Why it matters: There are some programs that have been part of Windows for decades, such as Notepad, Paint, and WordPad. While useful for quick tasks, they can’t be removed from the operating system, but that’s going to change in an upcoming update.
Notepad and Paint have been installed by Windows automatically since version 1.0 of the operating system launched in 1985. WordPad, meanwhile, has been installed automatically since 1995 with the launch of Windows 95.
Microsoft has made the programs optional in Windows 10 Insider Build 19551; they can be uninstalled via the ‘Optional features’ control panel. According to Windows Latest (via Bleeping Computer), Paint and WordPad are set to become optional features in the Windows 10 20H1 build, also known as version 2004, which is expected to arrive in April or May.
Once Notepad, Paint, and WordPad have been uninstalled via the menu, a system reboot is required, after which the apps will be wiped and won’t appear in the Start menu search. While the three programs take up less than 20MB combined, being able to remove them should make it easier to install alternatives such as NotePad2, NotePad++, and Paint.NET.
Although Microsoft is making the programs optional, it’s not a sign that they’ll be removed completely in a future update. Back in 2017, Microsoft said it would drop Paint from Windows, moving it to the Windows Store as a free download, but the company last year announced that the program would remain part of Windows 10 “for now.”