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I'm one of today's best-selling computer book writers, with more than 15 million books in print.

This website keeps you up-to-date on my books, and your computers. Each week, I answer a reader's question on-line.

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Where’s the Clipboard Viewer in Windows XP?

Clipboard ViewerFor some reason, Windows XP messed up the Clipboard Viewer. It’s barely listed on the Help menus, and it isn’t installed automatically when you upgrade to Windows XP. Even when you tell Windows to install it from its CD, it doesn’t put a Clipboard Viewer icon on the menu. And that’s a shame, as the viewer is a handy way to see exactly what’s on your clipboard.

Windows XP’s Clipboard Viewer is called the “Clipbook Viewer,” and although flawed, it lets you see what’s on your Clipboard. Here’s how to put Windows XP’s Clipbook Viewer onto your Start menu:

  1. Click the Start menu button and open My Computer.
  2. Open your C drive. (It’s listed in the Hard Disk Drives section.)
  3. Double-click on the Windows folder. (You might have to tell it to let you see what’s inside.)
  4. Double-click on the System32 folder. (Again, you might have to tell it to let you see what’s inside.)
  5. Scroll down the page until you locate a file named clipbrd or clipbrd.exe.
  6. Right-click that file and choose “Pin to Start menu.” (Or, drag and drop the clipbrd file onto your Start button. Just let go of your mouse button when the dragged program’s icon points at the Start button.)

When you open your Start menu, the Clipbrd program’s icon will appear near the top.

To put a shortcut to that file on your Desktop,  right-click the Clipbrd file, choose SendTo, and choose Desktop (Create Shortcut).

Whenever you want to see exactly what’s being stored on your Clipboard, double-click on that icon. The Clipbook Viewer will appear, letting you peek at its contents.

Note: Microsoft seems to have stripped the Clipbook Viewer of the advanced features found in older versions. You can’t “stockpile” multiple clips, for instance, or swap clips with networked computers. (The program’s Help menu still says you can do things, oddly enough.) But if you just want to see what’s on your Clipboard, the stripped-down Clipbook Viewer works fine.

A more technical note: A reader writes this:

“In your writeup titled ‘Where’s the Clipboard Viewer in Windows XP?’ I suggest that you add to it that sometimes the clipbrd file has not been expanded as was my case. I found the file (XP) in directory: I386 named as clipbrd.ex_ I told it to expand clipbrd.ex_ clipbrd.exe and copied the file to the “system32″ directory and followed your suggestion.”


Comment from Rich O
Time May 19, 2010 at 6:17 pm

Do you think that the XP clipboard interacts with the Office clipboard? I ask because (sometimes) my clipboard can’t update it’s contents with an image.
It goes like this:
I’ve highlighted a bit of text and used Ctrl-C to copy it to the clipboard.
{I can see this text in the clipboard viewer}
I use ALT-PrntScrn to capture an image.
{clipboard viewer shows this image}
but when I try to paste the image the contents of the clipboard reverts to the text that I had highlighted previously.
(Actually the clipboard reverts at the moment that I make any window other than the one holding the image active)
Deleting the contents of the clipboard (inside the clipboard viewer) does not help. Neither does killing all windows except the image and the clipboard viewer.

I’m running XP 64 bit SP2, and I have Office 2000 installed.

Comment from Andy Rathbone
Time May 19, 2010 at 7:18 pm

Rich, Microsoft introduced a new clipboard viewer in Office 2000, so Windows XP’s clipboard probably interacts in some way with the Office 2000 clipboard viewer. I’m not sure of the intricacies involved. Office 2000’s Clipboard Viewer stores up to 12 items or 4 MB, whichever comes first. You might find an answer by turning off Office 2000’s clipboard viewer, or by poking around these pages from Microsoft about the Office 2000 clipboard:

Turn Office Clipboard command options on or off

How to use the Office 2000 Clipboard

How to prevent the Office Clipboard toolbar from appearing when you use
multiple Copy commands in any Office 2000 program

Turn off the Office Clipboard

Comment from garth
Time June 10, 2010 at 9:17 am

a life saver thanks garth s-africa

Comment from David
Time July 1, 2010 at 7:49 am

Thanks for that info. I have been wondering about that on and off for a few years.

Comment from Ed
Time July 21, 2010 at 2:33 am

Thanks much. I’ve been kinda wodering about that.
Thanks again.

Comment from Janet Howard
Time September 24, 2010 at 12:00 pm

Thanks for being there when I need you. I can’t tell you how many times your blog has helped!

Comment from Shailesh Ingle
Time September 30, 2010 at 10:46 am

thanks realy helpful

Comment from drchoc
Time November 1, 2010 at 8:55 am

Thanks hundredfold for this great help. I could not find info re clipboard anywhere else, even in windows documents. Your site is now in my ‘favorites’.

Comment from Peggy
Time November 16, 2010 at 7:40 am

Thank you so much Andy your instructions are very clear and easy to follow and I do appreciate that.

Comment from Max Kellermann
Time December 24, 2010 at 1:28 pm

Thanks Andy,..you are the best in helping
to solve my PC problem to find the Clipboard ! Again many thanks !

Comment from Mike
Time January 15, 2011 at 3:00 am

Thank you for that!!

Comment from static brain
Time January 24, 2011 at 2:42 am

Thank you so much. I was going crazy trying to find the clipboard. I kept trying to copy and paste and something and all I could get was a previously copied url. Without your help I would have been at a loss. I needed that clipboard viewer to delete the old url so I could copy new info. You are a lifesaver.

Comment from Suzanne
Time February 4, 2011 at 2:39 pm

This is not working for me. I don’t have folder; I have an “application” and it just gets hung up. My problem is periodically, I can no longer copy and paste (no way to clear the clipboard if you can’t find it). It somehow resolves mysteriously after a few days but I don’t know how. Any suggestions. We use XP and I have Office 2007. Our company won’t go to Windows 7 for a while.

Comment from Andy Rathbone
Time February 4, 2011 at 3:06 pm

Suzanne, have you tried restarting your computer? That should clear the clipboard, letting you copy and paste again.

Comment from LR
Time March 16, 2011 at 7:15 am

Thank you for directions about how to put Clip board onto desktop. I had no idea how to do this. Your information was very specific and easy to understand.

Comment from PATRICK
Time April 16, 2011 at 10:18 am

thanks a lot mr andy. i found the clipboard.

Comment from Ben
Time June 29, 2011 at 8:49 am

I have windows 7 and this advice worked swimmingly. Thank you so much. Was translating from english to dutch and could not find were my translations went to.

Comment from Faye
Time August 19, 2011 at 3:53 pm

Thx. I got the clipboard but cannot copy content to an e-mail (I was instructed in an error from roboform to cut and paste to their bug dept but cannot cut/copy or paste from clipboard.)

Comment from Andy Rathbone
Time August 26, 2011 at 9:41 am

Faye: It sounds like you have an image on your clipboard, and Roboform’s bug department will only accept text. In that case, you won’t be able to paste the screenshot. You should contact Roboform and see if they’ll let you e-mail the picture as an attachment, instead.

Comment from Daud
Time August 25, 2011 at 12:43 am

Thanks Andy, its such a helpful little tool I was looking for it for a long time

Comment from pam
Time September 9, 2011 at 5:36 pm

I get messages saying my clip board is full, but after following your instructions and going to the file, nothing is there.

Comment from Andy Rathbone
Time September 14, 2011 at 5:31 pm

Pam, what’s the exact wording of the error message you’re seeing? And what version of Windows are you using?

Comment from Muraga Maphaha
Time September 16, 2011 at 2:11 am

Yoh, thank you very much, that was so helpful…:)

Comment from Chris Knowles
Time September 17, 2011 at 8:58 am

Thanks for that Matey

Comment from Malayanil
Time October 11, 2011 at 7:19 am

Thank you but it is not there in XP service pack 3

Comment from Andy Rathbone
Time October 18, 2011 at 3:04 pm

Malayanil, the file is indeed included with Windows XP Service Pack 3. However, if you bought your computer with Windows XP preinstalled, the manufacturer may have left out that file.

You can even find the Clipboard Viewer file in the “Windows XP Mode” that’s installable through Windows 7.

Comment from Sam Wang
Time October 14, 2011 at 4:10 am

I’ve found clipboard but I cannot view my screeenshots. How can I view it?

Comment from Andy Rathbone
Time October 18, 2011 at 2:28 pm

Sam, if you can’t see your screenshots with the Clipboard Viewer, then my guess is that your screenshots aren’t making it onto the Clipboard.

Comment from Steve
Time October 26, 2011 at 3:37 pm

“I’ve found clipboard but I cannot view my screeenshots. How can I view it?”

Launch and Paste into Paint

Comment from Tanveer Gilani
Time December 15, 2011 at 10:25 pm

o thanx sir g you solved my big big problem
thanx again

Comment from dositheus
Time December 26, 2011 at 11:00 pm

thanks for that info I wish I had discovered earlier!

Comment from shereen
Time March 27, 2012 at 5:16 am

I wanted to see atleast the last three items that I copied. I am seeing only one and if I copy again, the earlier text gets overwritten. Is this how this is supposed to work .. if so, how can I see a record of my last ten “CTRL-C” or copy actions?

Comment from Andy Rathbone
Time March 27, 2012 at 11:35 am

Shereen, Windows’ built-in clipboard can only handle one item at a time. If you need to see the last three things you’ve copied, you’ll need a clipboard program from a third-party.

Comment from grandpa phil
Time June 30, 2012 at 11:31 pm

I just want to re-iterate all the praise I read above, for your AWESOME blog. U really ARE very clear & helpfu. G-d Bless U

Comment from Rakesh
Time August 6, 2012 at 8:24 am

Thanks it was quite helpfull, bcoz its very ease 2 understand

Comment from Bryan
Time November 3, 2012 at 4:56 am

Thanks for this info Andy, I also have a periodic issue with Paintshop pro x5 in that i hit print screen and when i come to paste it get only a blank screen picture in black??

Comment from Andy Rathbone
Time November 3, 2012 at 10:50 am

Brian: I’m not familiar with the Paintshop Pro x5 issue. I’m still using Paintshop 4 from 1996. It works fine with screen captures. The only only time I’ve seen problems with PrtScrn is when capturing videos. Some video cards do some tricks to accelerate the video, which keeps PrtScrn from working correctly.

Comment from usman
Time November 11, 2012 at 12:54 am

thanks man 🙂

Comment from Nikki Beaumont
Time May 29, 2013 at 2:02 am


Comment from Phil
Time August 19, 2014 at 10:22 am

Thank You! Good easy tutorial. PCQ

Comment from mark
Time August 17, 2017 at 6:17 pm

Why the #%&* would the wizards at ms require such an expedition to find the clip board? Thanks your simple explanation I’ve found it.

Comment from cheetahkit
Time September 28, 2017 at 2:39 pm

All I see is:


….which is it?!

Comment from Andy Rathbone
Time September 29, 2017 at 8:50 am

Cheetahkit: I wrote this article back in 2009 for people using Windows XP. It may be out of date for newer Windows versions or even for Windows XP.

Comment from Roger Grimes
Time August 25, 2018 at 4:49 am

My XP machine in System 32 file only lists clip.exe When clicked (or double clicked) it tells me “Clip.exe is not a valid application.

Comment from sam
Time December 2, 2019 at 10:04 pm

how do i see the clipboard history on windows xp??

Comment from Andy Rathbone
Time December 5, 2019 at 9:53 am

sam: Windows XP’s Clipboard doesn’t offer a way to see your Clipboard history.

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