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Question  Is Clippy a virus?

NO, Clippy is not a virus. Its a joke or prank program intended to entertainment purposes only.

The definition of a virus is an unwanted computer program that was written to purposely damage computer systems or replicate itself. A virus is usually manifested by a destructive or disruptive effect on the executable program that it affects. Clippy is not a virus!. Clippy does no harm, does no damage and is not destructive. Clippy might be disruptive to the victim you play the prank on, but that is the intention of a joke or prank. Clippy is simply a fun gag program that is completely harmless. We would not be in business for 15+ years if we created viruses. We will challenge any anti-virus company that claims our software is a virus and causes damage to computer systems.

Read this FAQ to see our response to major anti-virus vendors flagging our software is a "virus". You need to look closely at your anti-virus vendor and see what they are detecting our software as. Below you will find information about Norton AntiVirus and other vendors responses to our inquiries.

After a full system scan in Norton AntiVirus 2009 we noticed the following screen appearing show us that we had an "infection". This screen shows our Fake Format utility, but it is the same screen that appears for all of our joke software.

Norton Repair
Norton Risk

After looking closely at the "risk" of the software you will see the RISK TYPE of "Joke program". It states "A program that alters or interrupts the normal behavior of your computer, creating a general distraction or nuisance". This sounds to us that a "Joke program" is not a virus.

Reviewing the help for the security risk of these "joke programs", below you will see the text:

Norton Help

Inside of Norton (all anti-virus vendors include this option) you can set the Security Risk Categories for your anti-virus scan. If you UN-check the option for Joke Programs our software will not appear in the anti-virus scan (see below)

Norton Options

This is from Norton Internet Security 2010:
Norton 2010 Options

Below is an email that we have received from a Sr Virus Support Analyst at McAfee AntiVirus Software:

> The files were downloaded and scanned by VirusScan. The detections
> identified the files as joke programs and not viruses:
> Scanning for 46882 viruses, trojans and variants.
> 03/13/2005 14:49:11
> Options:
> C:\INF\FAKE\FAKE_DEL.EXE ... is a joke called Fake-Del.
> C:\INF\FAKE\FAKEFMT.EXE ... is a joke called Fake-Format.
> It is because of the shock value that we received the programs with request
> to add them for detection as joke programs. Only if a user uses the command
> line switch with /!GURU will our software detect the files as joke programs.
> Additionally if the /NOJOKE switch is used, customers of VirusScan can still
> use the /!GURU switch but not detect joke programs.
> Regards,
> Patrick Nolan
> Sr Virus Support Analyst

As with any anti-virus or anti-spyware software, you can choose the option to NOT include "joke" programs in its detection. This will prevent harmless joke programs from appearing to be viruses or spyware.

Clippy nor any of the software we create are viruses.

The guys over at NirSoft are also feeling the pain of the big anti-virus companies going too far with "anti-virus" protection. We encourage you to read this blog posting for some good information regarding this topic. We feel their pain!

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Added: Jan 20, 2005
Last Updated: Dec 1, 2009