I'm running a Sabayon Linux VM inside of Virtualbox 4.3. I have the guest additions installed, and when I run a desktop environment such as XFCE, I have bidirectional clipboard support (via Control-Shift-C/V in the VM) with my Windows 8 host. Recently, I switched to i3 to try it out, and while I'm enjoying it, I no longer have access to the Windows clipboard. How can I regain access to the Windows clipboard in i3? Note that I am running i3 without a desktop environment.


Assuming you have virtualbox-guest-utils installed you can simply run:


And if you're launching i3 with startx you can add that to your .xinitrc file to automatically enable shared clipboard on i3 exec.

Note: although rsynnest's comment does contain the solution it's slightly confusing / inaccurate hence why I made this comment.

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i3 inside a desktop environment of your choice should restore the shared clipboard functionality.
I have i3+gnome running on Arch guest with Windows 7 host.
I haven't yet gotten shared clipboard to work for i3 alone, will update this answer if I figure it out.

EDIT: For Arch linux, after installing virtualbox-guest-utils I can run /usr/bin/VBoxClient-all and it enables all guest services. For some reason the vboxguest systemd service doesn't work as it does in Gnome, but if I put /usr/bin/VBoxClient-all in my PostLogin GDM file it works!

Arch Wiki Resource: https://wiki.archlinux.org/index.php/VirtualBox#Launch_the_VirtualBox_guest_services

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  • If you want to post comments get the 15 reputation that it requires by posting one good answer or question – Ramhound Oct 24 '14 at 22:33
  • It's 50 rep to comment but thanks for the helpful tip. If you read my answer it does contain a solution to his problem: using i3 in combination with a DE will restore clipboard functionality. Will edit for clarity. – rsynnest Oct 24 '14 at 22:52
  • Your original revision didn't contain an actual solution. You only changed it after I said something. I am familiar with a ton of shorthands for technology and software but never in 20 years herd of "DE" – Ramhound Oct 24 '14 at 22:59
  • From my original answer: "i3+Gnome shared clipboard works fine, but i3 alone doesn't have it." From Wikipedia: "In computing, a desktop environment (DE) is... " – rsynnest Oct 27 '14 at 22:04

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