Rejoice! Microsoft will keep Paint alive after all

Update 25.07.2017: Microsoft has taken note of the uproar concerning Paint’s rumoured demise and put the record straight. The beloved drawing application won’t be bumped off – the company is just putting it into a retirement home. But it can still visit!

“Today, we’ve seen an incredible outpouring of support and nostalgia around MS Paint,” Megan Saunders, Microsoft’s general manager at the 3D for everyone initiative wrote in a blog post. “Amidst today’s commentary around MS Paint we wanted to take this opportunity to set the record straight, clear up some confusion and share some good news: MS Paint is here to stay, it will just have a new home soon, in the Windows Store where it will be available for free.”

Whether this was the plan all along or Microsoft just saw an opportunity to get some good PR by pushing Paint onto the Windows store instead of the recycle bin is an open question. I mean, it’s fair to say that relegating software from “integral to “optional” isn’t a huge vote of confidence, but it’s better than nothing.

My theory is that it was Elizabeth’s emotional outpouring (see below) that saved Paint’s bacon, but I guess we’ll never know. Paint lives on in the Windows Store – where everyone can go back to forgetting it existed until the next time it’s threatened.  

The original article continues below

Microsoft Paint – the tool that gives anyone the ability to draw barely recognisable stick figures without any artistic training – will be killed off this year. Microsoft has announced that Paint, along with Outlook Express and the Reader app, has been marked, and will be joining Clippy the paperclip in the great recycle bin in the sky later this year.

All three appear on Microsoft’s list of “features that are removed or deprecated in Windows 10 Fall Creators Update”. But while few will shed any tears over Outlook Express, Paint elicits feelings of genuine nostalgia. The drawing tool has been a part of Windows since version 1.0 was released, way back in 1985 – and it would be 13 years before it could save JPEGs.

Microsoft has been noodling away with Paint as recently as 2009 when it got a makeover for Windows 7, but it was still a bankrupt man’s Photoshop. It was, nonetheless, capable of producing incredible works of art if you had quite a lot of patience and even more free time.

For most of us, though, this is the kind of thing we’d come up with in tribute:paint_tribute

As I’m writing this on a Mac, I had to outsource that image to Dennis content strategist Elizabeth Donoghue, who seemed particularly traumatised by the news of Microsoft Paint’s passing. “I use it for all my image editing and refuse to install anything better,” she said between bursts of tears (I imagine, anyway – this was on Slack). “It’s really good for drawing condescending arrows on screenshots when people aren’t looking for things properly.”

As someone with limited artistic skills who flatly refuses to install Photoshop, I can’t help but feel the same sentiments. But it’s more than that: Paint was born the year after me, and if it could happen to a beloved drawing tool, it really could happen to anyone.

RIP, Paint.

Paint is survived by its disappointing modern child, Paint 3D. It is not fit to keep the family name.

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