Microsoft’s next Windows 10 update, called the Autumn (or Fall in the US) Creators Update, will bring a variety of new features. But one long-standing stalwart of the Windows experience has been put on the chopping block: Microsoft Paint.
First released with the very first version of Windows 1.0 in 1985, Paint in its various guises would be one of the first graphics editors used by many and became a core part of Windows. Starting life as a 1-bit monochrome licensed version of ZSoft’s PC Paintbrush, it wasn’t until Windows 98 that Paint could save in JPEG.
With the Windows 10 Creators Update, released in April, Microsoft introduced the new Paint 3D, which is installed alongside traditional Paint and features 3D image making tools as well as some basic 2D image editing. But it is not an update to original Paint and doesn’t behave like it.
Now Microsoft has announced that, alongside Outlook Express, Reader app and Reading list, Microsoft Paint has been signalled for death having been added to the “features that are removed or deprecated in Windows 10 Fall Creators Update” list.
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Paint 3D. Photograph: Samuel Gibbs for the Guardian
Falling under the deprecated column for apps that are “not in active development and might be removed in future releases”, Microsoft Paint’s ticket has been called and now it’s only a matter of time before it is removed like your favourite piece of old furniture from your childhood home.
Paint was never one of the most capable apps, and was limited to the bitmap (BMP) and PCX formats until 1998, but if you wanted to scribble something out using your mouse or make a quick cut and paste job, Paint was always there, even on work computers.
The most recent version of Paint for Windows 7 and later was much improved, but still considered feature poor compared to other free alternatives such as the third-party Paint.NET.
When Microsoft Paint will officially be removed from Windows has yet to be confirmed, while a precise date for the release of the Windows 10 Autumn Creators Update is equally up in the air. Whether, like Clippy, Windows users will celebrate or decry Paint’s removal, it will be a moment in the history of Windows as one of its longest-standing apps is put out to pasture.