The CT.exe program is part of a rootkit and ad clicking Trojan that is part of the s5Mark adware that is commonly bundled with adware and potentially unwanted programs. When installed, CT.exe along with other programs will make it so that you are unable to launch security programs and will also cause your computer to constantly connect to remote sites in order to display advertisements.
When installed, CT.exe will be configured as a Windows service called Windows Management Service. When started, the computer will exhibit the following behavior:
- When attempting to launch security programs, you will receive an error stating that the The Requested Resource is in Use and the program will not be allowed to start.
- Your computer will act sluggish and slow.
- Your Internet speed will become slow.
- Your computer's CPU utilization will increase due to the constant connections to remote sites.
- Your hard drive will be constantly utilized.
How did the CT.exe Trojan get on my computer?
It is important to note that CT.exe is installed along with the s5Mark Trojan, which is installed by free programs that did not adequately disclose that other software would be installed along with it. Therefore, it is important that you pay close attention to license agreements and installation screens when installing anything off of the Internet. If an installation screen offers you Custom or Advanced installation options, it is a good idea to select these as they will typically disclose what other 3rd party software will also be installed. Furthermore, If the license agreement or installation screens state that they are going to install a toolbar or other unwanted adware, it is advised that you immediately cancel the install and not use the free software.
As you can see, CT.exe was designed to block you from using your security programs and to constantly connect to remote sites. As this behavior causes problems for your computer, I strongly suggest that you use the guide below to remove it for free.
Self Help Guide
If you are uncomfortable making changes to your computer or following these steps, do not worry! Instead you can get free one-on-one help by asking in the forums.
To remove CT.exe & Windows Management Service Trojan, follow these steps:
- STEP 1: Print out instructions before we begin.
- STEP 2: Use Malwaresbytes Anti-Rootkit to remove SmartService
- STEP 3: Use Rkill to terminate suspicious programs.
- STEP 4: Scan and clean your computer with Zemana AntiMalware.
- STEP 5: Use Malwarebytes AntiMalware to Scan for Malware and Unwanted Programs
- STEP 6: Use AdwCleaner to remove adware from a computer.
- STEP 7: Use HitmanPro to scan your computer for badware
- STEP 8: Run Secunia PSI to find outdated and vulnerable programs.
This removal guide may appear overwhelming due to the amount of the steps and numerous programs that will be used. It was only written this way to provide clear, detailed, and easy to understand instructions that anyone can use to remove this infection for free. Before using this guide, we suggest that you read it once and download all necessary tools to your desktop. After doing so, please print this page as you may need to close your browser window or reboot your computer.
This infection is constantly changing in order to bypass our methods of removing it. If you encounter any issues with the steps below, just skip those sections and continue to the next appropriate step. Also please report the issue you had by creating a new topic in the Am I Infected forum with details as to what happened.
At this point you should download Malwarebytes Anti-Rookit, or MBAR, to scan your computer for rootkits. Please download Malwarebytes Anti-Rootkit from the following location and save it to your desktop. When downloading MBAR, make sure you use the download link that is labeled Version 220.127.116.113:
Once downloaded, close all programs and Windows on your computer, including this one.
Double-click on the Malwarebytes Anti-Rootkit icon that you just downloaded. This will start the installation of MBAR onto your computer. If you see a warning, like the one below, please click on the Yes button to continue.
You will now be prompted for the directory that you wish to install MBAR into as shown below.
At this prompt press the OK button to allow it to extract the files into a mbar folder on your desktop.
MBAR will now automatically start and you will be presented with the introduction screen.
At this page click on the Next button and you will be at the Update screen.
At the Update screen, click on the Update button.
When it has finished updating and has stated that the databases are up-to-date or have been updated, click on the Next button.
You will now be at the scan screen as shown below.
To begin scanning for the installed rootkit, click on the Scan button and the scan will begin.
Please be patient while Malwarebytes Anti-Rootkit scans your computer for rootkits as this process may take some time.
If you see that the Malwarebytes Anti-Rootkit appears to be frozen, or displays "Not Responding", do not be concerned and just let it continue. It is just analyzing a large file and will continue when done.
When MBAR has finished scanning your computer, it will display a scan summary as shown below.
After reviewing the scan results, click on the Cleanup button. MBAR will now create a System Restore Point and begin to remove any detected rootkits and infections. During this process MBAR will most likely ask you to reboot your computer. When you receive this prompt, please reboot your computer.
When the computer reboots, you can login again and continue with the rest of the steps in this guide.
To terminate any programs that may interfere with the removal process we must first download the Rkill program. Rkill will search your computer for active malware infections and attempt to terminate them so that they wont interfere with the removal process. To do this, please download RKill to your desktop from the following link.
For this particular malware, we need to download the unsigned version of Rkill. When at the download page, be sure to only click on the Download Now button labeled Rkill Unsigned. When you are prompted where to save it, please save it on your desktop.
Once it is downloaded, right-click on it and select rename. Then give it a random name. Now double-click on this renamed version of RKill to automatically attempt to stop any processes associated with CT.exe & Windows Management Service Trojan and other malware. Please be patient while the program looks for various malware programs and ends them. When it has finished, the black window will automatically close and a log file will open. Please review the log file and then close so you can continue with the next step.
Do not reboot your computer after running RKill as the malware programs will start again.
If Rkill is blocked from running, please proceed to the next step.
At this point you should download Zemana AntiMalware, or ZAM, in order to scan your computer for any any infections or adware that may be present.
As this infection will prevent the normal Zemana executable from running, we have renamed it to eXplorer.exe so that it can be executed.
Please download Zemana AntiMalware from the following location and save it to your desktop:
Once downloaded, close all programs and open windows on your computer.
Now double-click on the icon on your desktop named eXplorer.exe. This will start the installation of Zemana AntiMalware onto your computer.
When the installation begins, keep following the prompts in order to continue with the installation process. Do not make any changes to default settings and when the program has finished installing, Zemana will automatically start and display the main screen.
If Zemana did not automatically start then that means the infection blocked it by its name. To resolve this we need to open the C:\Program Files (x86)\Zemana AntiMalware folder and then rename the ZAM.exe executable.
Once the folder is open, click once on the ZAM.exe file to select it, and then click on the F2 button on your keyboard. This will enter rename mode where you can change the name of the file. If the ZAM file appears to be named just ZAM, rename it to iexplore. If it is named ZAM.exe, then rename it to iexplore.exe.
Once the file has been renamed, double-click on the file to execute it. Zemana Anti-Malware should now start.
You will now be at the main screen for Zemana AntiMalware as shown below.
Above the Scan button, please change the scan type to Deep Scan and then click on the Scan button to start the malware removal scan.
Zemana AntiMalware will now start scanning your computer for malware. This process can take quite a while, so we suggest you do something else and periodically check on the status of the scan to see when it is finished.
When Zemana has finished finished scanning it will display a screen that displays any malware that has been detected. Please note that the infections found may be different than what is shown in the image below.
Review the scan results and when you are ready to continue with the cleanup process, click on the Next button to delete or repair all of the the selected results. Once you click on the Next button, Zemana will remove any unwanted files and fix any modified legitimate files. If you receive a warning that Zemana needs to close your open browsers, please close any web browsers that may be open and then click on the OK button to continue.
Zemana will now create a System Restore Point and remove the detected files and repair any files that were modified.
When the process is complete, you will be shown a screen that says Completed. At this screen, you can now close the Zemana AntiMalware screen and continue with the rest of the instructions. If Zemana requests that you reboot the computer, please do so, and then continue with the next step.
At this point you should download Malwarebytes Anti-Malware, or MBAM, to scan your computer for any infections, adware, or potentially unwanted programs that may be present. Please download Malwarebytes from the following location and save it to your desktop:
Once downloaded, close all programs and Windows on your computer, including this one.
Double-click on the icon on your desktop named mb3-setup-1878.1878-18.104.22.1682. This will start the installation of MBAM onto your computer.
When the installation begins, keep following the prompts in order to continue with the installation process. Do not make any changes to default settings and when the program has finished installing, make sure you leave Launch Malwarebytes Anti-Malware checked. Then click on the Finish button. If MalwareBytes prompts you to reboot, please do not do so.
MBAM will now start and you will be at the main screen as shown below.
We now need to enable rootkit scanning to detect the largest amount of malware and unwanted programs that is possible with MalwareBytes. To do this, click on the Settings button on the left side of the screen and you will be brought to the general settings section.
Now click on the Protection tab at the top of the screen. You will now be shown the settings MalwareBytes will use when scanning your computer.
At this screen, please enable the Scan for rootkits setting by clicking on the toggle switch so it turns green.
Now that you have enabled rootkit scanning, click on the Scan button to go to the scan screen.
Make sure Threat Scan is selected and then click on the Start Scan button. If there is an update available for Malwarebytes it will automatically download and install it before performing the scan.
MBAM will now start scanning your computer for malware. This process can take quite a while, so we suggest you do something else and periodically check on the status of the scan to see when it is finished.
When MBAM is finished scanning it will display a screen that displays any malware, adware, or potentially unwanted programs that it has detected. Please note that the items found may be different than what is shown in the image below due to the guide being updated for newer versions of MBAM.
You should now click on the Remove Selected button to remove all the selected items. MBAM will now delete all of the files and registry keys and add them to the programs quarantine. When removing the files, MBAM may require a reboot in order to remove some of them. If it displays a message stating that it needs to reboot, please allow it to do so. Once your computer has rebooted, and you are logged in, please continue with the rest of the steps.
You can now exit the MBAM program.
Now please download AdwCleaner and save it to your desktop. AdwCleaner will scan your computer for adware programs that may have been installed on your computer without your knowledge. You can download AdwCleaner from the following URL:
When AdwCleaner has finished downloading, please double-click on the AdwCleaner.exe icon that now appears on your desktop. Once you double-click on the icon the AdwCleaner program will open and you will be presented with the program's license agreement. After you read it, click on the I agree button if you wish to continue. Otherwise, click on the I disagree button to close the program. If Windows prompts you as to whether or not you wish to run AdwCleaner, please allow it to run.
If you selected to continue, you will be presented with the start screen as shown below.
Now click on the Scan button in AdwCleaner. The program will now start to search for known adware programs that may be installed on your computer. When it has finished it will display all of the items it has found in Results section of the screen above. Please look through the results and try to determine if the programs that are listed contain ones that you do not want installed. If you find programs that you need to keep, then uncheck the entries associated with them.
For many people, the contents of the Results section may appear confusing. Unless you see a program name that you know should not be removed,please continue with the next step.
To remove the adware programs that were detected in the previous step, please click on the Clean button on the AdwCleaner screen. AdwCleaner will now prompt you to save any open files or data as the program will need to close any open programs before it starts to clean.
Please save your work and then click on the OK button. AdwCleaner will now delete all detected adware from your computer. When it is done it will display an alert that explains what PUPs (Potentially Unwanted Programs) and Adware are. Please read through this information and then press the OK button. You will now be presented with an alert that states AdwCleaner needs to reboot your computer.
Please click on the OK button to let AdwCleaner reboot your computer.
When your computer reboots and you are logged in, AdwCleaner will automatically open a log file that contains the files, registry keys, and programs that were removed from your computer.
Please review this log file and then close the Notepad Window.
Now you should download HitmanPro from the following location and save it to your desktop:
When you visit the above page, please download the version that corresponds to the bit-type of the Windows version you are using.
Once downloaded, double-click on the file named HitmanPro.exe (for 32-bit versions of Windows) or HitmanPro_x64.exe (for 64-bit versions of Windows). When the program starts you will be presented with the start screen as shown below.
Now click on the Next button to continue with the scan process.
You will now be at the HitmanPro setup screen. If you would like to install the 30 day trial for HitmanPro, select the Yes, create a copy of HitmanPro so I can regularly scan this computer (recommended) option. Otherwise, if you just want to scan the computer this one time, please select the No, I only want to perform a one-time scan to check this computer option.
Once you have selected one of the options, please click on the Next button.
HitmanPro will now begin to scan your computer for infections, adware, and potentially unwanted programs. When it has finished it will display a list of all the items that Hitman has found as shown in the image below. Please note that the items found may be different than what is shown in the image.
You should now click on the Next button to have HitmanPro remove the detected items. When it is done you will be shown a Removal Results screen that shows the status of the various programs that were removed. At this screen you should click on the Next button and then if prompted you should click on the Reboot button. If HitmanPro does not prompt you to reboot, please just click on the Close button.
Once your computer has has restarted or you pressed the Close button, you should now be at your Windows desktop.
As many malware and unwanted programs are installed through vulnerabilities found in out-dated and insecure programs, it is strongly suggested that you use Secunia PSI to scan for vulnerable programs on your computer. A tutorial on how to use Secunia PSI to scan for vulnerable programs can be found here:
Your computer should now be free of the CT.exe & Windows Management Service Trojan program. If your current security solution allowed this program on your computer, you may want to consider purchasing the full-featured version of Zemana AntiMalware to protect against these types of threats in the future.
If you are still having problems with your computer after completing these instructions, then please follow the steps outlined in the topic linked below:
Are Your Protected?
While Zemana AntiMalware, Malwarebytes Anti-Malware & HitmanPro will scan and clean a computer for free, the free versions do not offer real-time protection. If you want to be fully protected at all times then it is recommended that you purchase a premium version.
Purchase the full-featured version of Zemana AntiMalware, which includes second opinion malware scanner when other solutions do not work, cloud scanning, and super-fast scan time, to protect yourself against these types of threats in the future!
Purchase the full-featured version of Malwarebytes Anti-Malware, which includes real-time protection, scheduled scanning, and website filtering, to protect yourself against these types of threats in the future!
Purchase the full-featured version of HitmanPro, which includes discover viruses, trojans, rootkits, spyware and other malware on up-to-date and fully protected computers using cloud protection and behavioral detections, to protect yourself against these types of threats in the future!
Disclaimer: While we do earn a commission from the sale of the above products, rest assured we only recommend them due to their effectiveness.