How To Clear the Clipboard in Windows 10
The Clipboard is where Windows stores the things we copy and paste. Whether it’s a sentence from Word, a file, folder or video, Windows places it in memory and keeps it there until required. It will retain the last copied item in RAM until we either replace it with something else or turn off the computer. You can manually clear the clipboard in Windows 10 although I don’t know why you would need to.
The only real way to see the contents of the Clipboard in Windows 10 is to paste it somewhere. There are third party apps you can use to view the contents and I’ll cover that in a bit.
The Clipboard in Windows 10
There used to be a feature within Windows that allowed you to view the contents of the clipboard. It was accessed via Windows Key + V and would show a dialog box with the last thing you copied. It would only show text but it was a useful tool for quickly checking the Clipboard without pasting it somewhere. There also used to be a Clipboard option within Windows 10 Settings but this has disappeared too.
The Clipboard has gone back to being something of a mystery and the only real way to check what it holds is to open a text editor and hit Ctrl + P. Unless you use a third party tool anyway.
Clear the Clipboard in Windows 10
If you want to clear the Clipboard, you can do so with a simple command.
- Open a CMD window as an administrator.
- Type ‘echo off | clip’ and hit Enter.
You can also add a right click dialog to clear the clipboard. I tried this and it works like a charm.
- Type ‘regedit’ into the Windows Search box and select Registry Editor.
- Navigate to HKEY_CLASSES_ROOTDirectoryBackground.
- Select Shell, right click and select New.
- Call it Clear Clipboard.
- Select Clear Clipboard, right click and select New.
- Call it Command.
- Right click the Default entry in the right pane within Command.
- Give it a value of ‘cmd.exe /c echo off | clip’.
- Exit the registry.
Right click on an empty space in Windows Explorer or the Desktop and you should see a dialog called Clear Clipboard. Select it to do just that.
Get more out of Clipboard in Windows 10
There are a bunch of third party tools that enhances Clipboard in Windows 10. If you want to get more out of your copy and paste action, you could try one of these. Two of these are free while one is premium but come with a free trial.
ClipClip is a solid Clipboard tool that offers a simple UI and powerful features. Install it, give it a default key to call it up and use it as you see fit. You can create lists of copied text, categorize your most commonly copies text and create a library from your clipboard. You can then select and paste this text at any time, anywhere.
The advantage is that you save your copied text to disk rather than saving it in RAM so it will survive a reboot. If you copy and paste text often, you could do worse than try this.
Ditto is free and open source and is a decent clipboard manager. It keeps a list of all your copied text which can be accessed through a shortcut. Ditto’s strength is in the double click copy. Simply double click a piece of text and it will be copied into the list. You can then save, order and arrange the list as you see fit. It is available from the Windows Store or directly from the website.
The UI is very simple and it integrates into Windows quietly and without any fuss. It isn’t as comprehensive as ClipClip but it gets the job done.
ClipboardFusion is a premium product with a free trial version. It has a minimalist UI and integrates nicely into Windows 10. It works much like these others in that it saves multiple copies of text, removes formatting, runs macros and synchronizes between devices. I’m not sure that last is really necessary but it’s there if you need it.
The UI is simple and intuitive and you can assign hotkeys for all the features you use regularly. The premium version is only $15 so if you like it and want to support development, you know what to do.
To be honest, the Clipboard in Windows is fine when it’s invisible and there should be no real reason you need to clear it. If you do, you now know how to do it and now have three tools you could use to supercharge that Clipboard.