other Windows processes — alone if you want your computer to work correctly.

Tip: This article is part of our ongoing series explaining various processes found in Task Manager, like svchost.exedwm.exemDNSResponder.exe, conhost.exe, rundll32.exeAdobe_Updater.exe, and many others.
Profile Photo for Nick Lewis Nick Lewis
Nick Lewis is a staff writer for How-To Geek. He has been using computers for 20 years --- tinkering with everything from the UI to the Windows registry to device firmware. Before How-To Geek, he used Python and C++ as a freelance programmer. In college, Nick made extensive use of Fortran while pursuing a physics degree.
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Lowell is the founder and CEO of How-To Geek. He’s been running the show since creating the site back in 2006. Over the last decade, Lowell has personally written more than 1000 articles which have been viewed by over 250 million people. Prior to starting How-To Geek, Lowell spent 15 years working in IT doing consulting, cybersecurity, database management, and programming work.
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