Microsoft is Deprecating and Removing Legacy Features in the Fall Creators Update

Posted on July 23, 2017 by Paul Thurrott in Windows 10 with 83 Comments

A Microsoft support document notes which legacy features are being deprecated or removed from Windows 10 with the Fall Creators Update. There are no big surprises here, but I wish the firm would stop screwing around with Paint.

Note: Thanks to Neowin for tipping me off to this support document. –Paul

“This list is intended to help customers consider these removals and deprecations for their own planning,” the support document explains. “The list is subject to change and may not include every deprecated feature or functionality.”

Microsoft lists these features in a matrix, but here I will break them down into two lists, one for deprecated features—features that are still available for those who really want them—and those that are being removed. Most striking to me, honestly, is the tameness of these lists. That is, Microsoft is not aggressively removing anything from here, and few will be offended by any one item, save perhaps Paint.

These lists are partial by design because I’ve added my own commentary to the items I feel are important or interesting. You can refer to the Microsoft page for the complete list if you’d like.

Deprecated features

Microsoft Paint. Microsoft continues its efforts to kill off Microsoft Paint, and it’s listing here suggests that it will, in a future update, try to remove it entirely. I have some thoughts about a better approach for this and other utilities in Windows 10, but I’ll share those in a future editorial.

Sync Your Settings. This one is very interesting. According to Microsoft, the current sync process is being deprecated because a future release of Windows 10 (not the Fall Creators Update) will use “the same cloud storage system” to sync settings both Enterprise State Roaming users and all other users. Yes, they use different systems now.

System Image Backup (SIB). This one has been deprecated for quite a while, but here’s the most interesting bit: Microsoft explicitly recommends that users who need system image backups should use a solution from a third-party vendor. This indicates that Microsoft will never offer a more modern system image solution in Windows. That will be controversial to some, but I think it makes sense: We don’t really need such a thing, and users should be replicating their important documents and other files to the cloud and using Windows 10’s built-in recovery tools to wipe out their PCs when needed, and then bring them back up in a factory-fresh state.

Removed features

3D Builder app. This app is superfluous because Paint 3D and Print 3D are now included in Windows 10. However, you can still download 3D Builder from the Windows Store if you’d like.

Enhanced Mitigation Experience Toolkit (EMET). This utility is blocked in the Fall Creators Update because its functionality has been rolled into Windows Defender Exploit Guard.

Outlook Express. That there is still “non-functional legacy code” for Outlook Express inside of Windows 10 is somewhat amazing, and a great example of the type of thing that makes this legacy platform unsustainable from a support perspective in the modern world.

Reader app. Now that Microsoft Edge has been transformed into a reader app in its own right—it lets you read websites, PDF files, EPUB documents, and proprietary e-books now—the Reader app is superfluous.

Reading List. This previously separate app is likewise no longer needed because its functionality has been integrated into Microsoft Edge where it belongs.

So there you go.

 

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Comments (85)

85 responses to “Microsoft is Deprecating and Removing Legacy Features in the Fall Creators Update”

  1. Avatar

    dspeterson

    I also use paint pretty much every day. If they moved the built in windows utilities to store versions though I would be A-OK with that, otherwise boo.

  2. Avatar

    Win74ever

    They can remove the Classic Paint all they want. I'll download it again just like I did with the Win32 Calculator and Sticky Notes. They're ruining Windows with every new Windows 10 update.

    • Avatar

      hrlngrv

      In reply to Win74ever:

      If someone at MSFT had half a brain, they'd make all the applets downloads, maybe from the store, maybe from microsoft.com. They'd also bundle as little as possible with Windows and ask during first login what applets users would like to download and install along with unavoidable updates. Flip side: MSFT would also make nearly everything uninstallable/removable without needing to use Powershell. [Thank God there are sites with instructions for purging Windows 10 of all the accumulated cruft, dross and fertilizer.]

  3. Avatar

    mikiem

    >>"System Image Backup (SIB). This one has been deprecated for quite a while... We don’t really need such a thing, and users should be replicating their important documents and other files to the cloud and using Windows 10’s built-in recovery tools to wipe out their PCs when needed, and then bring them back up in a factory-fresh state."


    Suit yourself... 

    Yes, important docs & such should be replicated elsewhere, but if you want to rely solely on the built-in recovery tools, that's not my choice & I sincerely wish you luck.


    One, those recovery tools may or may not work. Two, especially on devices with few resources, it takes far too long, especially if you include disk cleanup afterward. It takes me 1/2 hour or [often] less to restore a complete disk or partition image as needed. Three, I use lots of software, including drivers, not available from the store or via Windows Update, & those take time to reinstall once setup files are collected. Four, I've got software that deactivates -- it doesn't survive build updates either -- making for an added PITA. Five, I've got devices where setup &/or build upgrades don't always work like they're supposed to, & trying to make do with less than restoring an image is just asking for extra work. Six, being careful what I do install, I don't see the need [never have] arising to [short of malware] wipe everything out, and the Very Last thing I want is a bloatware ridden "factory-fresh state".

  4. Avatar

    sgtaylor5

    Actually, syskey.exe removal is a big deal. I've had situations where some people (who later became my clients) allowed remote access for scammers who locked them out when they wouldn't pay what the scammers demanded.

  5. Avatar

    Ben Moore

    "We don’t really need such a thing, and users should be replicating their important documents and other files to the cloud and using Windows 10’s built-in recovery tools to wipe out their PCs when needed, and then bring them back up in a factory-fresh state."


    Speak for yourself, John.


    I use tools to replicate my "important documents and other files to the cloud" but often I don't want to "bring them back up in a factory-fresh state."


    When I make a system level change, I often want to fall back to just before that change, not "factory-fresh" and Windows System Image Backup is a perfect tool for that. Not only is it free and (until now) supported by Microsoft but the restore tool is integrated into the Windows system recovery tools.


    Windows System Image Backup already works on BIOS and UEFI so I don't see why it is burdensome to support. Yeah, it doesn't work on ReFS but neither does OneDrive!


    This is a Google-type move.

    • Avatar

      Cbarnhorst2

      In reply to fastoy:

      I absolutely agree. I am an insider and use System Image Backup of the current release to maintain the ability to recover to a known good state rather than roll back to the previous build when things go south. Also, an SIB is essential to maintaining small devices whose manufacturers have gone out of business and drivers are no longer available. SIB has been more stable and reliable for me than third-party solutions.

  6. Avatar

    Spineless

    Microsoft really needs to address the lack of Store app data backup and restore.

    • Avatar

      hrlngrv

      In reply to Spineless:

      How? Unless MSFT wants to write the apps itself, which doesn't seem to be the case.

      How does MSFT interest any other developers in distributing software through the Windows Store? Especially when there are still more Windows 7 users than Windows 10 users worldwide. That's the hard part: nearly everything which can run on Windows 7 can run on Windows 10. Why target less than half of Windows PC users rather than all Windows PC users?

      The one thing MSFT could do, PAY ISVs to put apps into the Windows Store, is one thing they just won't do.

  7. Avatar

    hrlngrv

    Re Reader, it handles MSFT's own XPS format. Doesn't look like Edge does. However, there's still XPS Viewer.

    Gotta wonder whether Edge would be a better browser by now if MSFT hadn't muddied the waters trying to make it a Reader and Reading List replacement too.

  8. Avatar

    Bart

    Finally! Microsoft starts chopping 'dead wood' in Windows 10. This can't go fast or rigorous enough (yes, Paint is dead wood to me).

  9. Avatar

    Dragon Wolf

    Seriously, for everyone complaining about all of this, the original Paint is redundant since Paint 3D has all of the 2D drawing functionality of the original Paint win32 app plus 3D modeling capabilities, and if you really want to draw in Windows and save it for editing GUIs and other things like that, you really shouldn't be using the default Paint, you should be using something like GIMP as Paint doesn't allow you to save images with transparency. 3D builder is also redundant for the same reasons. Outlook Express is useless to most people because anyone smart would just stick with Office 2013 since it is the most recent version that you don't have to pay a subscription to use, Sync your Settings is cool, but most people usually have a external hard drive with their important files on it when they switch computers and it shouldn't be too hard to just put your desktop background file on it and switch the new computer to your accent color when you set it up. The only objective loss is SIB, as that is extremely useful if a Windows installation fails, and gets stuck in a bootloop. The only thing you needed to do when SIB was available was click advanced options, either restore from a system image or reinstall bios.

    • Avatar

      hrlngrv

      In reply to Dragon_Wolf:

      Fair point about transparency. Paint has never had it, and it can be a pain.

      OTOH, Paint is much easier to use than Paint3D, and Paint can run multiple instances while Paint3D can't (someday that may change, but not today), so it's possible to have multiple image files open at the same time and copy from one and paste into another.

      For those of us who are doing little more than annotating screen shots, Paint is efficient. More comprehensive graphics editors are way too much. And anything which can only run in a single instance and display only one image file at a time isn't worth wasting any time using. IMO, Paint3D is an exquisite example of MSFT finding its head where the sun don't shine and resolving to push forward.

    • Avatar

      Jules Wombat

      In reply to Dragon_Wolf:

      GIMP is too bloated and complicated to use and Paint 3D is silly awkward user interface for general users. Paint.Net is my preferred simple tool.

  10. Avatar

    hrlngrv

    Re SIB, wiping to factory state means as shipped state? If so, wouldn't that mean a lengthy update or upgrade to return to state just before fubar? Lots of people want to spend lots of time in those situations?

    • Avatar

      Narg

      In reply to hrlngrv:

      Unless you simply refresh to raw "Windows 10/Pro" on well designed OEM hardware. Then it works 100% each and every time with no time involved in un-needed work. If you're on an AD network, then it's even easier, as the first login from the user will change all the setup as needed, removing what's not needed and adding what is needed. This style of admin has been around for ages. You can spend time with backups that don't work all the time, or just make things easier. MS removing the backup feature is no skin off a well seasoned admin.

      • Avatar

        hrlngrv

        In reply to Narg:

        If you're on an AD network, presumably you'd be using a PC provided by your employer. Unless you work in IT, you wouldn't be using SIB at all, would you? For that matter, you'd presumably need to revert to the current company standard image, no?

        SIB is for businesses small enough they don't have volume purchasing/software assurance agreements OR hobbyists on their own PCs.

  11. Avatar

    aionon

    I have a system that is part of the slow ring, which finally saw it's first update recently... and it completely mangled the system (the built in tools couldn't even recover things). There is still a place for images, the tools built into Windows 10 may work most of the time, but as I learned the hard way with this one, they aren't full proof.

  12. Avatar

    scotttech1

    My condolences Paul, losing a friend is hard, RIP MS Paint


    but Paint.Net is nice and its coming to the windows store!

  13. Avatar

    kshsystems

    Seams to my like Microsoft needs to put its money where its mouth is, so to speak. Microsoft wants to get people to move to UWP and deprecate win32. We aren't there yet. But, a good first step would be to centennialize all of the normal windows utilities.

  14. Avatar

    Waethorn

    So I guess this guy died?:


    https://vimeo.com/70748579

  15. Avatar

    Bart

    Paint is like Windows XP. It must die

  16. Avatar

    Rob_Wade

    I use the Reader app. I cannot stand using Edge as a reader. Not in any universe. It is user-spiteful. I guess I'll look for a decent third party reader. Thanks, Microsoft.

  17. Avatar

    jrswarr

    Paul - I think it time to finally find an app that can replace Paint. I don't think Microsoft can make it plainer that they intend to kill off Paint. Face it - "It's dead Jim"

  18. Avatar

    Rob_Wade

    They had already seriously deprecated settings synchronization when they went to Windows 10. I loved not having to go out and individual rebuild my Start Screen tiles and apps...it remembered them as placeholders. Now, I have to start from scratch every flipping time. So, now they just want to get rid of it altogether because they can't be bothered to have the REPLACEMENT READY BEFORE THEY GET RID OF THE OLDER METHOD. I'm so tired of this cast of fools.

  19. Avatar

    Patrick3D

    Removal of Paint destroys my workflow for editing screenshots to post online. Paint3D does have the ability to adjust canvas size and the image along with it, but the quality of the resized image and slow performance of Paint3D pale in comparison to classic Paint which "just works". Hopefully, someone will keep the .exe for Paint floating around online for the foreseeable future.

  20. Avatar

    cyloncat

    My complaint about paint.net is all the crapware that get installed along with it, even in the installer image from their own web site. I have no clue what these things do, and I don't want to install unknown software just to get a "free" paint program. If they do follow through with their promise to make paint.net a Windows Store app, I assume the crapware will go away. I'll consider installing it then, but not before.

  21. Avatar

    Narg

    I'm glad they are removing Paint. Bloatware IMHO. I'd like to see them remove more stuff that's just not needed, and/or can be easily downloaded from Store or many other sources. Often better, far better, versions of said needed software.

  22. Avatar

    Waethorn

    Paul, you missed the most important one.


    They're blocking Syskey.exe which is what those Indian tech support scammers use to permanently disable systems with a low-level NT password.

  23. Avatar

    Boris Zakharin

    Now I'm curious what I'm missing. I thought Outlook Express was removed in Vista, replaced by Windows Mail and then Windows Live Mail (which itself still works but is no longer supported).


    As for Paint, it really took a long time for it to reach feature parity with Windows 3.1 Paintbrush, which I remember running on Windows 95 and, I believe, 98 too. So, who knows, maybe Paint3D will take awhile too.

  24. Avatar

    hrlngrv

    Re Paint, the XP version still works in later Windows versions. I was disappointed with Paint in Windows 7 (rounded rectangles are the most common addition I make to screen prints, and W7's stink compared to XP's), so I tried using XP's with W7, and it worked, and it still works through Windows 10's latest Insider builds.

    If at some future date it stops working, I'll switch to Pinta, which is FOSS and available for both Windows and Linux. If I had to, I could use Pixlr Editor.

    One thing is certain: I won't be using MSFT's Paint3D. My main use is annotating screen prints, and for that I need basic image editing and, for me, a FEW efficient tools. For me, Paint3D is an absolute failure, not just being inefficient, but also because it's currently impossible to have multiple instances running for a single user account, so no way to have 2 image files open for editing at the same time. Apparently MSFT's productivity vision doesn't include using bundled software.

  25. Avatar

    wunderbar

    Paint is still the easiest tool there is for certain functions. I use it literally every single day.

    • Avatar

      warren

      In reply to wunderbar:

      Not really. Paint.NET has literally every operation from Paint and is equally easy to use while offering more flexibility. Paint only offers 4 hard-coded drawing sizes whereas Paint.NET lets you choose any pixel size you like. The UI for cropping is significantly better, too, including the ability to see how large the file will be in real-time.


      • Avatar

        hrlngrv

        In reply to warren:

        Ease of use is subjective. Paint is much simpler, so for those of us who don't do much with it, much more efficient than alternatives with more functionality.

        • Avatar

          warren

          In reply to hrlngrv:

          I think you'll find that everything you'd do with Paint will take a roughly equal number of clicks in Paint.NET. The clicks are just in different spots. Learn them and you'll be fine.


          As for subective ease-of-use measurements, Paint.NET's keyboard shortcut of "ctrl+r" for resize is surely easier to remember than "ctrl+w" in Paint. Ctrl+W typically means "close".


          As for efficiency, you're welcome to tell me how the 6+ seconds I have to wait for a 1.6MB, 4032x3024 JPG file to load in Paint is more efficient than Paint.NET's near-instant load. Eh? Go on, I want an answer to this. No, don't say "it's your CPU" -- it's an i7-6700k!


          While you're at it, tell me why the "simplicity" of only having 50%, 100% and 200% zoom levels is better than Paint.NET's infinite zoom. I mean, come on, Internet Explorer has been able to zoom incrementally for more than 10 years!

          • Avatar

            evox81

            In reply to warren:

            Dude... we get it... you're a paint.NET fan. What's with the attacking?

          • Avatar

            hrlngrv

            In reply to warren:

            I've tried Paint.Net. For me, it's inefficient. It's subjective, meaning your usage is irrelevant to mine and vice versa.

            As for Paint's keyboard shortcuts, [Ctrl]+E brings up Image Properties, [Ctrl]+R displays vertical and horizontal rulers, [Ctrl]+W brings up Resize and Skew. [Ctrl]+W came to mean close in tabbed browsers in the early 2000s at least a decade after Paint started using it.

            I don't edit jpegs. I annotate screen shots. Pasting screen prints into Paint takes less than 1 second, so I don't much care how many milliseconds I could shave off of that. If Paint.Net is better for editing jpegs, swell, that matters as much to me as the best clothes design software.

            Zoom level in Paint ranges from 12.5% (1/8) to 800% (x8). Your arguments would be improved if they weren't based on so much ignorance.

            • Avatar

              warren

              In reply to hrlngrv:

              You didn't seriously just argue that Paint's "range" of zoom levels is a feature? Dude, I was talking about PRECISION, not RANGE. Pay some attention to what people are telling you. Geez.... Nobody, and I mean NOBODY looks at or edits images at 12.5% or 800%.... the range between 50% and 200% is much more common, especially on high-DPI displays, and Paint's inability provide precision in that range is a major misfeature. If Word or Chrome had that same limitation, it'd drive you fucking nuts!

              As for annotating screenshots, man, you're using Paint to do that? Wow... do you use Napster to download MP3s, too? Always boggles my mind that anyone would be using a tool that's gone almost unchanged in over 15 years to do productive work. All they've done to it since XP is slap on a ribbon and add a few paintbrushes.

              If annotation is your need, have a look at Lightshot -- it's significantly faster than Paint for doing annotated screenshots. Press PrtScr, draw a rectangle, annotate, save. Unlike Paint, it generates numbered filenames (No more Untitled.png). Unlike Paint, it has a highlighter mode. Unlike Paint, it lets you get pixel-perfect with the border without using the mouse. Unlike Paint, it lets you use any arbitrary border width on lines, not just the four built-in sizes.


              • Avatar

                hrlngrv

                In reply to warren:

                My job is mostly quantitative analysis but I also have to work with people who need instructions on the level of plug the computer in, plug the monitor in, connect the cable from the monitor to the computer, . . ., press the button labeled OK which the red arrow is pointing to in this screenshot. I don't need to do this often, not more frequently than every other week on average.

                Agreed Paint has changed little in the last couple decades. That's one of its strengths. FWIW, rulers and gridlines are new with the ribbon UI.

                As for Lightshot, it requires an internet connection. Useless without one. If I wanted Chrome OS functionality, I'd use my Chromebook.

      • Avatar

        GarethB

        In reply to warren:

        Whether it has the features, the advantage to me is that on EVERY PC (in a support sense) I go to I can run Paint, use it for the basic features and not even think about it.

        There ain't no way I'm going to spend 5 minutes downloading Paint.NET just to do the basics. More likely I'll host an old copy of Paint.

  26. Avatar

    JamesDSchw

    In general, removing legacy features is a GOOD thing. As a software developer, some of my best days are the ones where I am able to delete large amounts of code, often without sacrificing anything important. Sometimes that's due to removing legacy features, and sometimes due to refactoring code to share more components. Either way, having "more code" takes effort to maintain, makes a codebase more difficult to learn, increases the surface area for attack, increases the effort required to modernize, etc. I personally wish they would be even more aggressive about this.

  27. Avatar

    thewarragulman

    Don't fuck with paint and I won't fuck with you, Microsoft.

  28. Avatar

    david.thunderbird

    Nothing to see here folks, move along towards the painted desert sunset.

  29. Avatar

    Cristian

    I personally think this is great news. If anything I'm sad not to see things like the legacy Control Panel UI making the list - though I guess Settings isn't quite there yet.


    Paul, in the title and 4th paragraph you say "depreciating" and "depreciated" when I believe you mean "deprecating" and "deprecated."

    • Avatar

      zybch

      In reply to Cristian:

      Since 1703 (I think) settings is almost there. Another revision should hopefully do it.

      But, I hope they still leave the old UI in there as even though Settings is great, its still faster for me to find stuff in the classic control panel view than trying to remember which of the 11 Settings categories everything is in.

    • Avatar

      hrlngrv

      In reply to Cristian:

      What's really absurd is the back and forth between Settings and Control Panel for some things, e.g., 16241 still shows Control Panel > Programs > Default Programs, but all its links open Settings except AutoPlay settings, but Settings > Devices also has an AutoPlay item.

  30. Avatar

    rameshthanikodi

    Nothing much to see here but RIP Paint, you were good but nasty internet comments killed you.

  31. Avatar

    Slepr

    I also read somewhere that Homegroup was being canned as well. Never really worked for me anyway.

  32. Avatar

    Darmok N Jalad

    Outlook Express? Wow. That (should have) died with XP.

  33. Avatar

    JanesJr1

    System image is essential to me as a small business owner. I have found third party apps difficult to use and usually unreliable compared to it in real-life application, and I've tried 'em all. I have many win32 apps, and without a full system image, it takes me one full week to re-install and configure all the apps necessary to my professional work. The trouble with deleting it is: it works.

    • Avatar

      Narg

      In reply to JanesJr1:

      "The trouble with deleting it is: it works."

      Sorry, I have to differ here. It appears to work, but I've seen far too often where it didn't. There are far better methods. Modern computing best practices states you do NOT do a full metal backup. They are slow, tedious and fail too often. You setup cloud based syncing of data and condition the user to be able to swap machines at an instant. Far less downtime, and easier to adjust to adverse environments when/where needed.

      • Avatar

        Polycrastinator

        In reply to Narg:

        Well, kind of. Full metal backups of servers, restore to a VM quickly if something goes down.

        The backup software we use most often at our company is Storagecraft's ShadowProtect, and I'd recommend taking a look at that. Very robust and reliable from my experience of it.

        • Avatar

          Narg

          In reply to Polycrastinator:

          Servers, for sure. They are in a different category all-together though. And a "full metal backup" for VM is usually done with 3rd party software anyway to simplify or improve the process. My statement was for desktops, sorry I should have mentioned that.

    • Avatar

      Waethorn

      In reply to JanesJr1:

      You should learn to preload your apps in Audit Mode and use DISM in WinPE to image.

    • Avatar

      sgtaylor5

      In reply to JanesJr1:

      I've tried them all, and AOMEI Backupper for Windows 7 (and by extension 8 and 10) is the most bulletproof solution I've found. Use Disk Backup style and set the name (originally "Disk backup") to a name that describes your system, and verify.

      • Avatar

        warren

        In reply to sgtaylor5:

        I can vouch for AOMEI. It's significantly better than the Windows 7 SIB stuff, and supports doing some nice things like being able to restore into a VM, and to perform backups on a schedule or in real-time as files change(!).

        Yeah, you've gotta pay $50 to get many of the most useful features, and $500 for use on unlimited machines, but that's a small price to pay for the certainty of being able to manage a backup infrastructure.

    • Avatar

      ChristopherCollins

      In reply to JanesJr1:

      I am in a similar situation to you. I used to use the Win 7 Backup/Restore frequently to do something very similar to what you are talking about.


      Clonezilla ended up being the third party/free tool I settled on. Also, I use Samsung SSD's in all of our machines and they have a great cloning utility that works from hard drive to Samsung and Samsung to Samsung. I had limited success with Acronis. Clonezilla & the Samsung utility have been the two things I used the most.

  34. Avatar

    mortarm

    3D Builder was pointless, especially when there are other free 3D programs, like Blender, that do so much more. As for Paint, not a big loss. Again, there are much better, free alternatives, like The Gimp or Paint.net.

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