When you copy something in Windows and paste it somewhere else, the data you have on the digital Clipboard doesn’t disappear. If you want to clear out your Windows clipboard history and keep your clipboard to yourself, there are several different ways to do this.
What is Clipboard History?
The Clipboard is a temporary storage place for data when you are copying and pasting items. In previous versions of Windows, you could not keep a record of what you copied. Whenever you put something into the Clipboard, the last entry was deleted.
The October 2018 update first gave users the ability to keep a history of items and text you had copied. You can go back and paste an item more than once or pin items that you paste more frequently to the panel so you won’t delete them by mistake.
You can check whether your computer has Clipboard history enabled by pressing Win + V while in any program. If the box that appears says you need to enable history, your machine is only saving one item at a time. You can enable the history by clicking the button.
Should You Delete the History?
The ability to save a history of your copied items has a lot of advantages, so why should you think about deleting that history (or part of it)?
First of all, large amounts of data on the Clipboard reduces the amount of memory available. The Clipboard can hold up to 4MB. Having the Clipboard full can slow down your computer.
If you are using someone else’s computer, you don’t want to leave your clipboard items where the owner can see them, especially if they were personal.
Do you let anyone else use your computer? They have access to what is on the Clipboard. If you have confidential or sensitive data on there, It remains available and can be seen by everyone using the device.
Lastly, if you copied and pasted a password, it will be available for others to see in the history.
How to Delete Part or All Clipboard History
To fix these issues, you can clear the history that your computer is storing. There are several different ways to do this.
Add an Empty Item to Clipboard History
This method will add an empty item to the clipboard history so that you can’t paste anything. It doesn’t delete the entire history – it just makes it impossible for someone to access your last pasted item.
- Press the Win + R keys to open the Run box.
cmd /c "echo off | clip"
- Click OK.
Clear All Clipboard History
To clear all the entries on your Clipboard, use the Clipboard settings menu.
- Type Clipboard in the search box.
- Click on the Clipboard settings icon.
- Scroll to the bottom of the window and click Clear.
Clear Specific Items
You can choose to delete only one or two images or clips at a time instead of clearing the entire history, too. To do this, you can use the Clipboard panel.
- Press Win + V.
- Click on the three dots in the upper-right corner of the item you want to delete.
- Click Delete.
You can also delete the entire history from this panel by clicking the “Clear all” option.
Although the Clipboard isn’t something you probably think about often, be aware that what you copy and paste can be accessed by anyone. It doesn’t have a separate security option.
If you don’t want to worry about someone accessing your Clipboard history, and you don’t think you will have many reasons to go back and paste something more than once, you can turn the option off. Open the Clipboard history and toggle the switch off.
If copy and paste are not working on your machine, you can read more about how to fix the copy and paste problems in Windows.