After Fans Rallied Around App, Windows Announces It Will Save Microsoft Paint

The classic Windows program responsible for so many wobbly works is getting a new home in the Windows Store

Microsoft Paint Tree
Microsoft Paint has been used to draw or alter art both simple and complex, such as this photo of a tree Renjishino / Wikimedia Commons

Update, July 25, 2017: On Monday evening, Windows' official blog announced that Microsoft Paint's days were no longer paint-by-numbered. The company, citing an outpouring of support around the app, declared it will save MS Paint by moving it to the Windows Store, where it will be made available to download for free.

From the days of glass screens and boxy computers of yesteryear to the sleek, lightweight laptops of today, in the 32 years since Microsoft Windows was introduced, users have always been able to doodle in Microsoft Paint. Now, however, those days might be coming to an end.

In a post about its coming fall update to the Windows 10 operating system, Microsoft marked the feature as "deprecated," signaling that the program may not be included in future releases of Microsoft Windows, reports Brett Molina for USA TODAY.

Microsoft Paint was included with Windows 1.0 released in November 1985. Like the operating system as a whole, the program's features would seem primitive by today's standards. Not until Windows 3.0's release in 1990 were users even able to draw in multiple colors, reports Joe Difazio for the International Business TimesRegardless, as a relatively easy-to-use program, which was included for free on every Windows computer operating system, Microsoft Paint developed a cult of popularity—particularly among people who grew up playing with it as children, reports Alex Cranz for Gizmodo.

Looking back, the beginning of the end for Microsoft Paint might be pinned to this April, when Microsoft released a radically revamped separate version of the program that can be used to create 3D artwork. Paint 3D will now likely supplant the original Microsoft Paint entirely, Samuel Gibbs reports for the Guardian.

While for many, Microsoft Paint was nothing more than a distraction, in its nearly 32 years the program has been used to make some seriously impressive creations. Retired graphic designer Hal Lasko spent the last 13 years of his life composing masterpieces with the program, even as he went blind from wet macular degeneration. A short film about those drawings won several awards after its 2013 release, and was even used as part of a commercial by Microsoft.

Boston artist Pat Hines spent more than 15 years perfecting his skills with Microsoft Paint during free time at various jobs, illustrating cityscapes, movie posters and even his own graphic novel with the program.

“It made me sad,” Hines tells Rafi Letzter of Inverse about the end of Microsoft Paint, “especially for younger kids, because it is such a fun training ground for future digital artists.”

Others have used the program for more humorous uses, such as painter James Murray, who draws offbeat requests from followers of his blog, Jim'll Paint, such as "Night of the Living Shed," or "Thom Yorke the Tank Engine."

Have hope though—Microsoft Paint isn't dead yet, reports Cranz, and it may end up being easier for Microsoft to just keep the beloved program around than kill it off completely. In the meantime, the Guardian is collecting favorite Microsoft Paint creations and memories of its readers to commemorate the program responsible for so many unsteady illustrations.

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