16 Fixes When Ctrl+C & Ctrl+V Commands Stop Working

There are a number of issues that can cause the Ctrl+C / Ctrl+V commands to stop working.

Most of these are caused by software issues, either at a Windows level or as glitches on individual programs.

Purely as an example, Reddit’s copy/paste function is sometimes finnicky and either won’t allow users to paste text at all, or they can paste the text but it will lose all its formatting.

Below are the most common reasons the Ctrl+C / Ctrl+V commands might not work, and the fixes for each:

Reason 1: Windows glitches, bugs or corrupt files

Fix 1: Restart your PC. It could simply be a one-time caching issue that won’t repeat itself.

Fix 2: Check the Windows installation drive for errors

  1. Open ‘This PC’ from your desktop or Start menu.
  2. Right-click on the drive you wish to scan (usually the C: drive), and click on ‘Properties’.
  3. Switch to the ‘Tools’ tab and click on the ‘Check’ button under ‘Error checking’.
  4. Click on ‘Scan drive’. Windows will then check for and fix any errors it finds.
  5. If this doesn’t work, follow the steps below.

Fix 3: Check Windows Partition for errors and corrupt files using SFC Scannow and CHKDSK in Command Prompt

  1. Press the ‘Windows Key’, type ‘cmd’ or ‘Command Prompt’ in the search box. Right-click on ‘Command Prompt’ and select ‘Run as administrator’.
  2. In the command prompt window, type sfc /scannow and then press ‘Enter’. This command will scan all protected system files and replace the corrupted files.
  3. The System File Checker will take some time to run. Do not close the Command Prompt window during this process.
  1. If you’ve closed it after running SFC, open the Command Prompt again as an administrator.
  2. In the command prompt window, type chkdsk C: /f /r and then press ‘Enter’. The /f parameter tells the tool to fix any errors it finds, and /r tells it to locate bad sectors and recover readable information.
  3. It will ask if you want to schedule the disk check for the next time you restart your computer. Type ‘Y’ and press ‘Enter’. The disk check will be performed the next time you restart your computer.
  4. If you had to schedule the disk check, save any open files and close all programs, then restart your computer. The disk check will begin as the computer starts up.

Fix 4: Run rdpclip.exe and dwm.exe.

  1. Info: rdpclip.exe and dwm.exe are two native, default Windows executable files that govern the clipboard and how Windows works in general.  Rebooting them might help to restart the Ctrl C/ Ctrl V function.
  2. Go to file explorer.
  3. Go to C:\Windows\System32
  4. Now, search rdpclip in the search bar.
  5. Right Click on rdpclip.exe and Choose Run as Administrator.
  6. Repeat the process for ‘dwm.exe’.

Fix 5: Repair the Windows installation

  1. Backup any important data before proceeding.
  2. Insert your Windows installation disc or USB stick, and restart your computer.
  3. During boot, press the key (usually F12, F10 or ESC) that opens the boot menu and select your installation disc or USB stick.
  4. Follow the prompts until you reach ‘Repair your computer’. Click it and select ‘Startup Repair’.

Reason 2: Conflicting software

Some apps, such as the desktop version of LastPass, Greenshot or even Roblox might overwrite your clipboard settings, and cause conflicts when trying to copy paste.

If this is the case, you’ll pretty much have to comb through every single program you have installed to see which one disables your Ctrl C / Ctrl V functions.

Fix 1: Disable non-Microsoft apps to see which one causes conflicts

  1. Close every non-essential program currently active (browsers, games, work software etc.)
  2. Press Ctrl + Alt + Delete and select “Task Manager”. Close any app or background process that is non-Windows essential. If you don’t feel comfortable closing an app or process, then don’t and continue the following steps.
  3. After closing apps and processes, test the Ctrl C/ Ctrl V function. If it works, it means one of
  4. If the app doesn’t have these options, you may need to uninstall the app through ‘Control Panel > Uninstall a program’.

Fix 2: Do a Clean Boot to find which program causes errors.

A clean boot will restart your PC, but will also prevent any program you choose from booting up at runtime.

This means non-essential programs will be disabled, allowing you to figure out which one is responsible for you not having the copy/paste function.

This can be tedious since you’ll have to do multiple clean boots and test each program one at a time until you find the culprit.

To perform a clean boot, follow this clean boot guide from Microsoft.

Reason 3: The Clipboard feature is bugged out or disabled.

Every time you use the “Copy” feature, the text will be saved to an “invisible” Clipboard. To activate the clipboard, simply press “Windows Key + V”.

Fix 1: If the Clipboard doesn’t appear, then it’s likely some of your Windows files got corrupted. If the Clipboard does appear, but nothing you copy appears in it, then you’re likely having a software conflict.

Fix 2: Clearing your clipboard can be a good way to fix any issues with copying and pasting. For Windows, you can use the command cmd /c “echo off | clip” in the Command Prompt.

  1. Search cmd in the Windows search box. Right click and run as administrator.
  2. Type the following command in the prompt and press Enter:  cmd /c “echo off | clip”
  3. Test to see if your Ctrl C / Ctrl V keys are working.

Fix 3: Disable Sticky Keys since they can conflict with various commands.

  1. Press the Shift key five times in a row, or
  2. Go to ‘Settings > Ease of Access > Keyboard’ and switch off ‘Sticky Keys’.

Reason 4: The site or document doesn’t allow copying text from it.

Fix 1: Some sites run special software in the background that disables a user’s ability to copy the text from the page. If other sites allow you to copy their text, this means your target site has copy protection.

Fix 2:  The document doesn’t support copying, either because the text is photo scanned (common in PDF’s), or the document is protected and doesn’t allow editing.

Reason 5: Faulty hardware, outdated drivers or bad settings.

Fix 1: It’s possible either the Ctrl or the C key on your keyboard is faulty. Use https://keyboardchecker.com/  to see if all your keys are in working order.

Fix 2: It’s possible your copy / paste function doesn’t work because of outdated drivers. To fix this:

  1. Click on Windows Search bar -> find Device Manager -> find Keyboards -> Right Click and press Update Driver.
  2. If multiple “keyboards” appear in the dropdown, update all of them.  
  3. Test to see if your Ctrl C / Ctrl V keys are working.

Fix 3: Re-enable the Ctrl shortcut keys

For whatever reasons, it’s possible the Ctrl shortcut keys were disabled in your Windows installation. To re-enable the Ctrl shortcut keys, follow these steps:

  1. Press “Windows + R”, type “cmd” and press “Enter”.
  2. Right click the title bar and select “Properties”.
  3. In the “Options” tab, click “Enable Ctrl Key Shortcuts”.
  4. Test to see if your Ctrl C / Ctrl V keys are working.

Fix 4: Run the Keyboard Troubleshooter (Windows 11)

Windows 11 comes with a built-in keyboard troubleshooting feature to detect and correct any keyboard configuration issues.

To run the keyboard troubleshooter:

  1. Press Win + I to open “Settings”.
  2. In the “System” tab, scroll down and press on “Troubleshoot”.
  3. Next, press on “Other troubleshooters”.
  4. Scroll down to “Keyboard” and click on “Run” button.
  5. Wait for the troubleshooter to scan and fix any errors your keyboard might have.
Paul Bonea
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