Goodbye, MS Paint

So Long

Microsoft is removing a big collection of stalwart programs that were part of all our…well, my and my peers’…childhoods when they release the Fall Creator’s Update later this year. Screensavers are on their way out, as is Outlook Express. Some functionality such as Reader is being rolled up into Microsoft’s Edge browser. To be clear, many of these features are being deprecated, which means they are no longer being developed. In big-technology corporate-speak, however, that means they are soon to be removed altogether, although in fairness some Windows features have been deprecated for decades but are still part of Windows. Plus, the Creator’s Update will also introduce neat new features such as picking up on one device where you left off on another, as well as VR / AR features currently in development, including hardware and controllers. If you’re interested, you can read all about the Update straight from Microsoft.

The part of this that everyone is up in arms about, however, is the impending removal of MS Paint. This seems to be the thing that is garnering the most response, and causing people the most grief, or at least the most coverage. Originally developed by ZSoft as PC Paintbrush, it was licensed by Microsoft and included with Windows as Microsoft paintbrush, later changed to MS Paint. It was even originally sold with a mouse, as they weren’t such a common input method at the time.

Here’s CGA PC Paintbrush, with four colors on the screen at a a time, out of 16 possible colors. Note the way they tried to increase the available colors with textures and patterns. Good times.

CGA PC Paintbrush

CGA PC Paintbrush

Here’s a VGA version:

VGA PC Paintbrush

VGA PC Paintbrush

Of course, the reason Paint is causing such a stir is because so many people have used it for so much. We all used it just to make nonsense little drawings, and in its more recent versions it was not too bad for cropping, resizing, even making small notations like arrows and circles and whatnot. One person was even able to use it to draw the Mona Lisa. We’ll keep all the memes, rage comics, country balls, and everthing else out of this discussion, we’re trying to be serious here!

It’s being replaced with Paint3D, which is already included in Windows. In many ways it’s the same as Paint, and in many ways it isn’t, but it works well enough for cropping and resizing, and of course you can make nifty 3D scenes. I personally use IrfanView for cropping and resizing, which is quite easy and offers a lot of features, but to each their own.

Even so, the removal of Paint – if it does actually get removed – is the end of an era for Windows. I’ve been messing with it for longer than thirty years, and I’m sad to see it go. Not because it was an important part of my toolbox, at least not anymore, but because it had simply been around so long, and I always knew it was there; it’s like when the neighbors who always smile and wave, yet you never talk to, move away. Oh well, time marches on. I’m sure it’ll always be there in spirit, and available for download for the die-hards.

Going Up