I have Windows 10 & I am the only user. It's a Surface Pro 3 if that helps.

One day out of the blue, my language bar disappeared. I've tried pretty much everything short of formatting my PC.

I've done the whole, turning on the input indicator/adding and removing languages I've tried restarting explorer.exe

I am trying to use English and Simplified Chinese.

As a test, I added in German and it will change with Alt + Shift to German but it won't go to Chinese (or it does but still uses roman alpha) I know because in the German keyboard, Y and Z are switched so I can tell when I'm using one or the other.

Also my " tablet " keyboard will show the German or Chinese characters, but seemingly won't switch. Like it gets stuck, but my typing will still indicate when I'm in German vs the other two.

It's basically ALL out of whack, and I just don't know what to do anymore and it's a big problem as I live in China. I need to be able to type in Chinese.


After the same thing happening to me and searching for days, I found this solution which worked instantly to restore language bar!

1) Open command window and run 2) Ctfmon.exe

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I would advise you to create a system restore point before you follow the below steps:

  1. Open the Run dialog by pressing the Windows Key and "r" at the same time Win+R

  2. Type "regedit" into the box and press enter to open the Windows registry editor

  3. Go to this location: HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Run

  4. Right click on the blank space and select "New String Value".

  5. Right click on the newly created value, click modify and then type “ctfmon”=”CTFMON.EXE”

  6. Restart your computer

Now, you will see the language bar in your Windows 10 again. You can also check this YouTube Video. Video description says Windows 8 but it worked for me on Windows 10 as well.

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The problem is still occurring in 2018. To fix it, the first step is to ensure that the input indicator is on

How to hide the "ENG" language icon in notification area? (Windows 10)

Then open task manager, in the detail process page, if ctfmon.exe appears and disappears, the following steps may help. Even if the symptom is different, it still worths to try these steps before the ultimate best (worst) fix, reinstalling Windows. The idea is to create a new account with fresh personalization settings. Then copy the settings back to the original accounts or you just migrate to the new account.

  1. Open Settings -> Accounts -> Family and other people
  2. Add someone else to this PC
  3. Try typing something to the text box first. It is possible that you cannot type only here. On-screen keyboards may not work too. Good work Microsoft! If this is the case, use cmd.exe to create an admin user Create admin user from command line
    1. Click the small text "I don't have this person's sign-in information"
    2. Click the small text "Add a user without a Microsoft account"
    3. Follow the procedure to create a new user
  4. Logout and login with the new user
  5. Check if the language indicator is normal and you can switch input methods. If yes, continue or migrate your old account to this account.
  6. Open regedit
  7. Open Computer\HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft
  8. Export IME, Input, InputMethod and InputPersonalization
  9. Logout and login with the old user
  10. Backup regedit or create a restore point before proceeding
  11. Open regedit
  12. Open task manager to monitor ctfmon.exe
  13. Import Input, Inputmethod, InputPersonalization and IME. Between each import, check if ctfmon.exe appear and disappear first. You may only need to import some.
  14. Enable the input indicator

For me, it seems that my Input is broken. I am also able to fix the problem while ctfmon.exe keeps loading and crashing. Importing only merge old keys with new keys. Leaving the junks from the old keys seems to be harmless in my case.

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