Fast fixes for two common copy-and-paste failures

Copy/paste malfunctions are often caused by either a remote-session bug or--more ominously--a malware infection.

Like many people who work for a company that's located hundreds of miles from their home, I rely on remote-access programs, specifically the Remote Desktop Connection utility built into Windows. I recently encountered a relatively common bug in the program: in the midst of a remote session, I lost the ability to copy and paste.

Closing and restarting the remote connection fixed the problem temporarily. A more permanent solution is described by Pinal Dave on the SQL Authority blog. Press Ctrl-Alt-Delete and click Start Task Manager. Choose the Processes tab, select rdpclip.exe, click End Process, and close Task Manager. Restart the process by clicking Start > Run (just Start in Vista and Win7), typing rdpclip.exe, and pressing Enter.

Malware, apps may block browser copy/past functions
The inability to copy and paste text and images in your browser may indicate the presence of malware or some other program that has locked the Clipboard. The Mozillazine knowledge base points the finger at a particular Registry value: AppInit_DLLs, which is located at HKLM\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\Windows.

The Mozillazine article instructs you to delete that Registry key, but only after you attempt to decipher the key's value to discern the name of the program that installed the key. Two of the most likely culprits, according to the article, are the pushow (pop-up show) and New.net malware.

Whenever you suspect your PC may be infected, run Malwarebytes' free Anti-Malware utility to detect and remove the infection. Last September, I described how I used the program to disinfect our family PC .

Create a shortcut that empties the Clipboard
The fastest way to erase the contents of the Clipboard is to copy anything else, even a blank space. But you can also create a shortcut that empties the Clipboard automatically. In Vista and Windows 7, right-click the desktop or any convenient folder and choose New > Shortcut. Type the following command in the shortcut location box:

cmd /c "echo off | clip"

Click Next, give the shortcut a name, and click Finish. Now right-click the shortcut, choose Properties, assign a keystroke combination to the shortcut (if you wish), choose Minimized in the Run drop-down menu, and click OK.

If you'd like to extend your Clipboard's capabilities, you'll find dozens of free and commercial Clipboard enhancers described at Download.com, but my favorite for working with text is the free ClipClipper from Currach Software.

The program lets you edit and save the contents of the Clipboard and place your saved Clipboard items into categories, but only some of the text's formatting is preserved, and the utility doesn't accommodate images at all. If you're willing to spend $19.99, BegemotSoft's Clipdiary creates a record of all the text and graphics you place in the Clipboard.

About the author

    Dennis O'Reilly began writing about workplace technology as an editor for Ziff-Davis' Computer Select, back when CDs were new-fangled, and IBM's PC XT was wowing the crowds at Comdex. He spent more than seven years running PC World's award-winning Here's How section, beginning in 2000. O'Reilly has written about everything from web search to PC security to Microsoft Excel customizations. Along with designing, building, and managing several different web sites, Dennis created the Travel Reference Library, a database of travel guidebook reviews that was converted to the web in 1996 and operated through 2000.

     

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