Pix-elation! Beloved Graphics Program MS Paint Is Saved After Internet Outcry

After 32 years, Windows computers will no longer come with MS Paint preinstalled, but you can still download the program for free.

Reports of the death of MS Paint have been greatly exaggerated.

Following widespread outcry, Microsoft has announced that it will not, in fact, entirely kill off old-school graphics program MS Paint. Though Windows machines will no longer come with Paint preloaded, as they have since the program’s initial release in 1985, the app will still be available for free download.

“Today, we’ve seen an incredible outpouring of support and nostalgia around MS Paint. 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,” wrote Microsoft’s Megan Saunders in a blog post on July 24. “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.”

Although the graphics program will no longer come preloaded in Windows machines, MS Paint will still be available from Microsoft as a free download. Courtesy of Microsoft.

Although the graphics program will no longer come preloaded in Windows machines, MS Paint will still be available from Microsoft as a free download. Courtesy of Microsoft.

In Microsoft’s list of “features that are removed or deprecated in Windows 10 Fall Creators Update,” as reported by the Guardian, Paint was listed as deprecated, or “not in active development and might be removed in future releases.”

In 2016, Windows released a new, more high-tech graphics program, called Paint 3D, which has the capability to do 3-D modeling. The initial announcement regarding the phasing out of MS Paint noted that its “functionality [is] integrated into Paint 3D,” the program’s successor.

The news of the program’s imminent demise launched a wave of collective nostalgia across the Internet, despite MS Paint’s well-earned reputation for producing crappy artwork. The program is something of a universal experience, with almost everyone having struggled with its basic interface, using it to copy and paste images or bang out a quick sketch. And Paint is more ubiquitous than you might think, attracting 100 million monthly users, according to a 2017 Microsoft blog post.

Even with the program’s considerable limitations, some artists can create surprisingly detailed artworks created with the program’s extremely unsophisticated set of tools.

Pat Hines created this endless portrait of Bill Gates using MS Paint. Courtesy of Pat Hines.

Pat Hines created this endless portrait of Bill Gates using MS Paint. Courtesy of Pat Hines.

Among them are illustrator Pat Hines, who spends up to 20 hours on his MS Paint masterpieces, carefully considering each and every pixel, and Hal Lasko, a retired graphic artist who took up MS Paint in his late 80s, receiving acclaim as the “Pixel Painter” before dying in 2014 at the age of 98.

“I’ve tried moving on to other programs, but I could just never connect with them,” Hines, who mastered the program while working a night shift at a hospital, told the BBC.

Hal Lasko, <em>Looking Up</em>. Courtesy of Hal Lasko.

Hal Lasko, Looking Up. Courtesy of Hal Lasko.

Others acknowledged the discontinuation of the outdated program as understandable given the many advances in graphics technology, with PC Gamer calling it sad “in the same way it’s sad that Pluto is no longer designated a planet.”

Though Paint has ultimately received a reprieve, the Guardian rightfully notes that many companies will likely not allow employees to add the program to their machines, writing that “while home users will be free to download Microsoft Paint from the Windows Store and put it back where it belongs, office workers around the world will be deprived of their impromptu creative sessions once Paint is severed from Windows as standard.”

So basically, feel free to continue to make crappy Paint artwork, but you might not be able to do it on your boss’s time—depending on how soon your computer is updated.


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