After 28 years of service, Microsoft is killing WordPad

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(Image credit: David Becker (Getty Images))

Fresh from plunging a dagger into Cortana's digital heart, Microsoft is sharpening another knife while staring at a photograph of a victim with the eyes cut out and a bunch of darts holding it to the wall. That victim is WordPad, the blameless text editor sitting between Notepad and Word—neither a fully lightweight feature-free box for writing a shopping list in, nor an entire word processor ecosystem.

For that sin WordPad has been sentenced first to deprecation and then deletion. In a note called Deprecated features for Windows client, Microsoft has announced, "WordPad is no longer being updated and will be removed in a future release of Windows. We recommend Microsoft Word for rich text documents like .doc and .rtf and Windows Notepad for plain text documents like .txt."

Presumably everyone is actually just using Google Docs instead these days. I imagine the only reason Word is safe is because so many offices run on inertia and the thought of not using the same word processor they've always used would send management into instant cardiac arrest.

WordPad's been around since Windows 95, when it took over from Microsoft Write. Though it doesn't have spellcheck or a thesaurus, and there's no support for footnotes or separating pages, if for some reason you were given an .rtf file to open WordPad was the go-to. I can't say I'll miss it, but at least getting rid of it will free up—let me open control panel for a second—er, 6.25 MB of space.

Jody Macgregor
Weekend/AU Editor

Jody's first computer was a Commodore 64, so he remembers having to use a code wheel to play Pool of Radiance. A former music journalist who interviewed everyone from Giorgio Moroder to Trent Reznor, Jody also co-hosted Australia's first radio show about videogames, Zed Games. He's written for Rock Paper Shotgun, The Big Issue, GamesRadar, Zam, Glixel, Five Out of Ten Magazine, and, whose cheques with the bunny logo made for fun conversations at the bank. Jody's first article for PC Gamer was about the audio of Alien Isolation, published in 2015, and since then he's written about why Silent Hill belongs on PC, why Recettear: An Item Shop's Tale is the best fantasy shopkeeper tycoon game, and how weird Lost Ark can get. Jody edited PC Gamer Indie from 2017 to 2018, and he eventually lived up to his promise to play every Warhammer videogame.