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My system is kept fully up to date and I still see this problem intermittently, although not as often as I used to; I would say that this has not been fully fixed. If there are any workarounds other than rebooting, this would be a good place to collect them. This has previously been closed and re-opened due to demand.

Cutting and copying do not always seem to change the content of the clipboard, whether triggered from a keyboard shortcut, a menu option, or even drag and drop. At the least this results in sometimes praying the wrong information, at worst it results in cut randomly acting like a delete key. The behavior as I have observed started out as staying to randomly occur and then consistently happen until the system is rebooted, for all programs including finder and the it seems to stay randomly and then intermittently but at a high frequency occur, again regardless of program.

Searching on google produces no useful results for this issue.

Copied from Drag & drop and cut & paste not working [closed] so that others may find this question in search

Possible Duplicate:
Can anyone explain this clipboard behaviour?

This is weird. I'm on OSX Lion, and sometimes both drag & drop and cut & paste stop working, at the same time. They stop working in any program, not just the Finder. And it's not just the shortcut: if I try to right click and select "Copy" it doesn't work either.

This has happened three times so far. A reboot fixes it, but it's annoying at best. Any solution?

Does anyone know of any way to fix this, or otherwise how to report this to apple?

@bmike I have removed other questions, I had this issue on a series of Macs, both iMacs and unibody MBPs, under OSX 10.7 and 10.8. I no longer use OSX so can't really contribute any more to this question.

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closed as too broad by bmike Apr 6 at 22:43

There are either too many possible answers, or good answers would be too long for this format. Please add details to narrow the answer set or to isolate an issue that can be answered in a few paragraphs.If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

Let's tighten this up. It continues to get "me too" answers. First up would be to edit out all the side questions. Asking if others have the problem is not good for this site. Choose whether you want to focus this on how to troubleshoot the issue or how to report a bug to Apple but not both. –  bmike Apr 6 at 22:44

4 Answers 4

  1. Sometimes you're not allowed to copy and paste from certain places (websites, Java, Flash content, etc.)
  2. It is flashing because you're holding the Cmd+C down too long. Press it once.

If this is still a problem, you should try a third party application for a clipboard utility from a site like MacUpdate.

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"It is flashing because you're holding the Cmd+C down too long." Huh? No, keyboard shortcuts always highlight their parent menu item. Unless the OP meant "flashing repeatedly", but I didn't get it that way. Plus, most third party apps interact with OS X's base clipboard to add history to it, so if something's broken there, it won't change anything. –  MattiSG Nov 21 '11 at 18:17
I do only press it briefly - what I meant is that when I am looking at the top of the screen when I do it, I see the menu item appear selected for the short duration while the keys are both depressed. I have installed Jumpcut now as it at least lets me know if I have copied what I expected to. –  theheadofabroom Nov 22 '11 at 10:29

Al, several things.

  1. what version of Lion are you using:

Apple Menu > About this mac.

  1. Have you checked for software updates?

System Preferences > Software Update.

  1. Have you repaired permissions?

Finder > Applications > Utilities > Disk Utility.

(These are basic troubleshooting steps for any mac issue by the way).

Then, when you think something hasn't been captured by the copy command, could you open TextEdit (Applications > TextEdit), and paste to there...

Finally, if something is funky, it often helps to create a test user account (System Preferences > Users and Groups), and see if the behavior repeats there. Let us know. Hope this helps get you started with things..

Oh one more thought, without reading everything again, I presume you've tried this with both the keyboard and the mouse.. Could it be that one of them is a bit sketchy? For example, open up TextEdit, and try typing the c key over and over, and then the p key..

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Lion 10.7.2, AFAIK everything is up to date, I'll have a check on permissions but I was trying to copy and paste text between different/the same text documents. It's not the keyboard either - mousing displays the same intermittent bug –  theheadofabroom Dec 5 '11 at 13:04
I'm seeing this exact behavior with 10.7.4 still. –  Ken Jun 11 '12 at 14:39
If rebooting fixes the problem, then either it's not touching disk (likely), or OS X repairs permissions on reboot (unlikely), and in either case I'm not sure how "repairing permissions" on its own would be relevant. –  Ken Jun 11 '12 at 14:42

Apple appears to have introduced a bug into this particular point in their frameworks, I do also experience this bug often after having relaunched certain applications. The reason copy/paste and drag and drop stop working at the same time is because they are both a function of the NSPasteboard API.

If you go to the finder under Edit>Show Clipboard, and the contents is none even after having copied something then the component of the OS responsible for handeling pasteboard events has crashed. This is beyond your control, a work arround may exist by manually reloading the required component using launched, however the simplest solution is to save what you're doing reboot.

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This seems to have the most information on the problem to date - if anyone has any information on how to restart the responsible service, that would be appreciated :) –  theheadofabroom Dec 21 '12 at 12:05
As written in the other answer, there is the service Restarting this alone did not resolve the problem for me. However, a combination of the following did work (not sure what it needs): killall pbs (restart service, killall pboard, restart the application which want to use the clipboard (at least this is mandatory) –  Albert Jan 20 at 12:52
Get this man a beer! –  gprasant Jun 22 at 16:16

Based on this post, the following worked for me.

Check if the pboard daemon is running:

launchctl list | grep

If the pboard daemon is running, then stop and start it. If it's not running, start it:

launchctl stop
launchctl start

Then, you may need to restart the application(s) where cut-and-paste is not working.

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This worked for me on Mountain Lion (10.8.5). I believe this answer deserves more attention. It's worth emphasizing that applications need to be restarted individually - it may be easiest to restart with the "Reopen windows..." option on. –  duozmo Jan 12 '14 at 18:27
This fixes the same issue with both copy & paste and drag & drop not working. After running the launchctl commands you'll want to restart Finder (hold alt and right-click on Finder, then click Relaunch) as well as the apps that were copying from and pasting too. This is far less inconvenient than restarting each time. For the record, this only started occurring for me when I installed a Windows game using Crossover. –  Robin Hawkes Jun 1 at 3:23

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