Microsoft Paint Lives On, Moving to Windows Store

Microsoft Paint will have a new home in the Windows Store as a free download. Meanwhile, Adobe's Flash Player faces a bleaker fate.


News that Microsoft Paint wasn't long for this world caused a bit of an uproar online and across social media this week. After it was discovered that the software giant was removing the rudimentary image editor from future versions of Windows, users took to Twitter and other social networks to bemoan Microsoft's decision to ditch one of the operating system's most enduring features.

Their pleas didn't fall on deaf ears.

Microsoft Paint has been part of the Windows experience for decades, and while the company is moving ahead with removing it as a bundled piece of software, it won't be eliminated completely, announced Microsoft's Megan Saunders, general manager of the company's 3D for Everyone Initiative and Windows Experiences unit.

In a late-day blog yesterday, Saunders wrote that the company had "seen an incredible outpouring of support and nostalgia around MS Paint" following reports that it was being retired. "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."

Windows Store, the operating system's built-in app marketplace, with be Microsoft Paint's new "home," she stated in her July 24 post. The app will be available as a no-cost download soon, she added.

Meanwhile, Saunders is encouraging users to check out the Paint 3D app, which is now part of stock Windows installations. It contains several of the same 2D image editing tools as its predecessor, but with added 3D modeling capabilities.

Although Microsoft Paint has been spared, one legacy technology that has helped shape the internet is finally being put to rest.

Fading Flash

Adobe Flash, the web video and interactivity platform and associated browser plug-in technology, is being put out to pasture at the end of 2020, the company announced today. In just a few short years, Adobe will no longer distribute Flash Player or issue updates.

The company acknowledged that open standards such as HTML5 and WebGL have matured over the years, enabling software makers to incorporate much of the functionality provided by Flash directly into their web browsers. And while it went unaddressed in Adobe's announcement, the pioneering technology has become a popular target for cyber-attackers and has drawn the ire of IT professionals tasked with keeping their users and their data safe.

Adobe patched its Flash Player in April, addressing vulnerabilities that were brought to light in the Pwn2Own 2017 hacking contest. Yet, even with a consistent stream of patches, Flash vulnerabilities often endanger systems long after they're fixed. Last week, citing research from partner company Qualys, Cisco's Midyear Cybersecurity Report revealed that organizations take an average of 62 days to patch 80 percent of known Flash vulnerabilities.

Microsoft, for its part, has a plan for the impending Adobe Flash phase-out. In a separate blog post today, the company published a timeline of how its Edge and Internet Explorer browsers behave when it encounters Flash content on the web.

"By the end of 2020, we will remove the ability to run Adobe Flash in Microsoft Edge and Internet Explorer across all supported versions of Microsoft Windows," announced John Hazen, principal program manager lead at Microsoft Edge. "Users will no longer have any ability to enable or run Flash." 

Pedro Hernandez

Pedro Hernandez

Pedro Hernandez is a contributor to eWEEK and the IT Business Edge Network, the network for technology professionals. Previously, he served as a managing editor for the network of...