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    3 solutions for when copy and paste doesn't work on Mac

    Who I am
    Valery Aloyants
    @valeryaloyants

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    Using copy and paste is probably one of the first things you must have learned to save time. While that makes the job easy, we can only imagine how devastating it can be when copy and paste doesn't work. If you can't copy and / or paste text, files, and other content to your MacBook, please read this post to learn how to fix it. You may be wondering why your MacBook can't copy and / or paste something. This happens for a myriad of reasons, including glitches with certain system processes, bugs, etc. Before proceeding to the solutions, make sure you copy and paste the right way, using the correct shortcuts: Command + C to copy, Command + X to cut, and Command + V to paste.




    If these combinations don't work, perhaps because you have a faulty keyboard, use the Edit function on the menu bar to complete the copy and paste actions. Click Edit on the menu bar and select the appropriate actions you want to perform. If you are still unable to copy or paste text or files using keyboard shortcuts or the Edit function on your Mac, go to the section below for solutions.

    1. Force close the Pasteboard Server

    Pboard is short for Pasteboard Server. This program facilitates the exchange of information on your Mac. When you copy or cut data from an application, the Pasteboard server temporarily stores the content. This same program makes copied content available when you paste it into an application. Think of it as your Mac's clipboard.

    If the copy and paste functionality is not working properly on your Mac, the pasteboard server may have some problems. So, stopping the Pasteboard server might help. This will update it and hopefully the copy and paste functionality will work on your Mac again.




    There are two ways to end the pboard process on a Mac.

    Force close Pasteboard server via Activity Monitor

    Follow the steps below to stop the pasteboard server from Activity Monitor.

    Step 1: do click Go on the menu bar and select Utilities.


    Step 2: do double-click on Activity Monitor.

    Step 3: type pboard in the Activity Monitor search box and double-click pboard in the results window.

    Step 4: do click the Exit button.


    Step 5: finally, select Force Quit.

    This will close the server process and restart it immediately.

    Final report: Force quitting pboard will delete the recently copied content stored in the pasteboard server memory. Before closing pboard, make sure you still have access to the copied content, so you can easily copy it back when pboard returns.

    Force close Pasteboard server via terminal

    You can also use the Terminal app to update the pboard process. That's how.

    Step 1: do click Go on the menu bar and select Utilities.

    Step 2: do double click on Terminal.

    Step 3: paste the following into the terminal console and hit Enter on your keyboard.

    sudo killall pboard

    When you need to enter your system's administrative password to use that command.


    And this is all. The Pasteboard server will be shut down and restarted automatically from your Mac. Now try copying and pasting the content and see if it works.


    Note that: Pasteboard server is also responsible for drag and drop operations on your Mac. So if you are unable to drag and drop files to your MacBook, force quitting pboard may help solve the problem.

    2. Terminate the Windowserver process

    We have found that some affected Mac users who have similar problems may get Copy and Paste working again by stopping the WindowServer process. You can try if force quitting pboard doesn't fix the problem. Follow the steps below to do this.


    Final report: we highly recommend that you save any ongoing activity on your Mac before proceeding. This is because stopping the WindowServer process will immediately disconnect you from your Mac and close all active windows. You will then be prompted to log in with your Mac password. When you do this, closed apps and windows will automatically reopen and you may lose unsaved activities.

    Step 1: do click Go on the menu bar and select Utilities.

    Step 2: do double-click on Activity Monitor.

    Step 3: type windowserver in the search box and double-click WindowServer.

    Step 4: do click the Exit button.

    Step 5: Finally, tap Force Quit.

    3. Restart the MAC

    If you still can't copy or paste the content despite updating the mount server, restart your Mac. Save all ongoing activity, click the Apple logo in the top right corner of the menu bar, and select Restart.


    Check if copy and paste now works when your Mac turns on again.

    Have your MAC checked

    If none of the above methods solve the problem, you should go to an Apple Authorized Service Center near you to have your Mac checked for complex software or hardware issues. It is also recommended that you update your Mac's operating system to the latest version to eliminate bugs that cause copy and paste to fail.

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