Microsoft recently announced that it will remove WordPad, the basic text editor included in Windows since 1995, in an upcoming update. While the exact removal date is unclear, this change marks the end of a 28-year run for the legacy software.
WordPad’s journey began in 1995 when Microsoft launched it as the successor to another text editor called Microsoft Write. Since then, WordPad shipped preinstalled on every version of Windows, offering users basic text editing capabilities along with support for formats like RTF, DOC, and ODT.
Nearly three decades later, Microsoft is finally ready to retire its venerable app. According to an updated article on Microsoft’s website, WordPad is among the Windows features that are no longer actively developed and will be removed in a future update.
The Beginning of the End
WordPad’s removal is not entirely unexpected. While automatically installed on Windows systems since 1995, Microsoft demoted it to an optional feature starting in 2019. This allowed users to uninstall WordPad if desired, foreshadowing its now imminent removal.
Microsoft recommends transitioning to Microsoft Word for creating and editing rich text documents like .doc and .rtf files. For working with plain text files such as .txt, it advises using the Windows Notepad app.
The phasing out of WordPad makes sense given it hasn’t seen major improvements for quite some time. Meanwhile, Microsoft has invested in enhancing Notepad for Windows by adding useful features like tab support, dark mode, improved search and replace, and the ability to open multiple files simultaneously.
Looking to the Future
With WordPad’s removal confirmed, key questions remain unanswered, including:
- When exactly will Microsoft remove WordPad? While confirmed, Microsoft has not specified which Windows update will finalize WordPad’s removal.
- Will any tools replace WordPad? Microsoft points to Word and Notepad as alternatives, but neither offers the exact same functionality. It’s unclear if Microsoft will introduce a new basic text editor to fill the gap left by WordPad.
- How will the change impact enterprise deployments? Organizations that standardize on WordPad for basic text editing will need to switch to replacement options like Word or third-party tools. Transitioning enterprise deployments takes time and planning.
For now, WordPad remains included in the latest Windows 11 builds, but its days are clearly numbered.
We’ll share updates as Microsoft reveals more details on the specific update set to conclude WordPad’s long run in Windows.