ctfmon.exe related startup issues.

I would like to report an issue that spontaneously arose on a W10 VM installation.

Windows version: 1703 (OS Build 15063.332)

VM Software: Parallels Desktop Pro 12.2.0 (41591) 

This setup has been running fine for months (W10 on PD Pro 12, obviously with the occasional updates) until recently, and without any installation of additional software, except for updates of W10 and PD, login slowed down significantly.

1) Cold boot of the VM to the sign-in screen is still fast.

2) Entry of sign-in information using the keyboard is still fine

3) After sign-in, the desktop instantly appears as before, _however_ issues start at this point:

  • the task bar will flash frequently
  • The Cortana search box in taskbar shows a flashing and/or wrongly aligned microphone icon
  • Trying to open start menu via mouse click or Windows key causes the entire desktop to flash
  • Hovering the taskbar shows the circular busy icon
  • While all this happens, CPU load is low, memory usage is low
  • Apps with shortcuts on the dektop can still be opened as fast as before
  • Ctrl+Alt+Delete can be used to bring up task manager and 'Run' can be used from there to start software
  • While all of the above happens, no typing is possible in any modern app such as e.g. the Edge address bar or any other text input field. Typing in cmd.exe or other classic apps continues to work
  • Based on all of the above there seems to be a very specific issue with a text handling component of some sorts.

It takes minutes for the flashing taskbar to 'stabilize' but the ability to type in modern apps never spontaneously recovers.

However, I have learned that manually starting 'ctfmon.exe' through 'Ctrl+Alt+Del' and 'Run' _immediately_ brings back normal functionality of the system, even when initiated immediately after sign-in.

An (poor quality) recording of some of these issues:


Online, there are scattered reports of 'the language bar not working' and suggestions of manually adding 'ctfmon.exe' to the list of startup programs.

However, this issue spontaneously arose and I cannot find any info on if and how 'ctfmon.exe' should normally start.

Therefore, I think this issue should be looked at by the development team and/or anyone else with the appropriate expertise.


I can always provide more information if required.


SOLVED -- with caveat; I do not know the full impact of making this change.

In my case, I run regular scheduled tasks, and I can track the Task Scheduler operation up to a point at which an Office update kicked in (which changed Microsoft.Office.Tools.Outlook.v9.0.ni.dll and ???). After that, the task scheduler no longer logged to the system event logs. The last entry was changing maintenance state to 3. It appears the task scheduler was put into maintenance mode and left in that state. That causes the task scheduler to fail which causes all kinds of background services to stop working.

1 is this your problem? Control panel> System and Security > Security and Maintenance > expand Maintenance section > Automatic maintenance shows "maintenance in progress" and you can't "Stop maintenance".
2. hack: use regedit to change maintenance state to 0 (I HAVE NO IDEA WHAT THIS COULD DO OR IF THIS IS THE "RIGHT" VALUE):
Computer\HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\Schedule\Maintenance\State > ReportedState changed from 3 to 0

Reboot VM...and everything seems to be back in normal operational state. WOULD LOVE IT is someone 'in the know' could tell me if this was a bad thing to do )

Good luck!

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Question Info

Last updated June 8, 2020 Views 11,173 Applies to: