Clippy goes rogue – infamous paperclip assistant returns to Windows 11 in order to help declutter the OS

Clippy is back on the desktop, in a fashion, with the iconic assistant (originally in Office 97) coming to Windows 11 in order to debloat the OS – via a third-party utility, we should swiftly add.

The idea to resurrect Clippy comes from a German software developer Belmin Hasanovic, who has drafted in the assistant – the icon of which is an animated paperclip, as you may recall – for their Winpilot open-source utility.

As Tom’s Hardware reports, Winpilot has a new version out (v2024.5.6) which incorporates Tiny11 Builder, a separate tool that allows for creating a highly streamlined installation of Windows 11.

Besides that new ability, Winpilot offers a range of features mainly revolving around removing various bits of bloat from Windows 11, from getting rid of default apps you might not want to more advanced tweaking.

Winpilot can also handle tightening up privacy settings, and stripping out Copilot functionality from Windows 11 if you’re really not keen on the desktop-based AI assistant (that Microsoft very definitely is keen on).

Where does Clippy come into this? It’s the Winpilot assistant that offers help, tips, and suggested options, appearing on top of the app’s interface. Clippy also lets you know what Winpilot has done to your system when it comes to debloating measures and the like.


Analysis: Clippy cheekiness

Naturally, this is all very tongue in cheek, and there’s some (intentional we presume) irony in the fact that a debloating utility has what is – let’s face it – an element of bloat. As Tom’s observes, having used the Winpilot tool, the Clippy speech bubbles obscure some of the utility’s actual interface at times, which is something the developer needs to address, surely.

The dev describes Clippy as the “manic cousin of Microsoft Copilot” and it does come out with various jokes and somewhat colorful language – so it is entertaining in some respects. But as noted, it seems like there’s work to be done in reining Clippy in.

If this tool looks at all familiar to you, it might be because it’s been around for some time. Winpilot is the new name for the old app, BloatyNosy, which in turn was previously known as ThisIsWin11. As the old BloatyNosy name suggested, this is about removing bloat and ensuring privacy, but as ever with third-party utilities, we’d be cautious about using them.

The less far-reaching tweaks Winpilot can make are likely to be fine, but when it comes to pulling out bits of the core interface of Windows 11 like Copilot, you need to tread carefully, and be wary about unintended side effects. Particularly with future Windows 11 updates, for example – where changes Microsoft makes could break things in respect of Winpilot’s tweaking (or that’s certainly not an unimaginable scenario).

Big fans of Clippy out there (you know who you are) may also be interested to learn that the assistant has been brought to the Windows 11 desktop before – not as a feature to get rid of Copilot, but rather, to replace the AI.

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WhatsApp launches overdue formatting features, bringing order to chaotic texts

WhatsApp is releasing several new formatting tools to help you manage those long walls of text in group chats.

Triggering one of the new text formats requires you to enter a certain punctuation mark, followed by a space, and then the words themselves. Hyphens let you create a bullet list. A numeral with a period right after establishes a numbered list. Users can even make block quotes by first hitting the Greater Than arrow on the keyboard and then adding a space. To make inline code, you’ll have to press the accent symbol (which is found below the Esc key on most keyboards) followed by a single space. If done correctly, the messages you enter will be reformatted to your specifications. Otherwise, you’ll just see a bunch of random punctuations.

In total, users now have eight different ways to spruce up their conversations on the platform counting the likes of bold, italic, strikethrough, and monospace from years prior.

WhatsApp's new formatting tools

(Image credit: Future)

Finer details

Meta announced the update on social media and via WhatsApp notification; however, they neglected to mention some of the finer details. Not only are the features present in one-on-one chat rooms but also on the platform’s Channels, according to TechCrunch. The tools are available on WhatsApp for Android, iOS, Mac, and web browsers. Do keep in mind the patch is still rolling out so there’s a chance you may not have it on your mobile device. We didn’t get it on our Android, but luckily, it's currently live on the web version.

If you look closely, you’ll notice that we didn’t mention the Windows desktop app. This is because, for whatever reason, the Windows version lacks these features. It’s a rather strange omission especially when you consider the fact that this update has been in the works since August 2023. You’d think Meta would’ve brought it over PC in that time. So we reached out to the company asking for information on a Windows release. We’ll let you know if we hear back.

While we have you, be sure to join TechRadar’s WhatsApp channel to receive news stories and our latest reviews right on your phone.

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How to watch Crisis on Infinite Earths: order and online streaming details

Featuring the greatest superheroes from the DC Comics canon, Arrowverse crossovers are now major events in the calendar of any TV fan and we're here to tell you how to watch Crisis on Infinite Earths in order this year.

Running across a number of the best superhero shows, Crisis on Infinite Earths is comprised of five episodes – one each of Supergirl, Batwoman, The Flash, Arrow, and DC's Legends of Tomorrow.

We don't want to spoil anything for you, but it's safe to say the superheroes are really up against it this year as the Anti-Monitor seeks to destroy the entire multiverse.

Whether you're a hardened DC Comics fan or simply looking for an easy way to get hooked on a new show, here's how to watch Crisis on Infinite Earths online and stream the crossover in the correct order – including all the free viewing options around.

How to watch Crisis on Infinite Earths from outside your country

If you're trying to access streaming content from the likes of The CW or NOW TV from abroad, you'll almost certainly be unable to due to geo-blocking restrictions. But there's an easy and perfectly legal workaround. Downloading one of the best VPNs will allow you to watch Crisis on Infinite Earths in order no matter where you are.

This simple bit of software changes your IP address so that you can access episodes live or on demand just like you would at home, making streaming The CW and NOW TV for free a viable option from anywhere in the world.

Watch Crisis on Infinite Earths: part 1 – Supergirl 

Crisis on Infinite Earths kicks off with Supergirl season 5, episode 9 as the Monitor and Harbinger assemble the world's greatest superheroes to take on the Anti-Monitor.

Watch Crisis on Infinite Earths: part 2 – Batwoman

Crisis on Infinite Earths: part 2 is Batwoman season 1, episode 9 – but it's a tricky one, especially for folks in the UK. That's because Batwoman has only just started airing on E4 in the UK and episode 9 isn't due to drop until May, messing up the running order as otherwise dictated by Sky. Folks in the US have it easier, though, as at the time of writing, it was still available to stream for free via The CW's website.

Watch Crisis on Infinite Earths: part 3 – The Flash

Next you want to watch The Flash season 6, episode 9, which is easy in the UK but has stopped streaming for free on the US on The CW's website. That means you'll have to buy it, unless you're in the States from abroad in which case using a VPN will allow you to re-locate yourself to locations like the UK where other streaming options may be available.

Watch Crisis on Infinite Earths: part 4 – Arrow

Keep watching Crisis on Infinite Earths in order by making for Arrow season 8, episode 8, which can currently be watched for free in both the US and UK.

Watch Crisis on Infinite Earths: part 5 – Legends of Tomorrow

Getting things underway in style, DC's Legends of Tomorrow season 5 kicks-off with the final instalment of Crisis on Infinite Earths – so you want Legends of Tomorrow season 5, episode 1 to finish watching this year's Arrowverse crossover in the correct order.

It first airs in the UK Thursday, April 2 on Sky One at 8pm – after which it'll land on the network's more affordable streaming sibling, NOW TV. In the US, you'll have to pay for it.

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