How to Fix When Copy-Paste Isn’t Working

One of the most frequently used functions on computers is copy-paste. It makes our jobs easier and enables us to perform tasks faster. But it can be frustrating when this function stops working, and there are several things that can cause this.

How to Fix When Copy-Paste Isn't Working

If you’re having trouble with getting your copy-paste function to work properly, keep reading this article to find the possible solutions to your problem.

How Does Copy-Paste Work?

By copying a file/text, you save it on a virtual clipboard. By pasting it, you extract it from the clipboard to a specific destination. Different services support this process, and it enables you to easily move files/texts from the source to the desired destination without having to physically drag them or store them somewhere permanently.

Due to its simplicity and benefits, this widespread action is popular across all operating systems and most applications. Let’s find out what you can do when this function isn’t working properly.

Copy-Paste Not Working in Windows 10

Check if Windows Is Updated

There are several reasons copy-paste may not be working in Windows 10. If your version of Windows is not up to date, it may cause your copy-paste to fail. Here is how you can make sure it’s up to date:

  1. Open the Windows Start menu and click on Settings to open a new window. Windows Start Menu
  2. Tap Update & Security.
  3. Tap Check for updates.

If Windows hasn’t been updated to the most recent version, it will start downloading the updates now. When you restart your computer, all the updates will be installed. If this was the cause of your copy-paste problem, it should be solved now.

Keyboard Troubleshooting

Suppose you’re trying to use keyboard shortcuts to copy and paste, but they don’t seem to be working. In that case, you can try troubleshooting your keyboard to fix your problem:

  1. Again, open the Windows Start menu and click on Settings.
    Windows Start Menu
  2. Tap Update & Security.
  3. Now, tap Troubleshoot.
  4. Tap Additional troubleshooters.
  5. Then, tap Keyboard.
  6. Tap Run the troubleshooter.

If your computer finds potential problems, it will recommend how to fix them, thus fixing your copy-paste issue.

Tip: You should make sure the copy-paste shortcuts on your keyboard are correctly set.

Check for Viruses

If you would like to establish if a virus is causing your copy-paste function not to work, make sure you follow these steps:

  1. Open the Start menu.
  2. Start typing Windows Security and open it.
  3. Tap Virus & threat protection.
  4. Tap Scan options.
  5. Tap Full scan.

You can also opt for a Quick scan, though it’s recommended to do a Full scan. This option will analyze all files, not just the ones where viruses are commonly found.

Tip: A full scan might take up to one hour, so make sure you do this when you don’t have to use your computer right away.

Close Open Applications

If you have too many applications open at the same time, they might be overlapping and causing your copy-paste function not to work. You can choose which apps to close by using Task Manager:

  1. Right-click on the Start menu and tap Task Manager.
  2. Choose the program you want to close and select it.
  3. Right-click on the program and tap End task.

If too many open apps or programs caused your copy-paste function not to work, you should be able to fix it by following these steps.

Disable the Anti-Virus Program

Even though it’s important to use anti-virus software to protect your device, this software can sometimes cause copy-paste to malfunction. To determine if this is the cause of your problem, you can try disabling some features of your anti-virus software or even disabling it completely. You can do this for just a short period until you establish if this is the root of your problem.

Suppose you establish that this is causing your copy-paste function not to work. In that case, the best option is to uninstall it and switch to another anti-virus software. There are various anti-virus tools available on the market, and you will easily find the one that suits you the best and causes fewer problems.

Run Check Disk Utility

One of the possible solutions for copy-paste not working in Windows 10 is running the check disk utility. Check disk is a tool that can fix system errors, and here is how you can run it:

  1. Open the Start menu.
  2. Start typing This PC and open it.
  3. Right-click your hard drive.
  4. Tap Properties.
  5. Choose the Tools tab.
  6. Click the Check button under Error checking.

If there are any errors, they will be fixed once you restart your PC. If this was causing your copy-paste not to work, it should be fixed now.

Copy-Paste Not Working on Mac

If you’re a Mac user and your copy-paste is not working, you’ve come to the right place. There are several things you can do to get your copy-paste to function properly.

Check if Your Keyboard Is the Problem

If you’re unsure whether your keyboard is causing the problem, you can try using Edit from your menu bar. Here, you can choose between Copy and Paste.

You can also use your mouse to select a text, copy, and paste it. If this is working, it means that there is a problem with your keyboard, so make sure it’s turned on/properly connected and that you’re using the right shortcuts.

Clipboard Relaunch

  1. Exit the apps in which copy-paste isn’t working.
  2. Tap Go on the Menu bar.
  3. Then, tap Utilities.
  4. Tap Activity Monitor.
  5. Type pboard in the search box at the top right corner.
  6. Double-click on pboard.
  7. Tap Quit.
  8. Tap Force Quit.
  9. Exit the Activity Monitor.
  10. Open the apps where copy-paste wasn’t working. If this was the problem, it should work now.

Kill WindowServer Process

If force-quitting pboard didn’t fix the problem and your copy-paste is still not working, you can try killing the WindowServer process.

Tip: Before you do this, make sure you save all your tasks since after you complete this, your Mac will ask you to log in again. Even though Mac will reopen all tasks, you might lose all unsaved work.

  1. Tap Go on the Menu bar.
  2. Tap Utilities.
  3. Tap Activity Monitor.
  4. Type windowserver in the search box at the top right corner.
  5. Double-click on windowserver.
  6. Again, tap Quit.
  7. Tap Force Quit.

Restarting Your Mac Device

If the copy-paste function is still not working, try restarting your device.

  1. Tap the Apple logo.
  2. Tap Restart.

Any glitches that might’ve happened should be fixed by restarting your computer.

Copy-Paste Not Working in Ubuntu

If you’re using Ubuntu and your copy-paste is not working, there are a few things you can try to get it to work.

Check Your Keyboard

If you’re not able to use keyboard shortcuts for copy-paste, try selecting the file/text using your mouse, then select Copy and Paste from the menu. If this works, it means that your keyboard is the problem. Make sure your keyboard is turned on/properly connected and that you’re using the right shortcuts.

Check Permission

If you have multiple accounts in Ubuntu, and you’ve selected the wrong one, you will not have permission to use the copy-paste function. In Ubuntu, only the root users have this option. If this is the case, you can log out and select the correct account, where you will have this option available.

Close Open Applications

If you open too many applications, it might cause them to overlap, thus disabling the copy-paste function. If you’d like to confirm this is the problem, try closing several applications and then use the copy-paste shortcuts.

Restarting Your Device

If this is the first time your copy-paste function is not working, you can try restarting your device. It might be just a temporary glitch, and by restarting the device, you might be able to fix it.

Copy-Paste Not Working in Specific Applications

It can happen that copy-paste function is not working only when using specific applications. In this case, the first thing you can do is close and reopen the app.

If this doesn’t work, you can check if your app is up to date. If it’s not, make sure you download the most recent version, since this might be the cause of your copy-paste not working.

Using Clipboard Apps

There are various clipboard apps on the market that can make your copying and pasting easier. These apps are beneficial for several reasons: they can save multiple texts/files you want to copy, they keep history which you can access anytime, they let you specify the formatting you would like to use, etc. If you use copying-pasting often, this is a great way to save time and make your job easier.

However, these third-party apps can often come in conflict with your built-in clipboard. So, if you have one of these apps and are trying to use your built-in clipboard, your copy-paste function might not work. Make sure you close or disable the app and restart your computer, and this should resolve your problem.

Enabling Copy and Paste Is Never a Waste!

Now you’ve learned how you can get your copy-paste option to function properly. Since copy-paste is one of the essential functions that gets used multiple times on a daily basis, it’s important to have it enabled. If you’re trying to figure out why your copy-paste is not working and the possible solutions, you’ll find the answers you need in this article.

Have you ever had problems with copy-paste on your computer? Tell us in the comment section below.

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