Fixing Copy and Paste for Remote Desktop

by HSG on May 31, 2014 in Articles from Software Fans

From Brennan's Blog which is no longer up and running:

I use Remote Desktop all the time to work inside of my development systems hosted by Microsoft Virtual Server. I use the host system to browse the web for documentation and searches as I work and when I need to copy some text from the web browser I find many times the link between the host clipboard and the remote clipboard is broken. In the past I have read that somehow the remote clipboard utility, rdpclip.exe, gets locked and no longer allows the clipboard to be relayed between the host and the client environment. My only way to deal with it was to use the internet clipboard, cl1p.net. I would create my own space and use it to send content between environments. But that is a cumbersome step if you are doing it frequently.

The only way I really knew to fix the clipboard transfer was to close my session and restart it. That meant closing the tools I was using like Visual Studio, Management Studio and the other ancillary processes I have running as I work and then restarting all of it just to restore the clipboard. But today I found a good link on the Terminal Services Blog explaining that what is really happening. The clipboard viewer chain is somehow becoming unresponsive on the local or remote system and events on the clipboards are not being relayed between systems. It is not necessarily a lock being put in place but some sort of failed data transmission. It then goes on to explain the 2 steps you can take to restore the clipboard without restarting your session.

  • Use Task Manager to kill the rdpclip.exe process
  • Run rdpclip.exe to restart it

The clipboard communications should be restored. My clipboard is currently working because I just restarted my session to fix it, but I wanted to test these steps. I killed rdpclip.exe and started it and was able to copy/paste from the remote to the host system. The next time my clipboard dies I will have to check to see if these steps truly do work.

[Update: I just experienced the broken clipboard and the above steps fixed it right away.]

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