Quick Tips

Cannot Empty The Clipboard

Recently I ran across a problem with the windows clipboard. I got an error "cannot empty the clipboard". At first I thought it was because the Office 2007 clipboard, as I have seen similar issues before. So I click on the Office 2007 clipboard task pane, only to find it was empty. So I took a quick break, as one should from time to time. Upon returning to my computer I did a Google search when I got back and found this solution.

To my surprise, the problem had to do with Windows Terminal Services, see my post on how to use Windows Remote Desktop for details on this service for Windows XP. Getting back to the problem at hand. The problem stemmed from the fact that I was using another computer to remote into "my computer" at my desk. The copy / paste problem that occurred, stemmed from this. There are two ways to resolve this, which basically does the same thing.

1. Reboot your "Remote Computer".
2. Stop the "rdpclip.exe" service on Your "Remote Computer"

Option 1: How to reboot your computer remotely.

When you are logged into your computer remotely, you cannot just click Start and then choose Shutdown, you can only log out of the pc. This is actually a safety measure Microsoft put in so ensure you do not reboot or shutdown your remote computer by accident. The easiest way around this, is using the command prompt (Click Start - Run - Type cmd - Click OK), with the "shutdown -r -t 05" command. This particular command gives you 5 seconds before your computer reboots. You can make changes to the 05 option, to make it any number of seconds before you reboot the machine. Make sure you save everything before you do this. Once your computer is back up, you can remote back into your computer using instructions from my Remote Desktop post.

Option 2: Stoping the rdpclip.exe service

The second option, which may be easier if you are familiar with the Task Manager is to end the rdpclip.exe process. A quick warning on ending processes, if you are not sure what you are ending, don't do it. You don't want to end up with a frozen computer because you ended a system critical "process". Getting back to ending the rdpclip.exe process, open up Task Manager, using one of the following ways:
  • Ctrl+Alt+End then Choose Task Manager
  • Ctrl + Shift + Esc
  • Right click on Task Bar and choose Task Manager
Once you have Task Manager on your screen, go to the processes tab (2nd tab) and find "rdpclip.exe". Right click on it and choose End Process.

If you need to be able to Copy and Paste across from your host and guest computers, you can restart rdpclip.exe again by Start - Run - Type rdpclip.exe - Click OK to restore copy/paste functionality.

Was this tip helpful? Have you run across the "cannot empty the clipboard" error before? Did this solution work? Do you have any other ways to resolve this problem? Share your experience in the comments. If you found this helpful or need additional help contact me via email. email

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