How to Increase the Size of the Clipboard

By Allen Bethea

If Windows 8 flashes the "Item too large for clipboard" alert whenever you try to copy a large item, expand your clipboard by increasing the size of your system's virtual memory or swap drive via the Windows System utility. As far as the clipboard and applications you run are concerned, virtual memory is the same as real, physical RAM.

Step 1

Sign in as Administrator, right-click the "Start" button and then click "System." Another way to access this utility is to launch the Control Panel, click "System and Security" and then "System."

Step 2

Click "Advanced system settings," then the "Advanced" tab on the System Properties dialog box. The Performance section also has the tools you need to help your system run faster and more efficiently.

Step 3

Click "Settings" in the Performance section and then the "Advanced" tab on the Performance Options dialog. Under the Virtual Memory section, note the paging file description. Windows creates this file on your disk to temporarily hold system and application data.

Step 4

Click "Change" under the Virtual Memory section, then deselect the box labeled "Automatically manage paging file size for all drives" and select "Custom size." The "Currently allocated" amount is the current size of your virtual memory.

Step 5

Set "Initial size" to twice the amount of physical memory your system has installed. For example, if your PC has 3GB or 3,000MB of RAM installed, set the initial virtual memory size to two times 3,000MB, or 6,000MB. As you run programs and utilities, Windows normally increases the size of your virtual memory up to three times the amount of RAM your system contains. If you increase the initial virtual memory yourself, however, your virtual memory and clipboard size do not have to gradually grow to an acceptable level.

Step 6

Set "Maximum size" to four times the amount of physical memory your system has installed. For example, if your PC has 3GB or 3,000MB of RAM installed, set the maximum virtual memory size to four times 3,000MB, or 12,000.

Step 7

Click "Set" and then "OK" to make your change permanent. You don't need to reboot Windows when you increase the initial or maximum size of your virtual memory paging file. If you reduce either setting, however, your change won't take effect until you restart your system.

Step 8

Click "OK" to close the Warning, Performance Options and System properties dialog boxes.

Tips & Warnings

  • Virtual memory is not real RAM, but it does take up actual space on your disk. If your disk storage space is limited, consider reducing your system's RAM requirements by restarting Windows regularly, limiting the number of applications you run simultaneously, removing unnecessary startup utilities and by checking for and removing viruses and spyware. If you add additional physical RAM, however, you may reduce the need for more large, relatively slow virtual memory.