Microsoft removes WordPad from clean installs of Windows 11 Canary Builds, and you cannot reinstall it
Microsoft has begun the removal of WordPad from Windows 11 Insider Program. The app is no longer available on clean installs of the Canary Channel Builds.
This is not surprising, as the company had previously confirmed in September 2023, that the legacy rich text editor has been deemed a deprecated Windows feature.
Microsoft begins removal of WordPad from Windows 11 Insider Builds
And now it appears that the company has begun the removal of the app from test builds of Windows 11. It is not being deleted for all users immediately. Microsoft's announcement on the Insider Blog says that WordPad will no longer be installed if a user does a clean install of the OS, starting with Build 26020 in the Canary Channel. So, if you format your computer's drive, or try to install Windows 11 (Canary Builds) on a new PC, you will not be able to access the app. The Redmond company has also removed the People app from the operating system.
The announcement mentions that WordPad will be removed for all users in a future build of Windows 11. It might take a while for the app to be removed from the Dev and Beta channels, likely in the coming months, before it is deleted from the Stable version of the operating system, but it is inevitable.
You won't be able to reinstall WordPad
When Microsoft deprecates a feature from Windows, usually you can get them back by reinstalling them from the Settings app > System > Optional features. But, you won't be able to do this method to get WordPad back on your computer. Microsoft says that users WordPad cannot be reinstalled once it has been removed. It remains to be seen whether users are able to find a workaround for this restriction, for example, by copying over the binary files (EXE) from an older version of the operating system.
Neowin reports that Microsoft is also discontinuing Step Recorder, but it is not being removed from Windows 11 yet. The app displays a banner that it is no longer being actively developed.
As for moving away from WordPad, Microsoft is recommending users to switch from the app to Notepad for plain TXT files, and to Microsoft Word or Microsoft 365 for editing RTF documents. Of course, you can also use something like Google Docs or Word Online for free if you prefer a cloud-based document editor.
Notepad isn't a bad option per se. The Silicon Valley giant has been improving the app over the past few years by adding features like dark mode, multi-level undo and redo, tabs and auto-save for documents. Notepad recently gained a character count on the status bar. But it cannot handle other file types such as RTF (Rich Text Format).
If you are interested in a proper Microsoft WordPad alternative, I would suggest taking a look at Libre Office. It is a free, open source office suite that works offline, and supports a wide range of formats. You can also consider using apps like NotePad++.
Do you use WordPad? Which app do you plan to switch to?Advertisement