How to Fix Copy and Paste Not Working in Windows 10

Copy Paste Issues Windows 10
Reading time: 6 Minutes

This article provides a step-by-step guide on how to fix copy and paste not working issues in Windows 10. The article is divided into sections that cover possible causes, initial checks, and a range of solutions including both software and hardware fixes. It also offers alternative methods for data backup in case the copy-paste function isn’t working. Specific topics include how to close conflicting applications, clear the clipboard, update system drivers, scan for malware, and use third-party repair tools. Whether you’re dealing with temporary glitches or corrupt system files, you’ll find actionable steps to resolve your issue.

Common Causes

The inability to use the copy-paste function in Windows 10 can result from several factors. These include:

  • Temporary glitches in the operating system
  • Conflicts between open applications
  • Full or overloaded clipboard
  • Device driver issues
  • Corrupt system files
  • Outdated software
  • Interference from antivirus programs
  • Excessive background applications

Initial Checks

If you notice that my copy and paste is not working all of a sudden, here are some quick tests you can perform:

  • Context Testing: Try using the keyboard shortcuts (Ctrl + C, Ctrl + V) in multiple applications to determine if the problem is consistent across the board.
  • Key Testing: Open a text editor and type ‘C’ and ‘V’. Use Ctrl + A in a document to test the ‘Ctrl’ key.
  • Keyboard Swap: If a specific key isn’t responding, try using another keyboard. If the issue resolves, your original keyboard might be the problem.

Additional Considerations

  • Keyboard or Mouse Issues: Problems with your keyboard or mouse can also disrupt the copy-paste function.
  • Application-Specific Challenges: Some applications, like Google Docs and Facebook, have unique copy-paste limitations. Additionally, certain websites disable the copy-paste function for security reasons.

Troubleshooting Steps: Close Conflicting Applications

If multiple applications are open, they may be the reason why your copy and paste is not working. Use the Task Manager to close applications one by one to identify the culprit. If a video player is running encrypted content, it may cause the clipboard to lock. In such cases, close the video player and test the copy-paste functionality again.

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Clear Clipboard

The clipboard is a temporary storage area in your computer’s memory that holds data, such as text, images, or files, that you’ve copied, enabling you to paste it elsewhere.

  1. Open the Command Prompt: To do this, search for “cmd” in the Windows search bar, then right-click on “Command Prompt” and choose “Run as administrator.”Note for Non-Tech-Savvy Users: The Command Prompt is a text-based interface that lets you run commands on your computer. Running it as an administrator allows you to execute commands that change system settings.
  2. Enter the Command: Type echo off | clip and press Enter.What This Does: This command clears the clipboard by replacing its content with nothing (echo off) and then piping that to the clipboard (clip).
  3. Check If Cleared: To confirm that the clipboard is empty, try pasting (Ctrl + V) into a text document. If nothing appears, the clipboard is empty.
  4. Close the Command Prompt: You can close the Command Prompt window once you’re done.

By following these steps, you can empty the clipboard, potentially resolving any issues you might be experiencing with the copy-paste function.

Update System Drivers

Device drivers are software that allows your computer to interact with hardware like printers, speakers, and keyboards. Outdated or corrupt drivers can cause issues like the copy-paste function not working.

Ensure your device drivers are up-to-date to prevent glitches. Two ways are available to update your system drivers:

  • Manual Update: Visit the hardware manufacturer’s website to download and install the latest drivers.
  • Automatic Update: Use third-party software like Driver Easy.

Malware Scanning

Malware includes malicious software that can interfere with functions like copy and paste, underscoring the importance of effective antivirus measures. There are third-party tools, like Outbyte AVarmor, that offer malware scanning features and can serve as an additional layer of security. However, no tool can guarantee 100% security, so always exercise caution and use multiple layers of defense.

By employing multiple layers of defense, including a primary antivirus program combined with third-party tools, you can more effectively mitigate the risks associated with malware.

Advanced Software Fixes

  • Corrupted System Files
  • Update Windows
  • Troublesome Applications

Disable Antivirus Software Temporarily

Temporarily disabling your antivirus may help you pinpoint why the copy and paste function is not working on your system. However, please note that doing so could expose your system to security risks. Always re-enable your antivirus immediately after testing.

Disclaimer: Proceed with caution; disabling antivirus leaves your system vulnerable. Only do this when necessary and from a trustworthy source. Re-enable immediately after testing.


  1. Close Unneeded Apps: Close all applications not relevant to the test.
  2. Go Offline: Disconnect from the Internet to mitigate risks.

Going offline means disconnecting your computer from the internet. This can be done by turning off Wi-Fi or unplugging the Ethernet cable connecting you to the internet.

  1. Time It: Disable the antivirus only for the minimum time needed for the test.

Quick Steps:

  1. Right-click the Antivirus Icon: This is usually found in your system tray.

What is the System Tray?
For those who might not be familiar, the System Tray is the area near the clock on the Windows taskbar, usually at the bottom-right corner of your screen. It contains small icons for quick access to system functions like volume, battery status, and network settings.

  1. Select ‘Disable’: Choose the minimum time available if the option exists.
  2. Perform Test: Conduct your test quickly to determine if the antivirus is causing the issue.
  3. Re-enable Antivirus: Immediately turn your antivirus back on after testing.
  4. Reconnect to the Internet: Only after re-enabling the antivirus.

By adhering to these streamlined guidelines and precautions, you can minimize risks while troubleshooting issues potentially caused by your antivirus software.

Use Third-Party Tools for System Repair

Third-party tools are available that offer advanced diagnostics and system file repair capabilities. For example, Outbyte PC Repair provides these features, but note that some functions may require a paid subscription. Always read user reviews and terms of service before making a decision.

Update Windows

An outdated Windows operating system can cause issues. Update Windows by going to Settings > Update & Security.

Run Check Disk Utility

Use the Check Disk utility tool to scan and fix system errors.

Other Windows Utilities

  • System File Checker (SFC)
  • Reset rdpclip.exe in Task Manager
  • Remove corrupt zones from Windows Registry

RAM and System Optimization

Configure the settings of your RAM optimization tool to exclude the clipboard.

  1. Open Your RAM Optimization Tool: Launch the software you use for RAM or system optimization. If you’re not sure where to find it, you can usually locate it through the Windows search bar.Note for Non-Tech-Savvy Users: RAM (Random Access Memory) optimization tools help speed up your computer by managing memory usage. These tools often have multiple features, including the option to exclude certain functions from optimization.
  2. Navigate to Settings: Usually, there’s a gear icon or a ‘Settings’ tab within the application. Click on it to open the settings menu.
  3. Find the Exclusions or Ignore List: Many RAM optimization tools have a list of processes or functions that can be excluded from optimization. This is often called an “Exclusions” list or “Ignore List.”
  4. Add Clipboard to the Exclusions List: If the software allows you to add specific functions to the exclusions list, find the clipboard process (it might be listed as “Clipboard” or “Clip.exe”) and add it to the list.Note: The exact steps may vary depending on the software you’re using, and not all RAM optimization tools offer this feature.
  5. Save and Apply Changes: Once you’ve added the clipboard to the exclusions list, make sure to save your changes and, if necessary, apply them.
  6. Restart the Optimization Tool: Some tools require you to restart the application or even your computer for changes to take effect. Follow any prompts to do so.

By taking these steps, you can configure your RAM optimization tool to exclude the clipboard, potentially reducing interference with the copy-paste function.

Advanced Hardware Fixes

  • Keyboard Troubleshooter
  • System Performance

Last Resort Fixes

  • Registry Edits
  • Group Policies
  • System Restore

Backup Options

Data Backup using MiniTool Partition Wizard

For those in need of a backup solution when the copy-paste function is down, options like MiniTool Partition Wizard are available. As always, ensure that the tool meets your specific needs and read user reviews before proceeding.

  • Download and open MiniTool Partition Wizard.
  • Select ‘Copy Partition Wizard’.
  • Choose the source and destination partitions.
  • Click ‘Apply’ to complete the backup process.

Alternative File Synchronization using AOMEI Backupper Standard

For users looking for faster file synchronization, options like AOMEI Backupper Standard are available. However, it’s advisable to read user reviews and ensure the tool suits your specific needs before using it.


Various issues can cause the inability to use the copy and paste function in Windows 10. Remedies range from closing conflicting applications and clearing the clipboard to updating system drivers and using third-party repair tools. For data backup, you have options like MiniTool Partition Wizard and AOMEI Backupper Standard available.

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