On this Windows 10 machine, from time to time the clipboard goes really wonky. Not only can I not paste anything, but just trying to copy can cause apps like Edge to blow up. Restarting the machine solves the problem, but feels like overkill to me. I'm one of those people who has a lot of things open that I will "get to" in the next week or so, and they don't all re-open after a restart.

I'm comfortable at a command prompt, or using the services app or task manager, so if there was a process I could reset or restart that would give me my clipboard back, I'd be really happy.

FWIW there is no VPN or remote desktop involved here. I'm just bumping along, using my machine, running assorted Office things, lots of browsers, Slack, Skype, Discord, a bunch of Notepad, and after a while I notice I no longer have a clipboard.

  • Have you installed any clipboard organizer software? Did you try to close all applications instead of reboot? What happens if you logout and login again? – harrymc Jun 10 '18 at 18:50
  • No, I have no clipboard doodads installed. And no, closing all apps or logging out are as unpalatable as rebooting (having a particular file, tab, or mail message open reminds me to do something) so I have no motivation to explore that as an option. – Kate Gregory Jun 10 '18 at 19:21
  • That's not suggested as a solution but as an informative test. Does that motivate better? – harrymc Jun 10 '18 at 19:23
  • I have just closed two Words, a Chrome, and a FireFox, and it appears that the clipboard has returned and Edge is willing to let me copy without blowing up. This strengthens my belief that there's something I can restart to avoid reboots in this situation. – Kate Gregory Jun 10 '18 at 20:41
  • The test shows that some app is holding exclusive access to the clipboard. Now you need to find which, by selective closing. I would guess some browser extension. – harrymc Jun 10 '18 at 21:04

The clipboard becoming inaccessible is usually because some app is holding exclusive access to it.

You may test it by, first, logging in and out, then by selectively killing tasks. If the clipboard becomes accessible again, then you have verified that this is indeed the cause.

Microsoft products such as Word do not normally suffer from such problems (unless extensions were added). It is more likely to be some installed browser extension. You may selectively disable these extensions until the malfunctioning one is found.

  • I don't disagree with the theory, but I have, in the three browsers I use regularly, a grand total of zero deliberately installed browser extensions. Also, I was blaming Edge but started spreading self-refreshing pages around among the browsers and the most recent situation stopped when I closed Firefox, which I hadn't been routinely using at all before. Therefore there is not just one bad browser extension to find and uninstall. I'm hoping for a more general "go to process explorer [or task manager], find X, and click Y" approach. – Kate Gregory Jun 11 '18 at 12:50
  • It's always possible to have a non-deliberately installed browser extension, so I hope you have checked. It's also possible that some website is opening the clipboard via JavaScript, Silverlight or Java (hopefully the later two are not installed). It's even possible that this is a bug in some product you have installed or in some browser. You will need to find the cause yourself, process or extension, because we really have no data to go on. We can only deal in theory here and don't have physical access to your computer. – harrymc Jun 11 '18 at 13:27
  • If you know vbs see this answer. – harrymc Jun 11 '18 at 19:16

If you are just trying to clear the clipboard you can use either of the below

Command Prompt : echo off | clip

PowerShell : Set-Clipboard

Above two commands will clear the clipboard contents but can't promise this will really solve the problem.

  • No, I am not trying to clear the clipboard. I am trying to have a clipboard. I am trying to make it so that pressing Ctrl-C does not cause Edge to just "go away" and end itself. – Kate Gregory Jun 11 '18 at 12:50
  • @KateGregory You asked a way to reset or restart the clipboard, and the commands above do the same – pun Jun 11 '18 at 14:10
  • they do not. They empty it. That's cool if it's listening. It's not listening. That's the problem. – Kate Gregory Jun 11 '18 at 14:37
  • @KateGregory I don't think you want to retain clipboard content even after reset/restart. If not, emptying is lot better than restarting the computer. Have you tried them to find out if it solves your problem with edge ? – pun Jun 12 '18 at 3:56
  • Yes, I tried the command prompt version and it did not help at all. – Kate Gregory Jun 12 '18 at 11:08

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