ID #1052

Unexpected copying / capturing when launching application (vb, visual basic, Adobe, Word, Outlook, etc.) (rogue toolbar bitmap icons)

Does this ever happen to you?

You launch an application, and while it loads, you hear a "pop" or "boing" from ClipMate. Maybe you see an error from the application in question saying "can't load xxx" or "can't open clipboard".  When the program is done loading, you have one or more little tiny graphics in ClipMate.  Upon close examination, these graphics look just like some of your toolbar buttons.  Or, it may be modifying the template, without adding any toolbar buttons at all.  You may even find that all of your e-mail messages are copied into ClipMate!

In this case, you've encountered an application or application add-in that uses the clipboard to copy and paste a buttton onto the toolbar.  This is a lame trick, and is documented as such in the "The n Habits of Highly Defective Windows Applications" site.  No application should be overwriting the clipboard like that.  See if you can identify the add-in, and if you can live without it, disable it.  Note that this doesn't necessarily mean that you need to give up the functionality - many add-ins work just fine as stand-alone programs. Adobe Acrobat, for one.

Known culprits:

  • Adobe Acrobat add-in for Word, Outlook, etc..
  • Modified template - see excellent write-up here.
  • Plaxo.  User G. Patel reports that works ok, but the version after that wants to copy every Outloook note to the clipboard.  March 2006 UPDATE:  It seems that Plaxo knows about this, and thinks it's perfectly ok.  See this discussion:,15591048?hilite=clipboard  Plaxo is using the clipboard to copy/paste your e-mails for their purposes, and they seem unrepenatant.  Oh, and by the way, stop sending me those Plaxo invitations to update/confirm my information!
  • The old Microsoft Web Viewer (looks like a pair of eyeglasses) for Word.
  • VB6 comes with some database add-ins.  You'll often hear one pop, and then get a failure notice on the second one.
  • FlowBreeze (Office2000 only). They're aware, and they think it's ok to do this.

What to do?  See if you can live without the add-in.  If so, disable it in the application that loads it. If it's not an add-in, let us know what application is is - leave a comment here, and follow-up with mail to   Notify the program's designers that they are violating proper program design by abusing the clipboard this way.  You CAN have ClipMate skip the capture, but that usually means forfeiting the ability to use ClipMate for screen captures - you have to filter out "bitmap" from the Application Profile for "Windows".


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