Paint's journey has been so weird. It was going to be replaced by Paint 3D, made an optional component, and now it's getting updates I would have killed to have 20 years ago. But it's been such a useful and enduring tool because of both its ubiquity and its simplicity, so I hope the upcoming changes will be as minimalist as those of the past.
Considering how slow the new calculator app is, I am terrified of Microsoft updating the classics. These things used to open instantly and provide value. Now it is a visible pause and gigantic white space heavy interfaces.
The fact that the calculator has a $#!"@ hamburger menu to switch between Programmer and "can do floating point numbers" mode is one of those asinine UX decisions that makes me fear any app update - "Oh hey, they're adding a neat feature, let's see how they mess up UX on it" is my default reaction nowadays.
And yes, Notepad and Calculator take much longer to start now than they ever did - not sure if it's SmartScreen, a Store Update check, or if SEND_DIAGNOSTICS is enabled on production builds, but I bet it's some Program Manager making some idiotic decision because some useless KPI requires it.
The really damning UI feature of calculator, at least during the beginning of Windows 10, was the splash screen (aka loading screen). I understand that’s a standard feature of UWP apps, but the fact it was on screen long enough to be noticed was unacceptable.
"Oh hey, they're adding a neat feature, let's see how they mess up UX on it"
It still feels like they just break UX to support touch devices better than older UI would. I might just be showing my age, or out of touch, or perhaps because I only use Windows for work but I have no intention of ever using touch on a device running Windows. My laptop screen support touch and I turn it off as it's and unexpected behavior to me (if I touch my screen I'm probably just pointing at something/showing to another person).
After I found out that in GTA5, bad code loading a large JSON file made boot time jump from 2m to 6m, up to 15m. The JSON file was for in-game purchases, aka useless.
Though I believe that was a delay specifically for GTA Online only, and those purchases are absolutely the key and only point of the online mode for Rockstar.
Of course that doesn't mean it should have been loading so inefficiently regardless.
Most companies not even bother to make their software usable what is baffling.
Am I supposed to play a multiplayer game when it takes 10 minutes to open and another 5 in queue and then few before it starts?
Blizzard launcher downloads 137 MB to launch some games EVERY time. In fact some game did not even start, probably due to mismatch of version on the patch server and game server. Nobody in Blizzard seems to notice nor care at all. The whole management board should be fired.
I remember paying 10 dollars for starcraft remastered and it plain didnt work, because blizzard doesnt bother to fix their battle.net app (all they did was try to rename it to blizzard app). Now statcraft bw works, but it didnt for few weeks.
You finish your work, want to start the game and it cant even start fast.
a $#!"@ hamburger menu
Touchscreen-first design does this to apps ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
There would be plenty of space for humongous buttons to touch and only use the hamburger when the app is really small. But yeah, it's not touchscreen, it's that everyone designs exclusively for 6" screens these days, which also explains why 60% of modern apps is just useless whitespace :/
$#!"@ hamburger and ordinary menu take the same amount of clicks to switch modes. The one from Windows 7 and the one from windows 10 take about the same time to start. The last fast starting one was in Windows XP.
Wait, what is the difference between “programmer mode” and “can do floating point numbers” mode? The former implies the latter, right?
You cannot enter fractional values in programmer mode.
This is reasonable, but what is incredibly annoying is that when you type in a number while in Programmer mode, if you then change to Scientific mode, it blows away the number you typed in.
Programmer mode is useful if you need to convert Decimal/Hex/Binary, but if you try to enter e.g, 17.95 as a decimal number, you can't. (In fact, it'll display 17 NAND 95 - so the dot seems to be a shortcut for a bitwise operation) - it's Integers Only.
(I guess one could argue that programmer mode should include IEEE-754 floats, but I'm fine with that mode being limited to integers, it's plenty useful already. But it does require switching to another mode if you need a calculator to calculate floating point numbers)
But how are you supposed to sync your calculations to One Drive and Teams if it's just a simple, non-network-enabled calculator program?
Windows 11 snipping tool is unnecessarily clunky and garbage as well.
What I do on any Win11 machine is keep an archived copy of Windows 10's System32 folder, and pin the old copies of apps to my start menu.
...From my cold dead hands!
Yeah, Mac solved this so elegantly.
Windows really needs a simple default hotkey to do a partial screen capture quickly, and save it to a reasonable directory.
I mean, win+shift+s (the default snipping tool hotkey) to grab a snip is pretty elegant IMO. Copies it straight to the clipboard, or lets you save (& edit) it from the notification. Probably one of my most used shortcuts.
Printscreen to capture the whole screen. Alt + Printscreen to capture the current active window.
Is it? Just opened it on Windows 10 and it opens instantly and uses 23MB of RAM which is rather low for a modern application. Calculator is also fully open source now.
Compare it to utorrent that does so much more and is probably around 5mb of RAM.
Seriously, is your post satire or you think 23 mb for a calculator app is good?
Whole windows 95 (including a calculator app) fit in 16MB of RAM. In fact even less, since you could run few programs on top of it too. Connect to internet even..
I use Teams on a daily basis. End up closing it to save some RAM as it's eating up around 800MB of RAM for a chat app.
23MB for a modern calculator in this day & age when many apps are written in Electron/EdgeHTML/web technologies is pretty good
Do people even use uTorrent anymore after the advertisements were brought in? I use qBittorrent when I need some Linux ISOs and in an idle state it's using 20MB which isn't bad either.
Ah. I really hate Windows calculator nowadays. When looking for alternatives I found SpeedCrunch (https://heldercorreia.bitbucket.io/speedcrunch/). So far I have loved it, even did some regedit to open it from keyboard's calculator button.
Considering how slow the new calculator app is
Considering how slow the new calculator app is
What's bad about it? For me it always does the job whenever I fire it up. Looks sleek, clean, scales nicely to whatever size you make it, and isn't distracting.
I also like new calculator app in windows.
TBH date calculator is my most used feature there.
But calculator app in macOS... Real horror.
Try to open units converter from top app menus.
You worked all life as a cashier with a hand calculator 15 x 15 cm ( 5 x 5 in).
One day your boss comes: your calculator is obsolete, you need to use the one on the wall with every number being 25 x 25 cm (10 x 10 in). Good luck
Your PC keyboard didn't change though. The numbers and arithmetic symbols are still in the same places they've been for ~80 years.
Also, the new calculator kept the same standard layout as before, it's not like they now shuffled the numbers and buttons aground randomly to confuse you. If you're that easily confused by a coat of paint, maybe you're in the wrong job.
And yes, workers did have to switch calculators from time to time. Source: my mom, an accountant.
I get it, "Microsoft bad, Windows bad", but your argument is a very weak nothingburger.
When I installed Windows 7, I copied the old mspaint executable over and kept using it, as I hate the stupid Office-style ribbon they implemented in the new one (excessive waste of screen real estate, takes more clicks, and the items collapse to uselessness when the window gets too small).
Considering how slow the new calculator app is
Am I really the only person who has a copy of "calc.exe" from win 2000 that replaces c:\windows\calc.exe immediately after any windows [re]install?
I'm blown away at how slow the calculator is. Used to be that every time I went to open the calculator app from Run, it would freeze my whole system. I have 64G of RAM and a $500 (at the time) Ryzen chip. I had to perform some arcane troubleshooting steps to fix it.
the new calculator app is open source, you can see what's making it so slow if you want, and contribute fixes if you have the skills to do the fixing.
This isn't justification for an app being bad. A company shouldn't release a broken and slow app on an OS I pay for and you can't make it seem like that's okay simply because Microsoft took ten minutes to put the code on Github. At that rate, why put effort into improving apps at all if users will do free work for you?
so make it less bad, or stop complaining.
if you're complaining without a plan of action to address the complaint, you are speaking for attention alone.
fork it and fix it, then use that version. open your fork so you can help others.
you other commenters can continue to complain and whine endlessly or you can put your money where your mouth is and actually do something.
what's it gonna be?
Microsoft requires contributors to sign a CLA giving Microsoft effective ownership over your contributions.
You should never be working for a for-profit organization without compensation.
Not arguing for contributing to Microsoft’s repos, but most open source projects under most well respected foundations do the same. There is a big argument for or against CLAs but it’s not like it’s just them.
Why would anyone want to do free work for Microsoft?
This is the correct response. Telling community members that they can fix bugs in libre, community-supported software is one thing.
Telling /users/ who are NOT community members to make changes to some corporation's application that happens to have source available, in their free time, and then donate that labor to some billion dollar corporation? fuck THAT.
Fix it your own damn self, Microsoft. I have better shit to do.
Because it makes the things they use better mostly, they are => https://github.com/microsoft/calculator/graphs/contributors
Unfortunately some issues have been declared as "by design". E.g. due to a rigid interpretation of some accessibility guideline, the fact that clicking on the history or trigonometry menus moves the input focus there, so Numpad Enter suddenly starts re-opening that menu instead of pressing '=' is apparently perfectly intended and definitively not a bug.
A side effect from app sandboxing, and modern Windows API being all COM based.
my perspective: i left windows years ago and i never laugh at any comedian as much as i laugh at people in windows update threads
For as basic a program it is, it's rather useful.
My work only currently only give machines with 16GB RAM which gets eaten up by Edge/Teams/Outlook, security applications incl. Defender and then any dev tools on top of that. Trying to campaign for 32GB machines but bureaucracy takes its time in the public sector. The IT team have also just removed Paint 3D for some reason via InTune.
Just opened Paint right now on my Windows 10 desktop and it's using 13MB of RAM for a blank canvas.
For pasting a screenshot and putting some rectangles/arrows on it, it works a charm.
Something to be said about Paint!
Why do you even bother pasting screenshots? Snipping tool can save it without even needing to paste it anywhere. Win+Shift+s
I hope it keeps its blazing-fast startup. I regularly used Paint instead of Photoshop on a system where I had both because Paint starts instantly but Photoshop took a bit.
I use photopea quite a bit for this reason. It's faster to open this in a web browser than it is to boot photoshop. The 1/3rd sidebar ad it loads is... a lot, but I'm amazed that I prefer that to a 30s boot time.
I am surprised how photopea can be so feature complete and still run on an ad supported model. It doesn't have all the bells and whistles or Photoshop but covers 99% of the use cases without having to keep paying for a subscription. I pay for Adobe's photography bundle but primarily for Lightroom; for any other image editing I just go to photopea.
I was just reflecting on why I fire up Paint more often than GIMP, and this is the reason. Especially when all I want to do is paste an image, add a small annotation, and copy it back out, there’s no tool as fast.
It is basically why i have KolourPaint installed on Linux and ready on a launch button despite having a bunch of other 2D image editing apps: it starts (almost) instantly and is perfectly fine for cropping images, adding annotations, etc and then pasting it to imgur, discord, or whatever. The only thing missing is having a tool to draw shapes like arrows (not something the Win9x era MS Paint, which is what KolourPaint replicates, had, but it would be a useful feature IMO).
 it takes somewhere between half to a second, there is a visible delay between double click and the window appearing but i can live with that. I'm not using KDE as my DE, it is possible it'd start instantly if i already had the KDE libs in memory.
You can do all this in the snipping tool without opening a separate app, which is in fact a little faster
Yes, except (unless I'm mistaken) the snipping tool can't add text and it can't draw boxes, which are two of the core use cases of screenshot annotation.
https://getgreenshot.org/ Fast, doesn't crash, does what you say and more.
Nice. Basically this gets it to parity with the feature-set I actually used in Photoshop when I pirated it as a teen. I assume most people with straightforward needs who aren't pirates are going to be really happy to be able to just use this. Think about people editing a meme graphic or "photoshopping" an extra person into an image for non-serious purposes.
(Sidenote: Shoutout for Pixelmator Pro, the Mac app that similarly has more than enough for me, and has allowed me to stop needing Photoshop. I've never bought an Adobe product outside of work, and now I don't use any either.)
I use Gimp most of the times. But when I have to edit a few isolated pixels of a geometric black image over a plain white background I prefer to use Paint. I can't find how to make Gimp modify only one pixel without blurring all the neighbors.
Are you using the paintbrush tool instead of the pencil tool? A pencil with the brush size turned down to one shouldn't bother any of the other pixels.
can't find how to make Gimp modify only one pixel without blurring all the neighbors
Use pencil tool set to size 1px. Pencil does no blurring; paintbrush does.
Paint.Net is a nice middle ground between the two.
Microsoft should just replace Paint with Paint.NET. In my experience, it is the best paint tool for Windows. Much more intuitive UI than photoshop or gimp.
At some level I feel like they should just drop paint and install paint.net as a default.
But then, that would probably get paint.net on a downward spiral, so maybe it's for the best?
Paint.NET was open source (MIT) until 2009, alas nothing happened from the forks after they changed the license.
Code is still available, not sure worth building though in 2023 when there are other options
I think Paint.net is largely worked on and maintained by one guy, so I don’t really blame him from wanting to make some money out of his work tbh
It’s a great tool.
What's the best alternative?
The current Paint.NET is really good and obviously has much more features compared to since the version from 2009. But it's not FOSS which can be a deal breaker for some.
If FOSS then Pinta  is the best option imo. GIMP is not bad either but feels very janky and all over the place sometimes (lacking some elementary features while overblown in other departments)
Krita  is the other one I'd recommend though it's a digital painting app, not a image editing one. But you can do edit images with it
One of my favorite "MS Paint" clones is KolourPaint. I've been using it for over a decade (you have to search around to get it on non-linux platforms but I presently have it on MacOS). One of my favorite features is how it handles transparency, where it's just treated like another "color".
If anyone is heavy into pixel art, you may also be interested in Aseprite.
I always kind of felt that Microsoft should have made gradual updates to Paint. I'm not saying that they should be itching to take on Photoshop or anything, but I feel that between Windows 95 until Windows Vista, Paint was pretty much unchanged.
I think it would have been kind of cool if they kept a small team dedicated to making Paint gradually better, getting it into parity with something like Paint.NET or something like that.
On one hand, yes; but on the other: people underestimate the value of consistency. Not changing is a feature for so many people who are already content with the existing program. Change for change's sake is not always good.
I'm not suggesting that they just add a million new features every release, but I feel like adding transparent backgrounds, even in 2002 or so, would not have interrupted any existing workflows or anything.
I feel like there was a lot of low hanging fruit that they could have added that left the interface largely untouched; they could also have had a "basic" and "advanced" layout, where the "basic" keeps things more or less how they were in Windows 95, and advanced is for integrating new features.
Seems like a lot to add to such a simple program. I bet they didn't do that.
Years ago I re-released an old and honored tool. A strange path.
It was the simple code editor used on an early office computer. The programmers all used it daily.
First, the source was gone. The team that made it, the last remaining member that remembered it, said "It was just a checkpointed version of our general document editor. We've continued development and have a hundred more features now."
Moving to the document editor wouldn't do. Can't have programmers confused by formatting and mail-merge features on a C source file.
So I took the current Document Designer source, ripped out everything formatting-related, kept some useful multi-document features. Added some special programmer-specific features (paste-to-anchor point etc for fast prototyping). Got something not too much larger than the old Editor, and much much smaller than the latest document tool.
And...hardly anybody used it. Even a little change from ol faithful was too much for most of the teams. No surprise; their job was writing code, not relearning tools to write code.
Anyway I had my own personal useful tool after that. Even if I was the only one that knew how to use it.
I didn't know Pain was still updated. I guess they are preparing it to be another player in the generative AI race.
They added Bing to goddamn Notepad
Where? I don't see it and I'm up to date.
I think they mean this feature:
I wonder what file format they will use to save layers. Does the PNG format support layers?
PNG does support layers. Yes. I remember using it in Macromedia Fireworks which had a native format PNG which functioned like Photoshop's PSD and saved layers and its styles and stuff.
Given the treatment they gave the photo viewer, asking people to sign-up for a subscription-based video editor, I have low hopes for these features to arrive without paying a hefty non-optional cost.
Last time I used paint in Windows 7 and, boy, was it crippled beyond recognition! Palette management - terrible, tool switching - horrendous, working with 8-bit images - plain impossible (it ruins BMP palette no matter what you do)! The only remaining use for mspaint for me was occasional math/dev schematic sketch. Shame on you, M$!
(no, I didn't move to paint.net. LodePaint, Wally and pure old PS (before CS))
You can tell windows 3.1 users by how they open this app - back on 16-bit windows it was pbrush.exe - 32-bit it was renamed mspaint.exe - but both launch it.
Read the headline and thought... they did this in Windows 2000. But they are not talking about UpdateLayeredWindow.
Microsoft should just buy paint.net
Microsoft could whip up paint.net in 1 day.
There's a component in WPF called InkCanvas, it pretty much is Paint.
> could whip up paint.net in 1 day.
You realise this is basically an HN meme?
You realise this is basically an HN meme?
No, not really. It’s a simple program and Microsoft would literally just need to glue together their own existing components.
I did it for a job interview project in 4 days using C# and WPF. And I am by no means a talented developer.
I could see when people think creating something like Uber in a day as an arrogant HN meme. But there’s no moving parts here.
Sure thing buddy - you go build paint.net in a day. lol. Post a reply to this tomorrow and I'll check it out.
and here I am, carting around my mspaint.exe from install to install since windows2k or something, because I've got Krita for when I want something to launch slowly and have a bunch of features that aren't useful for drawing an arrow on a screenshot
(modern paint seems fine, and it does launch quickly, but the vibes are off)
Transparency has been the longest missing feature in mspaint. Quite frustrating it took so long.
It brings me so much joy to know that Paint is still under active development.
I find it surprising that MS hasn't acquired Paint.NET. It's a stellar product, a decent free Photoshop alternative, and miles ahead of whatever MS Paint ever was. It even has .NET in the name, which probably confuses new users into thinking it is owned by MS, so kind of surprised MS hasn't sued over that either.
That said, I'm grateful that Paint.NET has managed to remain independent, as MS might've ruined it.
I do wonder who still uses MS Paint that would find these new features compelling, and why MS keeps adding new features to it. Surely they've done some research that shows people want this? Or is it still developed to justify paying the team that maintains it?
I like MS paint because I know exactly what it is. Starts instantly and can be used to quickly crop a photo or hastily circle a call out. No UI redesigns to make a developer feel useful.
If we were talking acquisitions, they should also buy up the Notepad++ guy.
It even has .NET in the name, which probably confuses new users into thinking it is owned by MS, so kind of surprised MS hasn't sued over that either.
Not sure where the infringement would be. In any case, Paint.NET won second place last year in the "Creativity – Graphics and 3D" category of the Microsoft Store App Awards. 
Gearing up to integrate image generation, I'd guess
Probably yes. The video in the article shows background removal with a single click of the mouse after all – i.e subject isolation using AI.
It would be a logical next step at some point to integrate AI image generation as well, using OpenAI Dall-E.
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