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After 28 years, Microsoft will stop including the free word processing application WordPad in Windows. Users will soon be able to rely on Word or Notepad after a future Windows update. The most recent Windows 11 Insider Build has removed the application entirely.

Update January 8, 2024 (Erik van Klinken): This article has been updated to reflect the fact that WordPad has been removed from Windows 11 Insider Build 26020.

Recently, Microsoft announced that WordPad will no longer be supported. Customers who want an alternative will be referred to Microsoft Word for rich-text files such as .docx or .rtf and Microsoft Notepad for .txt files.

That Microsoft was pushing WordPad toward the exit had been known for some time. As of 2020, installation of the basic text editor had already become optional.

WordPad functionality

WordPad has been a standard part of every Windows installation since Windows 95. The text editor allows users to create and modify documents. The fairly basic text editor can read various rich-text files such as .docx, although it cannot save the latter specific file. Normally, the text editor saves files in the .rtf format, but a.txt format or other open text formats are also possible. Other than that, the tool has no spell checker or word count features.

Previously discontinued tools in Windows

Users who still want to continue using a free basic rich-text editor like WordPad can switch to open-source alternatives. Examples include LibreOffice or Apache Open Office.

Earlier, Microsoft stopped including the classic version of Paint in Windows installations, although still available through the Microsoft Store, and the virtual assistant Cortana, replaced by Copilot.

Tip: Microsoft forces update on Windows 11 21H2 users