Fix Keyboard Not Working on MS Edge, Start Menu, Cortana, Lock Screen and Skype

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Recently I got a call from a client telling me that he had successfully installed the latest Windows 10 Version 1809. The issue was that he was unable to use the keyboard on Microsoft Edge, Start Menu, Cortana, Lock Screen, and Skype. The keyboard was working everywhere else.

Upon further investigation of this weird keyboard not working issue, I found out that Windows Store apps would behave the same and not accept any keyboard input. Since the installation was new, there was no chance of corruption of system files. It took me a few hours to dig down the problem. Once I found the problem, the solution was easy.

keyboard not working in start menu skype solution
keyboard not working in start menu skype solution

In this article, I want to document the same solution so that anyone with the same issue can fix it without having to spend a lot of time on research.

The Solution

There is a system process called ctfmon.exe (CTF Loader)which is used to provide text support for handwriting and speech recognition in Windows. In earlier versions of Windows like Windows 7 or Windows 8, ctfmon.exe was an optional process and could be disabled if the user was not using any handwriting or speech recognition services.

But in Windows 10, Microsoft has made it mandatory to allow ctfmon.exe to run continuously. If ctfmon.exe is blocked or disabled, the keyboard will not work on applications like Edge browser, Start Menu, Cortana and even Skype.

Now back to the client, I recognized that ctfmon.exe was not running on his computer. So I started the executable from the System32 folder and everything started working perfectly fine. But when I restarted the computer, the same problem came again. So I had to make sure to automatically start ctfmon.exe at Windows startup. 

Fixing the keyboard not working in Start Menu, Skype etc.

Time needed: 5 minutes.

Here are the steps to fix keyboard not working on Skype, Edge and Start Menu in Windows 10.

  1. Go to Run –> C:\Windows\System32

    This is the folder where ctfmon.exe is located.
    ctfmon exe in System32

  2. Find ctfmon.exe in the folder, right-click the executable and select Send To –> Desktop (Create a shortcut)

    We will place this shortcut in the Startup folder.
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  3. Open the computer startup folder by going to Run –> shell:common startup

    This command will take you to the system startup folder located at
    C:\ProgramData\Microsoft\Windows\Start Menu\Programs\StartUp
    open common startup folder in Windows

  4. Copy the ctfmon.exe shortcut on the Desktop and paste it in the Startup folder open in step 3.

    This makes sure that ctfmon.exe will run on every computer startup.

When you’re done with all steps, restart your computer and see in the task manager if CTF Loader is running. This will make sure that your keyboard keeps on working for all applications including the Microsoft ones. I hope Microsoft will make sure that ctfmon.exe executable runs for every new installation of Windows since it’s so important for system function.

What are your thoughts about this solution? Were you able to fix the issue after following these steps? I know that there will be other solutions to this keyboard not working problem and would love to hear from you about the best solution which fixed your problem. Don’t forget to comment below 🙂

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1 Comment

  1. Thank you so much for this. It’s alarming that Microsoft are able to leave a problem like this hanging for so long.
    There are countless examples of people experiencing this problem on forums & Microsoft themselves prove unable to provide this answer themselves & it fall to the likes of your expertise. Thanks again, very grateful

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