It’s almost thirty years old and sometimes it feels that way, but it’s still big news: Microsoft is discontinuing WordPad. The word processor was always built into Windows, but that is now coming to an end.
Microsoft advises avid WordPad users to switch to Word, the company’s ‘real’ word processor (which has also been around for quite a few years: it celebrates its 40th anniversary this year). Wordpad has been used since 1995 and it has been a tool included with Windows since day 1. However, in 2019 it only became an option that you could choose yourself by downloading it separately (you could do that for free), just like Paint, the drawing program from Microsoft that is also very popular in its simplicity.
Because simple, that is WordPad. You could even say that the tool has not really developed along with it in all those years. The same – albeit to a lesser extent – also applies to Paint. There are so many more things you’d like to be able to do with it without needing to be a full Photoshop experience right away, but the tool has always remained simple. That also makes it very accessible: you know what you’re getting.
Take notes within Windows
WordPad was born when the immensely famous Windows 95 appeared. Microsoft has not said why the tool will soon disappear completely, but it probably has to do with the fact that Word is used more often and can do more, and is a frequent guest on many Windows systems. However, the big difference is that you have to pay for Word, which you didn’t have to pay for WordPad. However, there is another tool left in Windows that is nice and simple: Notepad.
Some people think those two tools are the same, but they are not. WordPad was a separate program from Notepad. Notepad is a very useful tool if, for example, you want to remove text formatting or temporarily paste text for later use. Microsoft therefore indicates that with the discontinuation of WordPad for .doc and .rtf files it is best to go to Word, while Notepad can be (or remain) your tool for .txt documents.
When exactly Microsoft pulls the plug, that is still unknown. In any case, it’s about to happen in an upcoming release of Windows.