What Is the Catalyst Control Center (CCC.exe)?

CCC.exe errors are typical with video games

Catalyst Control Center is a utility that's bundled with the driver that makes your AMD video card work. It shows up as CCC.exe in your task manager, and under most circumstances, you won't have to worry about it. You might have to dig into your Catalyst Control Center settings if you play games on your computer, and it may require attention if it ever goes haywire, but you're usually safe just leaving it alone.

What Does Catalyst Control Center Do?

Catalyst Control Center starts up when you turn on your computer because it has to run in the background to manage your AMD video card's operation. The same software was also used to manage ATI video cards before AMD purchased ATI, so older computers with ATI cards may also have CCC.exe installed.

If you don't play video games on your computer, you probably won't ever have to touch Catalyst Control Center, but if you do, the software allows you to check for driver updates for your video card and manage the card's operation.

AMD Catalyst Control Center

Some of the basic things you can do with Catalyst Control Center include changing the resolution or desktop area and the screen refresh rate. There are also several advanced settings that are useful for gamers. For instance, you can change anti-aliasing settings within Catalyst Control Center, removing jagged edges from 3D objects.

If you have a laptop with two video cards, you can also use Catalyst Control Center to switch between them. This is useful if you notice poor performance when playing a game, which can occur if the game isn't using your high-powered AMD video card.

How Did CCC.exe Get on My Computer?

If you have an AMD video card, CCC.exe usually installs alongside the driver that makes the card work. While it is possible to install the driver without Catalyst Control Center, it's common to install them together as a package. Other executables, such as MOM.exe, are also included in the package.

In less common circumstances, you might have a virus or malware that disguises itself as the Catalyst Control Center. If you have an Nvidia video card, and your computer never had an AMD card installed, this may be the case.

Is CCC.exe a Virus?

While CCC.exe isn't a virus when you download it directly from AMD, a virus could disguise itself as CCC.exe. Any good anti-virus or anti-malware program will pick up this type of hidden problem, but you can also look at the location of CCC.exe on your computer. You can accomplish this in six steps:

  1. Press and hold Ctrl+Shift+Esc on your keyboard.

  2. Select Task Manager. If Task Manager is not visible, select More Details in the lower-left corner of the window to access the Task Manager.

  3. In the Task Manager, select the Processes tab.

    Windows 10 Task Manager - Processes tab
  4. In the Name column, look for CCC.exe.

  5. Write down what's in the corresponding command line column.

  6. If there is no command line column, right-click the Name column, then left-click command line.

If your copy of CCC.exe is legitimate, the command line column's location will be something similar to Program Files (x86)/ATI Technologies. Whenever CCC.exe shows up in any other location, that's an indication that it may be malware.

How to Fix CCC.exe Problems

When CCC.exe experiences a problem, it may cause an error message to pop up on your screen. Some common error messages include:

  • CCC.exe has stopped working.
  • CCC.exe has experienced a problem.
  • Catalyst Control Center: host application has encountered an error and needs to close.

It usually happens when something gets corrupted, and the most common solutions are to repair the Catalyst Control Center installation or reinstall it. In older versions of Windows, you can do this in the Control Panel's Programs and Features section. In Windows 10, navigate to Apps and Features in Windows Settings.

The more straightforward option is to download the newest version of Catalyst Control Center directly from AMD. When you run the Catalyst Control Center installer, it should remove the corrupted version and install a working version.

Since Catalyst Control Center isn't a necessary utility, you can also prevent it from running when your computer starts. Doing so prevents you from accessing any advanced settings for your video card, but it should also stop annoying error messages.

  • What is GPU scaling in Catalyst Control Center?

    GPU scaling refers to a set of options that allow the user to adjust the aspect ratio of games. You can either preserve the original ratio of the image, stretch the image to fill your entire screen, or you can center the image with black bars.

  • Do I need the Catalyst Control Center?

    If you have an AMD graphics card, yes, you do. The CCC is an important tool you can use to tweak the performance of your games. If you have an NVIDIA graphics card or use integrated graphics from, say, Intel, you will use other software that do the same things.

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