I am using Emacs 24.4 on Windows 10. I only ever use it in -nw (no-window) mode.

I would like Emacs to paste from the Windows clipboard only on Shift-Insert and not on yank (Ctrl-y). I have tried this:

(setq x-select-enable-clipboard nil)
(setq x-select-enable-primary nil)

but this disables pasting from the Windows clipboard on both Shift-Insert and yank. I want Shift-Insert to paste only from the Window clipboard and yank to paste only from the Emacs kill ring.

Here is an example of what I want:

  1. Copy the text hello to the Windows clipboard.
  2. Start emacs.
  3. Do a yank (Ctrl-y); desired result: nothing is inserted.
  4. Do a Shift-Insert; desired result: hello is inserted.

Is this possible? If so, how?

2 Answers 2


By default (at least in Emacs 25), <S-Insert> is bound to the same command as C-y: they both invoke the yank command.

You could try rebinding one of the them to clipboard-yank instead.

(global-set-key (kbd "<S-Insert>") #'clipboard-yank)
  • This does not achieve my desired result, namely, that the yank buffer is separate from the clipboard buffer. Binding the key as you suggest, I still get the clipboard buffer when I do a yank.
    – rlandster
    Jan 25, 2017 at 4:26

Try simpleclip. I believe it does exactly what you want, keeping a distinct clipboard to interact with the system, separate from emacs's kill ring.

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