WordPad to Disappear from Windows

John Lister's picture

Microsoft is to finally ditch WordPad after nearly three decades. It will add a few new features to Notepad for lighter word processing tasks.

WordPad first appeared as a free tool in Windows 95. Microsoft says it will no longer update WordPad and will remove it in a "future release of Windows." It's not clear if that means a potential Windows 12 or simply one of the major updates to Windows 11.

Announcing the move, Microsoft perhaps unwittingly pointed out one of the major flaws of WordPad. It says: "We recommend Microsoft Word for rich text documents like .doc and .rtf and Windows Notepad for plain text documents like .txt." (Source: theregister.com)

Neither One Thing Nor The Other

Indeed, WordPad was always something of a middle-ground tool without an obvious user base. It didn't have the bare-bones simplicity of Notepad but lacked many of the useful features of Word (along with many that most users would find unnecessary).

Arguably its main advantage was being free of charge, though plenty of third-party word processors were as straightforward and useful as WordPad. That's even more the case with the emergence of online cloud-based tools such as Google Docs.

The demise has been a long time coming. Depending on what counts as a significant update, WordPad has barely changed since Windows 7 or 8.

Notepad Gets Autosave

Perhaps believing there's still a market for people who want a free word processor with some basic features, Microsoft is adding a few features to Notepad. Earlier this year it added an option to open multiple tabs in the text editor, while in the coming months it will add a version of an autosave feature. (Source: independent.co.uk)

It remains to be seen if that attracts any users. It might not make much difference to people who mainly use Notepad for a minute or two at a time as a quick way to write and edit text, such as computer programming code, without the risk of unwanted formatting when its cut and pasted.

What's Your Opinion?

Do you use WordPad regularly? If so, what will you use to replace it? Is Notepad sufficient for basic word processing tasks?

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Dennis Faas's picture

I never used Wordpad unless a file I clicked on wasn't already associated with a program that would read it. In 99% of all cases, this usually happens after I've completed a fresh install of Windows and forgot to install MS Office and tried to load a .DOC file. In the simplest sense, Wordpad is a massively crippled version of MS Word. Even so, when I've used Wordpad to load a .DOC or .DOCX file, it usually chokes on it, which makes Wordpad pretty much useless. Most people use MS Office anyways, and if not, there's plenty of alternatives.

ron_weiskopf's picture

I'm not sure what the issue is, but when I get some txt files and try to open then in notepad, it won't recognize the line breaks. I need to open them in WordPad and then it works. They can be very large log files where I do not want to use Word.

russoule's picture

Here's the thing, all this mesisng around with software is designed for one thing only, to increase MS income.

Is WordPad equal to Word? nope! And who needs to Word? Most of us home-bodies really don't use a word processor for anything other than letters to ourselves or our families. So what if Word can print in Arabic? I don't use that function. In fact, there is no true function in the Office Pack that I require. WordPad is and was a sufficient app to write my snail-mail with and not have the immense memory useage of Word. Not to mention it is FREE!

But that is why MS needs to get rid of it, they don't make any money by maintaining software from before, only by selling you NEW software.

jimain's picture

I have a need for Word only when I want to do something exotic. Wordpad has done everything (of the word-processing variety) for me since I discovered it. Can't imagine learning Word again after 25 years of forgetting it. I use WordPad at least once a day, and I often use it to build emails, because it's convenient. Going to be hard to teach the old dog another new trick!