Microsoft has officially declared the discontinuation of WordPad, a word processing application that has been an integral part of the Windows operating system for nearly three decades. This decision comes as a result of WordPad no longer being actively developed and is slated for deprecation in a forthcoming Windows update.
Users who have relied on WordPad for basic text editing tasks will need to explore alternative options as Microsoft shifts its focus towards other productivity tools and software solutions within the Windows ecosystem.
This move reflects Microsoft’s ongoing efforts to streamline its software offerings and enhance the overall user experience on the Windows platform, which may lead to more advanced and feature-rich alternatives for users in the future. While WordPad will remain functional in existing Windows installations, its eventual removal from future updates signals the end of an era for this long-standing application.
WordPad, the fundamental word processing software introduced 28 years ago alongside Windows 95, has been a consistent presence in virtually every iteration of the operating system since its inception. Over the years, however, the program has received only minimal updates, with the most notable one being the revision of its Ribbon UI during the Windows 7 era. Subsequently, there have been no significant enhancements to WordPad, even following a redesign during the Windows 8 release. This lack of development activity has led to Microsoft’s recent announcement of the application’s eventual deprecation.
Despite its longstanding history as a basic text editor for Windows users, WordPad has gradually fallen behind more modern and feature-rich word processing alternatives. As a result, its role in the Windows ecosystem is being reevaluated, and the application is set to be phased out in a forthcoming Windows update. This move reflects Microsoft’s ongoing commitment to improving its software offerings and adapting to the evolving needs of its user base, potentially paving the way for new and innovative tools to take WordPad’s place in future Windows releases.
Since its introduction in the Windows 10 Insider Build 19551, released in February 2020, WordPad has been available as an optional Windows feature. This means that users have the flexibility to uninstall it through the Optional Feature control panel if they choose to do so. This change reflects Microsoft’s efforts to provide users with more control over the components and applications installed on their Windows systems, allowing for a more customized and streamlined experience. It also aligns with the company’s strategy of making Windows more modular, enabling users to tailor their operating system to their specific needs and preferences by adding or removing features as desired.
By making WordPad an optional feature, Microsoft acknowledges the evolving landscape of word processing tools and the diverse needs of its user base. While WordPad has served as a basic word processing option for many Windows users over the years, this move allows individuals to explore alternative word processing solutions and better optimize their Windows installations to suit their unique requirements.
Microsoft has officially confirmed the discontinuation of WordPad by adding it to its list of deprecated features for Windows client. This announcement solidifies that WordPad will no longer receive updates, and it is set to be removed in a future release of the Windows operating system. While the specific release version is not mentioned, it could potentially include Windows 12, which is anticipated to launch in the coming year. This decision reflects Microsoft’s strategic shift in focusing on more modern productivity tools and streamlining its software offerings, which may lead to the introduction of more advanced alternatives for users in future Windows updates.
The demise of WordPad marks the end of an era for this long-standing word processing application, which has been a part of the Windows ecosystem for a significant period. As Microsoft moves forward, users will need to explore alternative word processing options to fulfill their text editing needs, signaling a transition toward more feature-rich and contemporary tools within the Windows environment. While WordPad will continue to function in existing Windows installations, its eventual removal from future releases underscores Microsoft’s commitment to evolving its software offerings to meet the changing demands of its user base.
Microsoft has provided guidance for users looking to replace WordPad as their go-to word processing tool. They recommend utilizing Microsoft Word for creating and editing rich text documents in formats like .doc and .rtf. Additionally, for plain text documents such as .txt files, Microsoft suggests using Windows Notepad.
Notably, Microsoft has recently announced enhancements to Windows Notepad, including the introduction of autosave and automatic tab restoral features. Furthermore, the Windows 11 version of Notepad now incorporates browser-style tabs, a feature also found in File Explorer. These improvements aim to make Notepad a more functional and user-friendly tool for handling plain text documents, offering a more modern and efficient experience for Windows users.
The discontinuation of WordPad is unlikely to generate the same level of public outcry as Microsoft’s previous attempt to retire Paint. In 2017, the company announced plans to remove Paint from Windows and transform it into a standalone application available in the Microsoft Store. This move was made with the expectation that Paint 3D would effectively replace the traditional Paint application. However, Microsoft later reversed its decision, giving Paint a significant update in June, marking its first major overhaul in a decade. In contrast, Paint 3D was eventually deprecated, indicating that the company recognized the enduring popularity and utility of the original Paint app among users.
Microsoft’s history with Paint highlights the challenges and complexities of retiring long-standing software components in its ecosystem. While WordPad may not have garnered as much attention as Paint, its discontinuation represents another step in Microsoft’s efforts to refine its software offerings and adapt to evolving user preferences, potentially paving the way for more modern and feature-rich alternatives in the future.
Cortana, the AI voice-based assistant, has recently joined the list of deprecated Windows features. Its end of support was reached just last month, marking a significant transition in Microsoft’s approach to AI and voice assistance within the Windows ecosystem. With the discontinuation of Cortana, Microsoft is making room for the introduction of new AI tools, such as Windows Copilot. This shift reflects the company’s commitment to evolving and enhancing its AI capabilities, offering users more advanced and versatile solutions to meet their needs. Windows Copilot is expected to play a pivotal role in this transformation, providing users with a fresh and innovative approach to AI-powered assistance on the Windows platform.
The retirement of Cortana represents a strategic decision by Microsoft to focus on newer and more capable AI technologies, signaling its dedication to providing users with cutting-edge features and a seamless computing experience. As the computing landscape continues to evolve, it is likely that we will see further developments and innovations in the realm of AI assistance within the Windows operating system.
Of course, for users of WordPad features who are comfortable with it, inevitably have to look for alternatives if later the official WordPad is not presented in the next Windows Update.
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