Monday, September 01, 2008

ctfmon.exe and how to disable it in Windows XP and Vista

If you’re like me, you probably like your computer to run as fast and efficiently as possible. One of the main ways to do this is to stop any unwanted processes from working behind the scenes and eating up your system’s resources. Most likely you have already gone through Windows Task Manager to stop unneeded processes, but what about that pesky "ctfmon.exe" that never seems to go away.

According to Microsoft, Ctfmon is the process that controls Alternative User Input and the Office Language bar. It’s how you can control the computer via speech or a pen tablet, or using the onscreen keyboard inputs for Asian languages. In other words, 90% of Windows users will never need nor want the addition, so how do you go about disabling it for good?

Here’s how to get rid of it on Windows XP:

Go to your control panel and open up "Regional and Language Options." Choose the "Languages" tab in the window that appears and click "Details" under "Text Services and Input Languages." Go to the "Advanced" tab in the new window that appears and check the box labeled "Turn off advanced text services." This will immediately close Ctfmon. Finally, go back to the "Settings" tab and verify the information under the heading "Installed Services." The first tier should read English (United States) followed by a second tier that reads "keyboard." followed by a third tier that reads "US." As long as there are no other services besides your keyboard, Ctfmon should never come back on. If you have any additional services installed, review whether you truly need them, and if not, remove them.

Here’s how to get rid of it on Windows Vista:

The process is similar to the steps taken in Windows XP, but since the layout is different, there’s a different route that must be taken. First, open your "Control Panel," and choose "Regional and Language Options." Find "Change keyboards or other input methods" which should bring up a new window. Choose the "Keyboards and Languages" tab and click "Change Keyboards." At this point, you should be at the same screen as in Windows XP. You’ll want to remove the extra installed services in the list other than your default keyboard language to make sure Ctfmon will never again activate.

To save your changes and to make sure Ctfmon will never again return, you need to alter your startup procedures. Go to "Run" in your startbar and enter "msconfig.exe" to open up a new window. Go to the "Startup" tab, and uncheck the box next to "ctfmon." After this, simply reboot your system to be completely Ctfmon free.
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