Microsoft has confirmed it has no plans to make WordPad on Windows 11 a “reinstallable” feature, which will be removed in a future update release. When you do a clean install of Windows 11 Build 26020 or newer, available in the Canary channel, you will notice that WordPad is no longer installed.
Starting with Windows 11 Build 26020, Microsoft has pulled the plug on two of its features – WordPad and People. Both apps are no longer installed on Windows 11 when you do a clean “fresh installation” of the operating system using the Build 26020.
For now, this change is limited to Build 26020, but a note in its support document suggests the WordPad will also be removed from the production builds. It’s unclear when Microsoft will remove WordPad from Windows 11, but it’s likely targeted towards the long-rumoured Windows Hudson Valley update.
In a support document updated in December 2023, Microsoft clearly mentioned that WordPad has been depreciated and “is no longer being updated and will be removed in a future release of Windows”.
Without explaining why the company is removing the legacy text editor app, it suggested people use Microsoft Word for rich text documents. If you prefer a lightweight or free text editor for documents .txt, Microsoft recommends switching to NotePad.
“We recommend Microsoft Word for rich text documents like .doc and .rtf and Windows Notepad for plain text documents like .txt,” the tech giant noted.
This shouldn’t surprise anyone, as Microsoft heavily invests in apps like NotePad and Paint.
Interestingly, Microsoft also won’t let users reinstall the WordPad once it is removed from the OS. Since WordPad is not available in the Microsoft Store, you won’t be able to visit the native app store and grab the app again.
Once removed, it’s not coming back through the official mediums.
Microsoft is removing legacy apps and services
Microsoft is also phasing out the People app and Steps Recorder.
The People app, which made much more sense during the Windows 10 Mobile era, is no longer installed in fresh Windows canary downloads.
Back then, Microsoft described the People app as your address book, somewhat similar to the contacts app on your phone, but it also combined some of the famous native social apps in one place. This included Skype, Mail, and Calendar apps.
At the same time, Microsoft is removing other legacy components from the operating system, such as the old taskbar, system tray and P2P services.
When these changes are implemented in the production channel, some workarounds, like editing the Windows Registry to re-enable the legacy taskbar, will no longer be effective.