Clipboard Enhancements

Given the experience of working on PortICA (XenDesktop) to support the clipboard transactions, there were many new ideas of how this could be handled.  The primary idea for improvement is to support more clipboard formats.  Currently the range of registered formats that can be supported is fairly small.  This leads to either a undesired copy and paste result or even nothing being transferred at all.

Another angle is to improve the clipboard using new Vista APIs to avoid the problem where the clipboard hook gets replaced by a newcomer (when it does not chain properly).  Essentially Microsoft has solved this problem with Vista and RDP.  Now would be great time to extend it for ICA as well.

The registered format that just begs to be supported is HTML Format.  It is used with Internet Explorer and Office and does a good job of capturing the look of the page.  The bad news for our clipboard support is that the text content can point to local files for images.  When the data is sent to the client or the other way around, the local files are not accessible and therefore the image does not appear.

The clipboard code has roots from around 1995 and is due for a bit of a makeover.  I did some work on it during PortICA based on issues but it is clear that it needs more.

While testing massive copy and paste operations it became clear that the clipboard driver needs to provide some kind of feedback to the user about the transfer.  Otherwise it just sits there and does not update the screen even when things are selected or attempted to move.  It looks like it is dead but it isn’t.  Some kind of progress indicator would do wonders.

I’m posting this to gauge interest.  I’d like to forward any new information for the next release of XenDesktop or XenApp.  I’d love to work on this myself but I’m already looking at another project.  I’m just trying to wrap up some of the outcomes of PortICA work.  Either leave a comment or send an email based on the about page.


Live near Brisbane, Australia. Software developer currently focused on iOS and Android. Avid Google Local Guide

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Posted in Clipboard
One comment on “Clipboard Enhancements
  1. Rich Crusco says:

    Hi Jeff

    I would be interested, as I have seen lots of issues with the clipboard over ICA on Vista
    I was using the repair tool from Dimitry Vostokov, for a while.
    But have recenlty been using a registry to key to change the update interval, which seems to have helped a lot.


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