Fix: rdpclip.exe won’t run on Windows Server 2003

I had two identically configured Windows 2003 SP2 servers, one that would allow remote copy/paste from the server to the client via RDP, and one that wouldn’t.  I finally took the time today to resolve the issue once and for all.

First thing I verified was that in the Local Resources tab of Remote Desktop Connection (mstsc.exe)  the connection was set to connect to remote disk drives.
I noticed was that rdpclip.exe was running in task manager on the server that allowed copy/paste, but was not running on the problem server.  Manually executing rdpclip.exe didn’t make a difference in behavior, it wouldn’t even briefly show as a running process in task manager.  I figured this was the problem, but didn’t know how to resolve it.
Next I verified the following registry keys were identical on both servers:
[HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\Terminal Server\AddIns\Clip Redirector]

[HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\Terminal Server\SysProcs]

[HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\Terminal Server\Wds\rdpwd]

Some blog posts suggested the following three services needed to be running in order for interaction with the clipboard viewer that stores the copied data – but they were stopped and disabled on my good server, so I knew that wasn’t the issue.
  • Network DDE DSDM
  • Network DDE
  • ClipBook
I found a nice post on the Terminal Services Team Blog that explains how the clipboard viewer chain can be broken and how to resolve the problem based on observed symptoms, but this really didn’t apply to my situation.
Finally I found this post that describes if the HKLM\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\Terminal Server\Winstations\RDP-Tcp registry key has the  fDisableClip value set to 1, rdpclip.exe will terminate because clipboard mapping is disabled.  I compared the registry and found that on the server I could successfully copy/paste to and from, this value was 0.  On the problem server, this value was set to 1.
On the problem server I changed the 1 to a 0, terminated my client’s remote desktop session and reconnected, and was once again able to copy and paste to and from remote servers!
See Benny Tritsch’s nice page detailing the most important Terminal Server registry keys and values, which outlines the fDisableClip setting and many more.

Comments [12]

  1. It’s important to note that a logoff/logon is required after the fDisableClip registry change.

  2. Thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you, and thank you!!!

    Excellent post! 🙂

  3. Great work!. Well explained.
    Fixed my problem!


  4. After searching for an hour on Google and reading many pages, I found this article and solved the problem in a minute. Many thanks!

  5. Thanks Julie.
    This worked 🙂

    Had almost the same path as you. (Clipbook services, read the function of the viewer chain)
    Nailed it down to the rdpclip.exe could not start and then found your page.

    Thanks again.

  6. Oh, this is great. Finally a solution!
    Needed to manualy launch rdpclip.exe though!

  7. A while searching, and you had the answer. And a nice job explaining it. Thanks a lot, BRT.

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