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Create a Shortcut to Easily View the Windows Clipboard

Have you ever wondered what is on your clipboard? Sure, you can open up notepad and try and paste it in, but there’s a simple utility built into Windows XP that you can use to view the contents of the clipboard.

Today we’ll show you how to create a shortcut to this utility, and even how to use it in Vista if you have an old XP installation laying around.

Create Clipboard Shortcut In XP

First right click an empty area on the Desktop and select New Shortcut.

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Next, type in “%windir%System32clipbrd.exe” without the quotes and click next. 

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You will then be asked to name the shortcut and continue.  After you’re done anytime you want to check what is on the Clipboard just double-click the shortcut.

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Enable Clip Book Viewer In Vista

Vista does not include the same executable program as in XP, so to enable this feature in Vista we need to copy clipbrd.exe from XP into the C:WindowsSystem32 directory in Vista as shown below.

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Now we can go ahead and create a shortcut to the Clipboard in Vista. The steps are very similar to XP, first create a new Shortcut on the Desktop.

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Next enter the path to clipbrd.exe which is in C:WindowsSystem32clipbrd.exe and click Next.

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Create a name for the shortcut you will easily remember then hit the Finish button.  Click OK through the remaining windows to get back to the Desktop.

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Taking the idea for another Clipboard article as an additional tip we can change the icon to a Clipboard.  To do this just right click the icon, go to Properties, and Change Icon then browse over to the included icon in Windows.

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Now when we double click our icon we will have access to the ClipBook Viewer.

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If you do not have a working XP machine to copy the file from you can use an XP installation disk.

Open up a command prompt and switch to the I386 folder and type in the following command to extract the compressed file from the CD, adjusting the path depending on your configuration.

extract D:i386clipbrd.ex_ c:filepathclipbrd.exe

Alternatively, if you are using the excellent 7-Zip utility, you can simply browse to the file location and right-click to “Open Archive” in 7-Zip…

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Then you can drag the actual file from here to anywhere you’d like.

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For more clipboard goodness, you can check out Lifehacker’s Top 10 Clipboard Tricks.

Lowell Heddings, better known online as the How-To Geek, spends all his free time bringing you fresh geekery on a daily basis. You can follow him on if you'd like.

  • Published 11/3/08

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