What is CCC.exe and why is it running on my computer?

Normally not a security threat, CCC.exe is a program that normally shows up after installing an ATI graphics card or other ATI hardware. The file itself stands for Catalyst Control Center (or Catalyst Control Centre) and is designed to allow the user to manipulate and change a bunch of different display options and other features associated with the ATI graphics card installed on your computer.

It is important to mention that there are some malware programs that can disguise themselves as the CCC.exe program, especially if you find the program located in either C:\Windows or C:\Windows\System32.

CCC.exe is commonly located in the directory path of “C:\Program Files\ATI installation dir” and its file size should be 49152 bytes when running on a Windows XP system. There is generally a small icon for this program in the system tray next to the clock.

CCC.exe allows you to overclock your ATI graphics card and create numerous user profiles for your ATI graphics card. The user profiles are especially useful if you play a bunch of different games on your computer. Just set up a different profile for each game and set the ATI graphics card options that are most appropriate for each game. This allows each game to play smoothly and correctly.

CCC.exe is usually set to start automatically every time you start up your computer, and ordinarily stems from installing new ATI video drivers onto your computer. This is not a program that is required for your graphics card or drivers, and you can go ahead and stop it without any negative consequences. It is strictly an optional program, and it is not an essential Windows file.

Another irritating thing that may accompany the CCC.exe program is an addition of a somewhat pesky ATI Catalyst Control Center icon to the Windows Context Menu (the menu that pops up when you right-click on your desktop).

So should you keep the ATI Catalyst Control Center around, or should you give it the old heave-ho? That depends on what it is that you are using your computer for and what demands you routinely place onto your ATI graphics card.

Again, your ATI graphics card should work completely fine without CCC.exe running. The ATI Catalyst Control Center is primarily for people who are either heavy computer game-players or people who have special displays set up such as dual monitors or some other customized screen display. The ATI Catalyst Control Center is also sometimes used to calibrate monitors used for graphic design purposes.

If you don’t play a lot of games or have some sort of crazy display setup going on, you really don’t need to have the ATI Catalyst Control Center running, as it will just be taking up system resources and cluttering up your system tray.

If you want to disable the ATI Catalyst Control Center from automatically starting every time you start your computer, all you have to do is right-click on the ATI icon in your system tray in the lower right-hand corner of your computer screen, next to the clock. Then set the programs options so that the CCC.exe program does not automatically start when Windows boots up.

If you want to completely remove the ATI Catalyst Control Center from your computer altogether you just have to uninstall the program like any other unwanted program. Open the Control Panel and click on “Add/Remove Programs” and then select the ATI Catalyst Control Center from the list of programs that pops up. Make sure to only uninstall the ATI Catalyst Control Panel and not your ATI driver. If you uninstall your ATI driver your ATI graphics card will not function properly, if at all.

To remove the ATI Catalyst Control Center icon from the Context Menu, you will have to do a little bit of registry editing. But it is relatively painless, even if you don’t know the first thing about making changes to the Windows registry.

Click on the Start Menu and then click on “Run…” and type “regedit” and press Enter. After Regedit opens, navigate to the following directory within the registry:

KEY_CLASSES_ROOT\Directory\Background\shellex\ContextMenuHandlers\ACE

Now all you have to do is remove the key that’s named “ACE” and you’re done. The ATI Catalyst Control Center icon should be permanently removed from your Context Menu, or at least until you install another ATI driver.