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Save your WordPad before it’s too late

Wordpad is about to be removed from Windows 11, here’s something you can try to keep this useful Word document app available.

Microsoft is ending WordPad the long-standing app that’s installed with Windows which can open, view, edit and print Word documents (.doc .docx) and RTF files.

Microsoft isn’t just removing WordPad from new Windows 11 installs, a future Windows 11 update is planned to delete the app from existing computers.  That second part is unprecedented, not explained and making quite a few people angry.

This suggestion from an Office Watch reader “CI” is worth considering …

“What keeps someone from copying wordpad.exe and then pasting it somewhere on your execution path, and renaming the copy “wordpad_4me.exe”.

This trick might work. It depends on exactly how Microsoft removes WordPad.  If they just delete WordPad.exe then a copied and renamed app should work.  But if Redmond adds additional blocks then this workaround might not, er, work.

Copy WordPad now

You need to copy the WordPad files BEFORE Microsoft tries to delete them in a future update.

WordPad has more than one file, all saved at

C:\Program Files\Windows NT\Accessories

In Windows 11 and Windows 10.

There’s Wordpad.exe, a related WordpadFilter.dll plus language files in sub-folders (English US and GB/UK on our test machine but there may be others for the supported languages on your computer).

Copy ALL the files and folders to another folder.  We made a new folder /Program Files/My WordPad/ 

Windows will pop-up warnings because you’re copying crucial files. Choose ‘Continue’.

An alternative destination might be somewhere in your Documents folder or some other location that’s regularly backed up (e.g. File History).

Why now?

It’s a precaution. If the WordPad files are removed, the only way to get them back might be an unofficial download from an unknown source.  That’s not a good idea because hackers might try to plant viruses into replacement WordPad.

Far safer to use a known copy of WordPad that came from Microsoft direct.

When/If Wordpad is removed, you’ll have a copy ready to setup with a shortcut and Start Menu links.

As mentioned earlier, after WordPad is deleted, it’s likely that copies of Wordpad files will appear on the Internet. Downloading from non-Microsoft sources is NEVER a good idea because you can’t be sure some virus or other nasty has been added. In this case, it’s better to get your own copy now.

Readers have pointed out that the Wordpad files could be recovered from a Windows install image (.iso) file. That’s certainly an alternative, assuming you have the tools to dig into an .ISO file AND you have a Windows install image from before the deletion of Wordpad.

Wordpad is ending, what are your alternatives?

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