Reports of MS Paint’s death have been greatly exaggerated

25 Jul 2017

Image: Windows

MS Paint’s surprise demise was not exactly that, with Microsoft claiming that it will become a free, stand-alone app in the Windows Store.

Nothing unites internet users quite like a bit of nostalgia.

If Dizzy –The Ultimate Cartoon Adventure made a comeback, for example, those of a particular age would delight.

Should Frogger re-emerge as a true non-sporting response to today’s Pong equivalents, many would rejoice.

When Clip Art left us, many mourned.

So, when rumours of MS Paint being ‘killed off’ by Microsoft emerged this week, many were concerned, some angered.

However, fret no more, Generation X, for your first introduction to digital design remains online, albeit in a new home.

Megan Saunders, GM of 3D for Everyone Initiative at Windows Experiences wrote a blog post to clarify where MS Paint is going, and why. The immediate response of users seems to have really struck a chord.

“We’ve seen an incredible outpouring of support and nostalgia around MS Paint,” she said. “If there’s anything we learned, it’s that after 32 years, MS Paint has a lot of fans.

“It’s been amazing to see so much love for our trusty old app.

“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.”

Dating back to 1985, when MS Paint was part of Windows 1.0, the basic art tool has remained part of many people’s lives.

For example, Jim’ll Paint It has built a service where public requests for bizarre, often nostalgic events are recreated entirely through MS Paint.

For example, Jim was recently asked to create a piece with Fox McCloud from Star Fox in his Arwing fighter, Miles ‘Tails’ Prower in his biplane, and the cyborg ninja Gray Fox from Metal Gear Solid chasing down Theresa May while Brian May and some badgers cheer them on.

Other requests have proven to be just as creative.

The tool has evolved significantly since its single-bit monochrome 1980s days, with Windows 98 bringing an upgrade that could finally save in JPEG. Prior to that, images were saved in bitmap – indeed, BMP is an acronym that is rarely seen nowadays, but is a staple of many a childhood.

It was quickly overtaken by other image editing and painting software, though its ease of use and low processing power made it a must-have for most Windows devices.

Now that it’s off to the Windows Store, Microsoft is busy pushing its native replacement, Paint 3D.

Available on the Windows 10 Creators Update that signals the end of a native MS Paint, Paint 3D is home to much of what its predecessor originally offered, “like photo editing, line and curve tools, and 2D creation”, according to Saunders.

Paint 3D will continue to get updates. MS Paint, most likely, will now be housed in its own time-capsuled state.

“So, thanks for all the MS Paint love, keep the feedback coming via the Paint 3D app, and keep creating!” urged Saunders.

Gordon Hunt was a journalist with Silicon Republic