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Windows 11 clears out old apps such as WordPad and Cortana in the latest preview version.

Microsoft is preparing to introduce a significant update for Windows 11, 24H2, currently in the final stages of testing. Recent reports indicate the discontinuation of longstanding Microsoft products such as Cortana and WordPad, along with other older features of Windows 11.

A provisional list of deprecated Windows features can be found on the official Microsoft Learn blog, with the first 24H2 release candidate version now accessible through the Windows Insider Program. The final version is set to launch for all Windows 11 users in either September or October.

The deprecation of WordPad and Cortana was previously discussed, with Cortana being replaced by Microsoft’s new universal digital AI assistant, Copilot. Additional apps like Tips and Step Recorder will also be absent in this version. Step Recorder is a built-in Windows utility that records and analyzes user actions to aid in device troubleshooting.

While some apps and features are being retired, the preview release candidate build introduces new features detailed in an official Windows Blogs post. These include HDR background support, the ability to create 7-zip and TAR archives directly in File Explorer, and enhancements to Bluetooth connectivity for specific devices.

This update also enhances Copilot functionality, with the app rolling out to all Windows 11 users, providing the capability to move, resize, and snap the Copilot window.

(Image credit: Microsoft)

Reflections on the Past and Future of Windows 11

Cortana did not resonate well with Windows users, but the potential removal of WordPad garnered a strong reaction from some. WordPad, a basic text editor present on Windows devices since the 90s, has become nostalgic for many. Some users hope that if there is enough demand, WordPad may return as an optional download from the Microsoft Store, similar to the Paint app’s revival.

Speculation suggests that Microsoft may be discontinuing these apps and features, apart from Cortana, to focus resources elsewhere, potentially driving more users towards Microsoft 365 subscriptions.

While features like Steps Recorder may not be missed by all users, retaining WordPad could showcase Microsoft’s responsiveness to user feedback. It demonstrates a willingness to preserve functional elements that users appreciate, regardless of their profitability.

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