Microsoft

Should Microsoft replace the rest of Windows' native applications with modern apps?

Greg Shultz wonders if it's time to give Notepad, WordPad, Paint, and the other native applications the boot. What are your thoughts?

Windows' native apps

Over time, Microsoft has replaced the majority of Windows' native applications. The most recent of these native applications to bite the dust is Internet Explorer, which is being replaced with Microsoft Edge. Should Microsoft finish the job in Windows 10? Let's take a closer look.

Native application that are now modern apps

As I mentioned, Internet Explorer is being replaced with Microsoft Edge in Windows 10. However, it's not the only native app being replaced by a modern app in Windows 10. The good old Search tool is being replaced by Cortana, and Calculator is being replaced with a modern app of the same name (Figure A).

Figure A

Figure A

The old Calculator has finally been replaced with a modern app of the same name in Windows 10.

You've probably also heard that Solitaire is making a comeback in Windows 10. Well, that's sort of true. In Windows 8, the card games such as Solitaire/FreeCell/Spider were removed from the operating system and replaced with a modern app that you could download from the Windows Store called the Microsoft Solitaire Collection. In Windows 10, the Microsoft Solitaire Collection comes with the operating system, removing the need to download it from the Windows Store.

If you look deeper into the past, you'll see that Windows 10 had a bunch of modern apps that replace older native applications. For example, Mail replaces Outlook Express/Windows Mail, Photos replaces Windows Photo Viewer/Windows Live Photo Gallery, Scan replaces the old Scanner and Camera Wizard (although Windows Fax and Scan still exists), People replaces Address Book, and Voice Recorder replaces Sound Recorder. Oh yeah, and the latest incarnation of Microsoft's Skype app replaces Windows Messenger/MSN Messenger.

And of course, Microsoft has been haphazardly migrating utilities from Control Panel to Settings, which has a modern app interface. Unfortunately, that's become a real mess, since there are settings in both places—but then, you already know my position on the Control Panel vs. Settings debate.

Native applications that could be modern apps

There are still a handful of old, native applications in Windows 10 that could be replaced with equivalent modern apps. For example, the image at the beginning of this article shows mockups that I created for the big three holdouts: Notepad, WordPad, and Paint. There are a couple of other holdouts as well.

For example, we still have Sticky Notes, Snipping Tool, Character Map, and all of the Administrative tools. Many of these applications could easily be replaced with more efficient and more powerful modern apps. And then there's Windows Media Player, which is still included in Windows 10, even though the Music app (Figure B) does everything that Windows Media Player can do and more.

Figure B

Figure B

Windows Media Player is still included in the Windows 10 Insider Preview, even though the Music app does everything WMP can do and more.

What's your take?

Would you like to see some or all of the old native Windows applications replaced with new modern apps? What would you think if Notepad, WordPad, and Paint were replaced by modern apps? Share your opinion in the discussion thread below.

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About Greg Shultz

Greg Shultz is a freelance Technical Writer. Previously, he has worked as Documentation Specialist in the software industry, a Technical Support Specialist in educational industry, and a Technical Journalist in the computer publishing industry.

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