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Farewell to an era: Microsoft retires WordPad after 30 years


The year 1995 saw the world groove to Michael Jackson’s “You Are Not Alone,” the internet begin to make its presence felt, and a film named Toy Story forever change the landscape of animation.

Another relic of that era is on its way out: Microsoft’s WordPad. After faithfully serving users for three decades, WordPad is being phased out. This application, which made its debut alongside Windows 95, has long been the go-to choice for opening .doc files when Microsoft Word wasn’t readily available.

But why is this happening and what does it mean for users?

Microsoft recently announced its intention to cease further development of WordPad and eventually remove it from the Windows operating system altogether. While the exact timeline for this change remains undisclosed, it raises questions about the reasoning behind this decision and the potential implications for businesses and users alike.

One factor that might have contributed to WordPad’s gradual decline is the ongoing confusion between WordPad and Notepad, two text-editing tools. Notepad is typically used for plain text, while WordPad offers more advanced word processing features. This persistent mix-up has led to users inadvertently selecting WordPad, potentially diminishing its relevance over time.

Another perspective suggests that Microsoft is strategically encouraging users to consider Microsoft Word, an integral component of the Microsoft 365 suite, as their primary word processing solution, which could render WordPad obsolete.

In accordance with Microsoft’s updated list of deprecated Windows features, the company now recommends Microsoft Word for handling rich text documents and Windows Notepad for plain text documents. This recommendation signifies a shift away from WordPad as an integral part of the Windows ecosystem.

However, for those who harbour a fondness for WordPad, there’s still a glimmer of hope. Microsoft is actively seeking user feedback through the Windows Feedback Hub app. If a substantial number of users express their support for retaining WordPad, there is a possibility that Microsoft may reconsider its decision. It could potentially remain as an optional, occasionally updated application, accessible through the Microsoft Store.

Just as Michael Jackson’s HIStory, the emergence of the internet, and the release of Toy Story marked significant moments in history, the retirement of WordPad indicates the evolution of technology and the changing landscape of digital tools.

If you need a hand deciphering what is to come, we can guide your business through the maze of incoming and outgoing apps. Just give us a call!