Microsoft to Phase Out Iconic WordPad from Future Windows Releases After Nearly Three Decades


Microsoft has officially confirmed its decision to retire WordPad from future iterations of the Windows operating system. WordPad, a basic word processing application, has been an integral part of the Windows ecosystem for nearly 30 years, having made its debut alongside Windows 95 in 1995.

With the discontinuation of WordPad, Microsoft will intensify its promotion of the paid and feature-rich Microsoft Word, a component of the Office 365 subscription suite.

A support notice issued by Microsoft conveys the following:

“WordPad will no longer receive updates and is slated for removal in an upcoming Windows release. For rich text documents in formats like .doc and .rtf, we recommend Microsoft Word, while for plain text documents in .txt format, Windows Notepad is the suggested choice.”

In tandem with this development, Microsoft has enhanced its free-tier Notepad, introducing features such as auto-save and auto-restore of tabs. Nevertheless, it is important to note that Notepad lacks support for rich text document formats and is limited exclusively to .txt files. Consequently, for tasks requiring advanced functionality, Microsoft Word remains the preferred choice.

It is worth recalling that the last major update to WordPad transpired during the Windows 7 launch, which saw the replacement of the aging user interface with the modern Ribbon UI, bestowing a fresh and futuristic appearance. However, over time, Microsoft has shifted its focus away from WordPad in favor of advancing Microsoft Word’s capabilities.

This decision to retire WordPad is part of Microsoft’s broader strategy to streamline its software offerings and allocate resources more efficiently. The company recently deprecated the standalone Cortana app, its virtual assistant, possibly paving the way for the adoption of Bing Chat, powered by ChatGPT. Reports suggest that Microsoft is diligently developing Windows 12, the successor to Windows 11, with an anticipated release in early 2024.

The elimination of WordPad from the Windows lineup signifies the conclusion of an era for a software application that has been a fundamental component of the operating system for three decades. While it may evoke nostalgia among long-time Windows users, Microsoft’s emphasis on promoting its more feature-rich alternatives aligns with the company’s evolving software ecosystem.

As Microsoft continues to invest in advancing its suite of productivity tools, the retirement of WordPad serves as a reminder of the company’s commitment to innovation and its willingness to adapt to changing user needs. The move encourages users to explore and leverage Microsoft Word’s extensive capabilities while preserving the option of the minimalistic Windows Notepad for plain text tasks.

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