Question Broken ctfmon.exe, lock screen background, and accent color


Jul 3, 2016
Hey all, I'm making this forum post after trying countless things for many months. I hope someone can help.

Every time I install Windows on my machine, these things always end up broken after a few reboots:
  • Lock screen background will not change if I select a new one. It will keep loading and loading, never ends and never changes.
  • Color accent will change, however it's not applied system-wide, only in a few apps.
  • ctfmon.exe will always fail to launch at startup, requiring me to make a ctfmon.exe shortcut in the Start Menu folder to automate it.
These symptoms happen at the same time, on Windows 8 all the way to Windows 11. Here are the list of things I do right after a fresh install:
  • Install NVIDIA drivers (doesn't matter if I try an older driver, it still happens).
  • Install AMD Chipset Software drivers.
  • Install Realtek Audio and Networking drivers.
  • Install qBittorrent, Steam, Epic Games, Discord, and WhatsApp.
  • Overclock my monitor to 70 Hz from 60 Hz.
I have also tried installing Windows on a friend's machine and his machine exhibits the same symptoms as mine. We both have almost completely different hardware. What I have noticed (I think) is it always happens after one of these driver installs. However, I'm quite puzzled why the same thing happens on my friend's machine. I have tried using a different USB flash drive in case it's corrupt, but it doesn't solve anything.


Win 10 Master
What Does the Ctfmon.exe File Do?
Ctfmon.exe monitors the active windows and provides text input service support for speech recognition, handwriting recognition, keyboard, translation, and other alternative user input technologies.

Can I Remove the Ctfmon.exe File?
Removing the Ctfmon.exe might cause problematic behavior in your Office XP programs, so removing it is not recommended. To prevent Ctfmon.exe from running, follow these steps.

You can run Process explorer and suspend the program ctfmon.exe from running on PC.
try the fix in the quote but it feels like its a victim, not a cause.

Try a clean boot and see if it changes anything - make sure to read instructions and make sure NOT to disable any microsoft services or windows won't load right -

if clean boot fixes it, it shows its likely a startup program. You should, over a number of startups. restart the programs you stopped to isolate the one that is to blame.

if its two differnt PC its likely a bug with one of the programs or a weird windows bug

lock screen behaviour, do you use the same user logon for both PC? It might be the user itself that is corrupted
create a local user and make it admin
logon and see if it has same problems, if it doesn't its fairly easy to copy the data from old to new user without needing to reinstall very much.
Logon to old user
go to c:/users/old user folder
copy contents of here to new user folder, this gives it same access. Only need to set up Onedrive if you used it before, and maybe a few browsers. rest of it should work as before.
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