Microsoft has made a subtle announcement that WordPad, the basic word processor included with Windows since 1995, will no longer receive updates and will eventually be retired. This information was added to the Deprecated features for Windows client page on Microsoft Learn on September 1, 2023. According to the page, Microsoft recommends using Microsoft Word for rich text documents like .doc and .rtf, and Windows Notepad for plain text documents like .txt.
There is no need for outrage over this decision, as WordPad has been outdated for quite some time and is hardly functional for its intended purpose of viewing and editing rich text files (RTF). WordPad was introduced in Windows 95 as a replacement for Write, which was included in all previous Windows versions dating back to the original in 1985. It underwent two major updates over the years: the ability to open Microsoft Word documents in Windows XP (2001) and the addition of a ribbon user interface in Windows 7 (2009).
Although there were other updates, WordPad appears outdated in modern Windows versions, serving as a vestige of the past. While Microsoft’s suggestion to use Microsoft Word may seem off-base due to its paid nature, it is worth noting that RTF is rarely used these days. Additionally, the web versions of Word are available for free if necessary.
Interestingly, Microsoft announced the deprecation of WordPad separate from any major Windows version, which is not entirely uncommon for minor features. The timing of its removal remains unclear. For example, Cortana and Skype were deprecated in 2021 but only became non-functional about a month ago, and they are still present in Windows. Microsoft has also recently announced the deprecation of certain obscure features in Edge.
In conclusion, WordPad’s retirement comes as no surprise given its outdated status and limited functionality. Microsoft’s recommendation to use alternative tools for document editing aligns with the needs of modern users.