Retro Tech

WordPad Says Goodbye: A Look Back at the Minimalist Writing App

After 28 faithful years – outliving Internet Explorer, Encarta and the Zune – WordPad's legacy is coming to an end

Retro Alex

Updated on:

In September 2023, the web was in an uproar over a seemingly modest release note included in a feature update. Microsoft’s post on deprecated Windows features called out one surprising addition: 

WordPad is no longer being updated and will be removed in a future release of Windows.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.

Deprecated features for Windows client

It took tech blogs a few days to notice this update. But then, the reports came. As of this writing, 171 blogs and news sources wrote about WordPad’s deprecation. Before Bleeping Computer broke the news, there wasn’t a new mention of WordPad on the web in more than a month. 

While we are wondering why Microsoft made this decision, they didn’t provide an explanation. It may be not a coincidence that Microsoft is announcing this deprecation a few months after malware exploited a DLL library file used by WordPad.

I couldn’t tell you the last time I used WordPad. And I’m glad to see Microsoft reinvesting in Notepad in Windows. As WordPad approaches her end of life, let’s take a look back and celebrate the little RTF editor that outlived the Zune, WebTV, Encarta and Internet Explorer.

A star is born: WordPad in Windows 95

New formatting options were added to WordPad in Windows 98

WordPad in Windows XP retained much of the same functionality

WordPad in Windows 10 looks pretty spiffy

WordPad’s UI was updated to include a ribbon back in Windows 7, mimicking Microsoft Office. It has retained that style ever since. 

So long, WordPad. We may have barely used you, but without you, our Accessories folder will never feel the same.