Microsoft Paint to be discontinued from next Windows update

After 32 years, Microsoft Paint is set to disappear from future Windows installations. The next update will see MS Paint replaced by Paint 3D. It has appeared on Windows since the very first version of the operating system, which was back in 1985.

Microsoft Paint was originally a version of ZSoft’s PC Paintbrush, published in November 1985. It only had 1 bit graphics, which was great if you had a black and white printer. Therefore, various shades of grey were denoted by their stippling effects. It is hard to imagine how limited PC Paintbrush was alongside equivalents on 8-bit machines like the Atari 800 (with The Designer’s Pencil) and the Commodore 64 (with KoalaPad).

This was consistent with hardware limitations at the time. State of the art in 1985 was the 80286 processor; the Apple Macintosh was in full swing, with Pagemaker the DTP package of choice. The average PC, in CGA mode could only show four colours from a sixteen colour palette: black, white, cyan, and magenta were popular.

At first, Microsoft Paint only supported its own file format. Come Windows 3.1, BMP was the default format. This was followed by compatibility for JPG, GIF, TIF, and PNG formats. This materialised in 1998 when Windows ‘98, and the need to support internet file formats came to the fore.

Due to its limitations, when compared with the Adobe Creative Suite programs and other professional packages, it became a popular program for pixel art. It inspired pixel artist Jim’ll Paint It to create – for free – satirical images with Microsoft Paint. If you look at his work, it leaves our background image (which we have done in MS Paint for old times’ sake) standing in the dust. His patience is astounding.

Will we miss Microsoft Paint? As a worthwhile package for messing about with, yes. Well, it has been nice knowing you and who knows, its replacement could have a cult following.

Dreamkatcha, 25 July 2017.