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Using the Windows Clipboard in Linux Subsystem on Windows 10

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In the world of operating systems, Windows 10 and Linux are two of the most popular choices. However, there are times when you may need to use both, and that’s where the Linux Subsystem on Windows 10 comes in. This feature allows you to run Linux applications on your Windows 10 system. One of the challenges that arise when using the Linux Subsystem on Windows 10 is the usage of the Windows clipboard. In this article, we will explore how to use the Windows clipboard in the Linux Subsystem on Windows 10.

The Challenge

The Linux Subsystem on Windows 10 does not natively support clipboard operations. This means that you cannot directly copy text from a Linux application to the Windows clipboard. This is a limitation that can be quite frustrating, especially if you need to share information between the two environments.

The Solutions

Despite this limitation, there are several workarounds that you can use to copy text from the Linux Subsystem to the Windows clipboard. These include using clip.exe, Xming, X410, and creating a custom script.

Using clip.exe

The clip.exe command is a Windows utility that allows you to copy text to the Windows clipboard. You can use this command in the Linux Subsystem to copy text to the clipboard. Here’s how:

cat filePath | clip.exe

In this command, cat filePath reads the content of the file located at filePath, and | clip.exe pipes this content to the clip.exe command, which copies it to the Windows clipboard. You can replace filePath with the path to the file whose content you want to copy.

This method was suggested in WSL issue #1069 and has been confirmed to work by users.

Utilizing Xming

Xming is an X Window server for Windows that allows you to run X applications. You can use Xming to copy text to the Windows clipboard by configuring the DISPLAY environment variable. Here’s how:

First, set the DISPLAY environment variable:

export DISPLAY=:0

Then, use the xclip command to copy text to the clipboard:

echo "Hello, World!" | xclip -selection clipboard

In this command, echo "Hello, World!" prints the text “Hello, World!”, and | xclip -selection clipboard pipes this text to the xclip command, which copies it to the clipboard.

This method was also mentioned in WSL issue #1069 and has been reported to work.

Using X410

X410 is another X Window server for Windows 10 that allows you to run graphical Linux applications on your Windows desktop. Some users have found X410 to be a good solution for resolving the “Can’t open display” error in WSL.

Creating a Custom Script

Another workaround is to create a custom script that utilizes clip.exe to copy file contents to the clipboard. This involves creating a script with the necessary commands and moving it to your bin directory. Once the script is in place, you can use it to copy file contents to the clipboard.

Conclusion

While the Linux Subsystem on Windows 10 does not natively support clipboard operations, there are several workarounds that you can use to copy text from the Linux Subsystem to the Windows clipboard. These include using clip.exe, Xming, X410, and creating a custom script. By using these workarounds, you can effectively share information between the Linux Subsystem and Windows 10.

Can I directly copy text from a Linux application to the Windows clipboard in the Linux Subsystem on Windows 10?

No, the Linux Subsystem on Windows 10 does not natively support clipboard operations. You cannot directly copy text from a Linux application to the Windows clipboard.

How can I copy text from the Linux Subsystem to the Windows clipboard?

There are several workarounds you can use to copy text from the Linux Subsystem to the Windows clipboard. These include using clip.exe, Xming, X410, and creating a custom script. Please refer to the article for detailed instructions on each method.

How does using `clip.exe` work to copy text to the Windows clipboard?

You can use the clip.exe command in the Linux Subsystem to copy text to the Windows clipboard. The command cat filePath | clip.exe reads the content of the file located at filePath and pipes it to the clip.exe command, which copies it to the Windows clipboard. Replace filePath with the path to the file you want to copy.

What is Xming and how can I utilize it to copy text to the Windows clipboard?

Xming is an X Window server for Windows that allows you to run X applications. You can use Xming to copy text to the Windows clipboard by configuring the DISPLAY environment variable and using the xclip command. Please refer to the article for detailed instructions on how to set up and use Xming.

What is X410 and how can it help with clipboard operations in the Linux Subsystem on Windows 10?

X410 is another X Window server for Windows 10 that allows you to run graphical Linux applications on your Windows desktop. Some users have found X410 to be a good solution for resolving the "Can’t open display" error in the Linux Subsystem on Windows 10, which can potentially help with clipboard operations. Please refer to the article for more information on using X410.

How can I create a custom script to copy file contents to the clipboard?

To create a custom script, you will need to include the necessary commands to utilize clip.exe and move the script to your bin directory. Once the script is in place, you can use it to copy file contents to the clipboard. Please refer to the article for detailed instructions on creating and using a custom script.

Are there any other methods to copy text from the Linux Subsystem to the Windows clipboard?

The article covers the most commonly used methods for copying text from the Linux Subsystem to the Windows clipboard. However, there may be other methods or tools available that are not mentioned. It is always recommended to explore and research further if none of the provided methods meet your requirements.

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