Clipboard emptied every time I open Word or Excel

I am plagued by some very strange behaviour in Word 2007 (and other Office 2007 apps). Scenario is that I am in some other application (IE, Outlook, anything really). I copy some text or whatever onto the clipboard. I then launch Word, for example, and when I go to paste the thing I just copied I cannot because there is no Paste option available to me. I then have to go back to wherever I was before and copy the text again THEN I can paste it.

Does anyone know how to stop this, very annoying, behaviour?

Thanks in advance.



Yes, the Person Name Smart Tag is a standard component and it wouldn't exhibit this behavior. More than likely you're encountering a COM Add-in that has been installed per-machine instead of per-user and these may not display in the Add-ins list. If you want to quickly check this prior to following the steps below, copy something and then when you start Word or Excel hold the Ctrl key while the application starts. Continue holding until you're prompted to open in Safe Mode. If the contents of the Clipboard remain then you may be able to find the add-in by modifying your Security Settings which will enable to to take note of each add-in as your start Word or Excel. The instructions below are for Word but can easily be adapted for Excel:

  1. Start Word without Safe Mode
  2. Click the Office Button then Word Options.
  3. Click Trust Center, and then click the Trust Center Settings button.
  4. On the Trusted Publisher tab, remove any Trusted Publishers that are listed. (You can easily add them back later if necessary)
  5. On the Trusted Locations tab, make a note of each Trusted Location and remove each one.* (See note below before actually removing your locations)
  6. On the Macro Settings tab, makes sure Disable all macros with notification is selected.
  7. Exit Word and restart normally.
  8. When prompted to Enable/Disable macros note file name and location of the add-in displayed in the message box. 
    • Add-ins that start with F*.DLL, such as FStock.DLL, FName.DLL are for smart tags and have not been known to cause errors.
    • Enable/Disable macros at your discretion. They do not need to enabled to determine the location and name however they will need to be enabled in order to test your troubleshooting results.
  9. If you find an unknown add-in, first check Add Remove Programs or Programs and Features in the Control Panel and if you find an entry for the Add-in uninstall it. If it's not listed, locate the add-in using the path noted in the message box and rename it to prevent it from loading. Note: Rename the file extension rather than the file name. For example change SomeAddIn.DLL to SomeAddIn.DLLDoNotLoad.

You can use the same steps for Excel. The same add-in file may be used for both applications but it's possible there are two different add-ins.

* You'll need to manually add your trusted locations again after you've found the add-in so you may want to write the locations and file names down. Ideally you should be able to select Disable all Trusted Locations at the bottom of the dialog box instead of taking this step but this option doesn't disable the default trusted locations. (Although I think it works correctly in Excel so you may want to use these steps for Excel first.)

If the previous steps didn't find the add-in then to dig even deeper:

Use a third-party utility to view all DLLs in use while Word/Excel is running such as the Process Explorer available for download at this location: 
1. Start Word
2. Run the Process Explorer utility
3. In the upper pane select Winword.exe or Excel.exe
4. Locate the View DLLs command in the Toolbar
5. In the lower pane locate the DLLs and see if you can determine which DLL could be causing the issue
6. Locate the path for the DLL in a column on the right
7. Follow the steps provided above to disable the add-in
Note: If you find the View Handles command then you are already viewing the DLLs in use.

Also, if you want to put this off until you have more time, you can also try disabling all macros and add-ins in the Trust Center temporarily. Of course this will disable all additional functionality but at least you'll be able to work without the frustration of the Windows Clipboard clearing each time the applications start.


~Beth Melton Microsoft Office MVP
~Beth Melton

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Question Info

Last updated July 31, 2020 Views 6,381 Applies to: