After around 30 years of existence, WordPad is finally saying goodbye. In the Windows 11 Build 26020 Insider Preview’s Canary Channel, Microsoft announced that WordPad will not be auto-installed after installing the new OS build and will officially be removed in the future update. It clarified that the text editor won’t be available for reinstallation. This really is goodbye, then.
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WordPad has been a default Microsoft app for as long as I can remember. It was introduced in Windows 95 and is the successor to the OG Microsoft Write. WordPad was initially positioned in two ways: 1) a text editor that has some functionalities of MS Word and 2) a more advanced version of the Notepad text editor, which was released some 40 years ago in 1983.
According to a Microsoft Learn post on all the Deprecated features for Windows clients, the company says, “We recommend Microsoft Word for rich text documents like .doc and .rtf and Windows Notepad for plain text documents like .txt.” This somewhat hints at the fact that Microsoft, too, realized that WordPad is just a weird middle ground between MS Word and Notepad and can be done away with. This is mainly conjecture, though, and there’s a possibility the company had other, more solid reasons for removing the text editor.
GeekWire also points out that they recently noticed that WordPad didn’t get a dark mode update and that it should have been enough to give them an idea of its upcoming demise. It makes sense when they compare it to Notepad’s recent dark mode update and mention an upcoming update with autosave functionality that it will get soon.
Another long-time Windows app, People, is also being sunsetted in the update mostly because the bulk of its functionalities (mainly managing contacts) are being moved to Outlook for Windows.
I’m not going to lie. Even though I have probably used WordPad a total of three and a half times in my life, and that too, when I had my reasons for not using MS Word or Google Docs, I can imagine others, like some of my colleagues feeling a bit more nostalgic for the word-processing app when it’s gone. WordPad did feel like one of those things that would be around forever, and I don’t know how I feel about that.
On the bright side. It seems like Notepad is still here to stay.