Microsoft is bidding farewell to WordPad, the long-standing rich text application, signaling the end of an era in the tech giant’s history. As of September 1, the application will no longer receive updates, cementing its place on the list of deprecated Windows features. The company has clarified that deprecation implies the end of a feature’s lifecycle and its cessation from active development, while removal is the final step where a deprecated feature is eliminated.
WordPad, a free rich text editor that has been an integral part of the Windows operating system, is slated for removal in a future update. Speculations suggest that the application’s final end-of-life could coincide with the much-anticipated release of Windows 12 in 2024, although Microsoft is known for not hastily discarding its programs. As the curtain falls on WordPad, many recent Windows users may not be familiar with it, emphasizing the shift towards more modern alternatives like the subscription-based Microsoft Word and the recently updated Windows Notepad.
Microsoft Set to Retire WordPad, Suggests Alternatives
Microsoft’s long-standing rich text application, WordPad, is headed for retirement. The tech giant recently revealed that the application will cease to receive updates from September 1, and it is now on the list of deprecated Windows features.
The Difference Between Deprecation and Removal
Microsoft clarified the distinction between deprecation and removal. Deprecation signifies that a feature is at the end of its lifecycle and is no longer under active development. Removal, on the other hand, means a feature is taken away after being deprecated. WordPad is on the path to removal from the Windows OS in an upcoming update, but the timeline for that is unclear. WordPad’s final end-of-life might align with the expected release of Windows 12 in 2024, but based on Microsoft’s history, it doesn’t typically phase out its programs rapidly.
Alternatives to WordPad
Many recent Windows users may not be familiar with WordPad, or may have forgotten about this free rich text editor. With the impending retirement of WordPad, Microsoft advised users to switch to other alternatives. For rich text editing and handling .doc and .rtf files, users can subscribe to Microsoft Word. For plain text documents such as .txt, Windows Notepad is suggested as a viable option.
Updates to Notepad and IE Mode
While WordPad is being phased out, Microsoft has announced updates to the Notepad app. This includes features like autosave and tab restoration. The plain text editor received its first update in years in 2018 and was updated again in conjunction with the Windows 11 update, which introduced tabs to its layout, as reported by The Verge.
Microsoft took a similar approach with the retirement of the Internet Explorer browser. Although the browser took eight years to be phased out, it still exists in the "Reload in IE mode" button on the Microsoft Edge browser. This mode enables users to view legacy websites and applications in a more compatible format. Microsoft intends to support the IE mode until at least 2029, ensuring the core technology that powers Internet Explorer, including MSHTML and the Trident engine, will continue to be a part of Windows for the foreseeable future.
The retirement of WordPad signifies Microsoft’s commitment to streamlining its operating system and focusing on its most popular and functional applications. While some users may miss WordPad, the availability of alternatives like Microsoft Word and Notepad should ease this transition. The continued updates to Notepad and support for IE mode reflect Microsoft’s dedication to maintaining and improving essential features while gradually retiring older ones.