As of Windows 11 preview build 26020 (which has just been unleashed in the Canary channel), the WordPad and People apps have been given the elbow.
Although technically, while the People app itself is being dispensed with, that’s because its functionality (or at least much of it) is being transferred to Outlook for Windows, the new default mailbox app for Windows 11 devices (as of the start of 2024).
In short, you’ll still get the People app (contacts) in that mailbox client, but there’ll no longer be an actual People application that can be fired up separately.
WordPad, on the other hand, is being completely dispensed with, or rather it will be when the changes made in this preview build come to the release version of Windows 11.
Going forward from then, any clean installation of Windows 11 won’t have WordPad, and eventually, this app will be removed when users upgrade to a new version of Microsoft’s OS.
You won’t be able to reinstall WordPad once it has gone, either, so this will be a final farewell to the application, which was marked as a deprecated feature back in September 2023.
Also in build 26020, a raft of additions for Voice Access have strengthened Windows 11 on the accessibility front (as seen elsewhere in testing last month).On top of that, Narrator now has natural voices for 10 new locales (in preview), and that includes English (UK) and English (India), as well as the following: Chinese, Spanish (Spain), Spanish (Mexico), Japanese, French, Portuguese, German and Korean.
Furthermore, when the energy saver feature is enabled on a desktop PC (a machine that’s plugged in, rather than running on battery), a new icon is present in the system tray (far-right of the taskbar) to indicate it’s running and saving you a bit of power.
For the full list of changes, check out Microsoft’s blog post for the build.
Analysis: Word up
One thing to clarify here is not to confuse WordPad with Notepad, or Microsoft Word for that matter.
Word is the heavyweight word processor in Microsoft 365 (the suite formerly known as Office), and not a default app. Both WordPad and Notepad are currently default apps in Windows 11, but Notepad is staying firmly put – indeed Microsoft is busy improving this piece of software (adding an autosave feature most recently).
Notepad remains a useful and highly streamlined, much-liked app for jotting notes and the like, whereas WordPad is kind of a ‘lite’ version of Word, and as such a bit more complex in nature (but not anything like a full-on effort such as Word).
WordPad sort of falls between stools a little in that respect, and another reason Microsoft may have decided to drop the app is due to potential security risks (or that was a theory floating around last year, when the software was deprecated).
Even so, there are some folks who will miss WordPad, and with no option to reinstall, they’ll just have to look for a different lightweight word processor for Windows 11 – fortunately, we explore some good alternatives right here.
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Darren is a freelancer writing news and features for TechRadar (and occasionally T3) across a broad range of computing topics including CPUs, GPUs, various other hardware, VPNs, antivirus and more. He has written about tech for the best part of three decades, and writes books in his spare time (his debut novel - 'I Know What You Did Last Supper' - was published by Hachette UK in 2013).