by Graham Pierrepoint
If you’re a seasoned Windows user, it’s almost impossible that you’re unaware of the simplistic brilliance that is Microsoft Paint. The free-to-use program, which has come packaged with all versions of Windows operating systems for the past 32 years, is often credited with getting graphic designers and digital artists started – and while it has often been the subject of derision and the absolute benchmark of the lowest possible image quality going, it has also provided essential escapism for those of us at school, college or at work looking for a little release. Hands up how many of you reading – even the loyal ones – haven’t had a dabble on MS Paint during down periods at the office? Be honest!
This week, the world’s united love of MS Paint came into full force as it emerged that Microsoft would be retiring the beloved software after 32 years in the spotlight – albeit tucked away in the ‘accessories’ sub-folder for some years – meaning that users of Windows 10 with forthcoming updates would have to face up to using software such as Paint 3D, or would even – horror of horrors – have to face purchasing licensed image editing from another firm. There was a huge backlash against the decision – so much so that, in what seemed to be less than a day after the announcement was made public, it was announced that MS Paint would still be supported in later versions after all – albeit not in the way we’ve come to love it.
MS Paint will instead be offered as a free download via Windows Store – meaning that hardware produced after the forthcoming updates to Windows 10 will no longer feature the iconic little paint pot in its default list of programs. To be able to sketch, paint and edit with ease, you’re going to need to actively download the software all over again – which, for some of the more nostalgic among us, will be too big a price to pay, even if it won’t be costing us anything to download the program.
MS Paint will live on in the hearts of many – in generations of PC users who use it to play, edit, create genuine works of art or simply bunk off work or school – and while it has been saved from the boneyard – technically – its tucking away still marks the end of a long era.