Microsoft has quietly revealed that WordPad, the basic word processor that’s been included with Windows since 1995, is being retired.
“WordPad is no longer being updated and will be removed in a future release of Windows,” the Deprecated features for Windows client page on Microsoft Learn notes in a September 1, 2023 addition. “We recommend Microsoft Word for rich text documents like .doc and .rtf and Windows Notepad for plain text documents like .txt.”
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There’s no reason to be outraged by this decision, as WordPad has been out-of-date for years and is barely usable for its intended purpose, which was to replace to view and edit rich text files (RTF, or *.rtf). WordPad was introduced in Windows 95 as a replacement for Write, which was bundled with all previous Windows versions dating back to the original in 1985, and it had two major updates over the years: the ability to open Microsoft Word documents in Windows XP (2001) and a ribbon user interface in Windows 7 (2009).
There were other updates, of course, but WordPad looks anachronistic in modern Windows versions, like some vestigial reminder of the past. And while Microsoft’s advice to use Microsoft Word instead seems a bit off-base, given that Word is a paid product, RTF is rarely used these days, and anyone can access the web versions of Word for free if needed.
Anyway, it’s interesting that Microsoft revealed this deprecation separately from any major Windows version, though that’s not entirely unique for minor features. And the timing of its removal is unclear. As an example, Cortana was deprecated back in 2021 alongside Skype, but it was only made non-functional about a month ago and still hasn’t been removed from Windows. (Microsoft also recently announced that it was deprecating some obscure Edge features recently.)