What do the files called mdm.exe and ctfmon.exe do?

Question

These are more curiosity questions than anything, neither of these are causing me any problems or heart ache with the machine. Anyhow, there is a file falled "ctfmon.exe" which is constantly running in the background. I never noticed it until a few weeks ago. I have a fair amount of computer know-how & try to keep a clean system. I typically turn off or prevent programs from running in the background when they serve no other purpose than to eat up my resources or appear to be conflicting with other programs. I do this by accessing the "msconfig" tool box from the run box on the start menu and deselect the start up item from underneath the start up tab. But when I try to deselect this program, it keeps comming back. It works the first time I deselect it & reboot. But as soon as I turn the machine off and then on again, it's back & running in the background. According to its properties, it's a "Cicero Loader". I'm not familiar with this program. I'm just currious if you have ever heard of it or know exactly what it is doing? It doesn't appear to be interferring with any other programs, but I'd still like to know what it's doing in the background all the time. The second question is about another file running in the background called "mdm.exe". This is another file that for what ever reason keeps coming back after I've deselected it from the start up options. According to the properties, it's a "Machine Debug Manager". Again, what is this program and what exactly is it doing in the background. This program does appear to be affecting some games that I try & play, namely "StarWars Jedi Knight 2". If I don't end task on the program prior to starting the game, I get choppy video at best during game play. When the program isn't running, the game runs great. The only other thing that concerns me about these two programs is that a recent radio broadcast from Data Doctors talked about "Advertisment Programs" or something of that nature that work in the background collecting information about different web sites visited and what not. Then report the information back to where ever it is they came from via your internet connection. I hope you can shed some light on these two programs for me. Thank you and sincerely, Brett Palmer.

Answer

This question was answered on April 16, 2002. Much of the information contained herein may have changed since posting.

The file "ctfmon.exe" is used by Office XP It runs in the background waiting for you to access "Alternate User Input Features" Every time you turn it off and reboot, Office XP reloads it If you like to know more about what this file does and/or how to disable it visit the following link:

http://support.microsoft.com/default.aspx?scid=kb;EN-US;q282599

"mdm.exe" is the "Microsoft Machine Debug Manager" and can be installed via Office 2000 Microsoft Script Editor, or it is a part of DCOM It is also loaded at boot time

In addition to running every time you boot, it creates temporary files each time you boot and NEVER deletes them You know that you have a problem when you start to see files who's names start with fff, such as:

fffeeecf_{44BE8B61-235B-11D2-8E66-D59A4E66D32D}.tmp

The "mdm.exe" file can also be disabled in Windows 95 and 98 but not in NT It is a bit more intensive to do since you have to make changes to the registy, but if you would like to know more you can visit the following link:

http://support.microsoft.com/default.aspx?scid=kb;JA;q221438

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Author

Posted by Jeff of Chandler-Gilbert Community College on April 16, 2002