back to article Windows 11 Paint: Oh look – rounded corners. And it is prettier... but slightly worse

Microsoft's redesigned user interface for Paint in Windows 11 is prettier but perhaps a little less useable than the previous version. Windows 11: new Paint UI is a mixed benefit Windows 11: new Paint UI is a mixed benefit Confession: we are regular users of Paint, which is among the oldest Windows applications. The first …

  1. Blane Bramble

    Why are you clicking multiple times with menus?

    Click and hold on menu, drag to option required, release.

    1. ShadowSystems

      Accessibility fail.

      As a blind user that requires a screen reader to interact with the computer, I don't have & can't use a mouse. (I can't see to aim it.) The icons are utterly useless & we *need* the plain text descriptions for our reader to read. No text means nothing to read & we have no idea WTF.

      Sure the sighted folks using a mouse might be able to do the OnMouseOver hover+drag thing, but such actions are impossible if the user doesn't use a pointing device at all.

      *Hands you a pint* Drink up, we can use the empty steins to bludgeon the MS devs with a clue. =-J

      1. LogicGate

        Re: Accessibility fail.

        While I appreciate the important issue that you are pointing out, I am now also extremely curious:

        What is the usercase for a blind person using MS Pain(t)?

        Word processors, audio manipulation, web readers, compilers.. the list of useful programs go on and on.. But graphics manipulation? I assume there must be a valid use, but I can not think of it right now.

        1. LybsterRoy Bronze badge

          Re: Accessibility fail.

          I was sort of thinking the same - menu to speech I can understand but how is it going to say "here is a dragon"?

        2. Dan 55 Silver badge

          Re: Accessibility fail.

          Partially blind - you may be able to focus on some areas (e.g. the centre of vision) but unable to see others.

        3. ChrisC Silver badge

          Re: Accessibility fail.

          Converting an image from one format to another, resizing, rotating, or doing anything else to an image which doesn't actually require you to *see* the image itself? A user may not be able to personally consume the data they're working with, but they may very well have a need to manipulate it for others to make use of.

        4. ravenviz

          Re: blind use case…

          “What is the usercase for a blind person using MS Pain(t)?”

          Which accessibility features may be relevant to visually impaired users?

          TFTFY!

        5. ShadowSystems

          At LogicGate, re: MS Paint.

          I use it in conjunction with PrintScreen to do a screen capture to an image, paste the image into Paint, save the image, then send it to others (usually via email) so they can assist me with issues in a pseudo-remote-desktop-shadowing fashion.

          $Program throws up an error message that the screen reader can't read, grab a screen dump to file, send the file to $Helper, & $Helper tells me WTF is on my screen.

          You are correct that I can't edit the image, that requires working eyes, but it works well enough to give $Helper a way to help me get shit done.

          In the case of Paint in Win11 with it's reliance on icons rather than plain text, I'd have to remember every keyboard shortcut command since the menu items evidently no longer list them. Copy, Paste, & Save are usually easy enough, but if I need to Save As a different format, then is the command still the same or have they futzed with it so the keyboard shortcut no longer works?

          *Hands you an extra tall pint & taps rims* Drink up! I appreciate that you asked a pertinent question. =-)

    2. Hubert Cumberdale Silver badge

      Sure, because your way is the only and best way and works for everyone.

    3. yoganmahew

      As you get older, you'll find your steady hand becomes a bit shit, with twitches aplenty. Simple navigation becomes essential.

      1. georgezilla

        I find myself randomly right clicking on occasions.

        Drives me nuts.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        with twitches aplenty

        That's why I am in favor of some kind of punishment for people that design online forms and dialogs with the "OK" and "Cancel" buttons very close to each other.

        1. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge
          Mushroom

          Re: OK and Cancel

          I think a fitting punishment would be for those so called designers to be forced to use Windows 3.1 and only Windows 3.1 for a month. That might get some of those bad ideas out of their minds. Failing that then [see Icon]

          UI design in general has gone many steps backwards in recent years. This applies to macOS and Linux as well as Windows.

          Who the hell thought that making tabs in browsers the same colour?

          1. Snapper

            Re: OK and Cancel

            And don't you just love those icons that only become available if you pass the cursor over them. One of the 'modernisations' from Windows learnt by Apple and as far as I'm concerned should be forgotten ASAP!

        2. ChrisC Silver badge

          Re: with twitches aplenty

          Bonus punishment points for UI designers who think they're being careful by requiring the user to click on an "are you sure" UI element to confirm a destructive operation, but place said element in the same position as the element they'd just clicked on to initiate the operation... Especially if the UI happens to be running on something which doesn't guarantee instantaneous feedback to the user to let them know their inputs have been registered, and then buffers up any subsequent input to be processed as soon as the UI is able to do so.

          > Nuke your entire system?

          *click*

          *twiddle thumbs*

          *click again* because the UI has yet to register that your first click ever existed

          > Are you sure?

          *system begins its self destruct sequence* having finally decided to register both the first and second clicks...

          Double bonus points for designers who manage to achieve the same double-click of doom scenario with child dialogs that open up in just the wrong position relative to their parent dialog, so that when you click on the child to close it, your pointer is then hovering right over something on the parent dialog that you *really* don't want to click unawares.

          Triple bonus points, with an extra side helping of spending an eternity in the fiery pits of doom (or whichever 90's FPS floats your boat) for designers who create an oh-so-clever dynamic UI that's constantly repositioning its elements such that things you don't want to click end up being moved into the position formerly occupied by whatever it was you did just want to click.

          And then there are all the *other* things wrong with modern UI design that make me want to round up every currently active UI designer on the planet, herd them into a warehouse full of copies of all the classic interface style guides that were held in such high esteem back in the days when people understood what the purpose of a UI actually was, and lock the doors until each and every one of them can recite from memory the entire contents of at least one of the guides. Microsoft, Apple, Commodore, whatever, the choice is theirs. All I ask is that they commit the contents of one such tome to memory before they're set free to design any more UIs...

        3. captain veg Silver badge

          Re: with twitches aplenty

          And worse, reversed with the OK on the left.

          -A.

        4. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

          Re: with twitches aplenty

          Add the offence of "Continue", "OK" and/or "Cancel" in any dialog asking to confirm some sort of Cancel operation such as closing an application with unsaved data.

  2. Potemkine! Silver badge
    Flame

    Woah, round color pickers instead of square ones! What a revolution! That should convince me to buy a new computer to install Windows 11!

    Or not.

    When MS will have fired all these so called graphic designers and hired ergonomists instead, it will make a giant leap in the good direction

    1. Insert sadsack pun here

      MS Paint is the epitome of "if it ain't broke, don't fix it". Im glad Paint 3D has gone (it was far too much for 99% of users and not enough for the rest), but there was really no need to fluff around with MS Paint.

    2. arachnoid2 Bronze badge
      Joke

      Well ( patented) round corners convinced Apple users to purchase the product

  3. Red Ted Silver badge
    Go

    Paint dot Net

    I thoroughly recommend "paint.net" as an alternative to the MS offering.

    1. LybsterRoy Bronze badge

      Re: Paint dot Net

      I'm still using a copy of Corel Photo-Paint copyright c1998

    2. IGotOut Silver badge

      Re: Paint dot Net

      I'd recommend Affinity of PDN. Different tools for different jobs.

      Paint is for the quick and dirty. An in-between Snipping tool and a proper editing program

      1. Franco Silver badge

        Re: Paint dot Net

        You pre-empted my next question about Windows 11, is Snipping Tool staying or is it "soon to be replaced" by Snip&Sketch which isn't as good.

        I write a lot of documentation and use Snipping Tool constantly for screenshots. Generally only use Paint for resizing files or occasionally drawing a circle etc round a particular item to highlight it, again for documentation.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Paint dot Net

      "I thoroughly recommend "paint.net" as an alternative to the MS offering."

      Totally upvoted this.

      BTW, why is MS working on paint ? It's not like they don't have a lot of shit to fix.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Paint dot Net

        "BTW, why is MS working on paint ? It's not like they don't have a lot of shit to fix."

        Because nobody could print out the Gantt charts (because all the printers are disabled to avoid Print Nightmare), so nobody knew who was working on what and when. After a couple of days of garbage-can basketball and binge-watching "How I Met Your Mother", the devs decided to lark it and re-imagine Paint.

        Deep is the impact of Microsoft's shitty printing subsystem.

      2. Terry 6 Silver badge

        Re: Paint dot Net

        Oh yes. They still haven't fixed the custom recycle bins not refreshing bug after God knows how many versions of Windows. You still have to edit the registry and add ,0 to the icon path. It's well documented.

        Here's two;

        https://forums.tomshardware.com/threads/empty-recycle-bin-icon-wont-change.2747448/

        https://www.sevenforums.com/tutorials/24761-recycle-bin-fix-custom-icons-not-refreshing.html

        The latter references Vista - that was about 15 years ago?

  4. Pete 2 Silver badge

    Continuing the trend

    > but slightly worse

    Probably the shortest and most accurate summary of every Windows release since 7

    1. LenG

      Re: Continuing the trend

      Come on, there is no way that windows 8 can be described as "slightly worse" than windows 7.

      1. J. Cook Silver badge

        Re: Continuing the trend

        Indeed, it was such a train wreck that most people either stuck with windows 7, or skipped it entirely for windows 10 (or 8.1 if you were in that between era)

        As Server 2012 was based on the windows 8 source, it was also an absolute UI train wreck, at least until 2012 R2 came out, which was not half bad. (some of the features and roles for 2012 R2 were head and shoulders above their 2008 R8 predecessors, like ADFS and RDS.)

      2. herman Silver badge

        Re: Continuing the trend

        You forgot Windows Vista. It was so bad, millions of people changed to Macs.

        1. chunder_jacket
          Facepalm

          Re: Continuing the trend

          This but windows 11 finally nailed it for me.

          I've never been strongly for or against any platform, I'm happy to use whatever is necessary to get the job done, but my experience with Windows 11 recently made me very, very happy I'd paid my Apple tax and bought a macbook.

          It's all the little things that add up and eventually push you over the edge. My Win 11 install was hilarious:

          1. I am old enough to know upgrades are stupid.

          2. Windows update said "You can have it! Your PC is compatible!" and it certainly is.

          3. Installer failed 4 times at 71%, common issue, reboot fixes it.

          4. Installer completes "we are going to restart!"

          5. "No OS found..." on reboot. Did the obvious, check TPM settings, check UEFI boot, change settings, boot, nothing.

          6. Make a USB installer, it says "Hey! You've done an upgrade! You should reboot to complete that!!"

          7. Do a clean install, click next and... "This computer is not compatible with Windows 11."

          Seriously?

          Since then I've had a number of fun bugs, one particularly silly one is when I load Steam, the icon gradually slides off the bottom of the taskbar like its been greased.

          Where did the dream of "power on, do work" go...?

      3. David 132 Silver badge

        Re: Continuing the trend

        Come on, there is no way that windows 8 can be described as "slightly worse" than windows 7.

        I choose to believe that it was classic British understatement, as in “Oh, you’ve cut my foot off. That smarts a bit.”

    2. Dan 55 Silver badge

      Re: Continuing the trend

      Some of 7 was ribbonified so I might even go so far as to say since XP (running the 2000 theme).

    3. Grunchy

      Re: Continuing the trend

      The bad thing about Windows 10 is the surveillance that they threw in there. It’s going to be worse in 11, because the performance requirements have ratcheted up dramatically. What makes Windows 11 so much more resource intensive to run? It can’t be the OS, it must be the artificially intelligent surveillance.

      If anything I’m considering going back to Win7 — less spying.

      1. Champ

        Re: Continuing the trend

        Do you mind - your tinfoil hat is catching the light

    4. Terry 6 Silver badge

      Re: Continuing the trend

      Yes, in fact the longer phrase was " we think it looks better than before, but usability is a little worse, which is disappointing". The focus for Microsoft is usually, indeed, being on what looks fashionable ( for whatever value of fashionable chosen) rather than functional.

      Microsoft not knowing the difference between a bandwagon and a band.

      1. Bruce Ordway

        Re: Continuing the trend

        >> fashionable....rather than functional.

        >> Microsoft's love affair with the ribbon UI is fading

        I hope.

        Then if the flat look would go out of style too?

        At least from anything running on a Windows PC, which is where I spend most of my time.

  5. Swordfish1

    1 of our 3 computers, is supposed to be windows 11 compatible.

    I'm holding off installing the 1, as I really just don't trust MS to provide a stable platform until all the many bugs are ironed out.

    As for paint - couldn't care less - never use it as its boring, with or without rounded corners.

    I just want a reliable OS, and windows 10, just about makes that requirement, after 100's of updates, and fixes after it was released originally.

    Windows 11, no, MS, you can stuff it

    1. My-Handle Silver badge

      For that 1 computer, you could always find something like an old graphics or sound card, bung it in there and suddenly... not Win11 compatible! Instant excuse.

      1. georgezilla

        For me the fact that it's Windows is enough.

        I don't need any other excuse.

    2. The commentard formerly known as Mister_C Silver badge
      WTF?

      I'm currently trying to learn AutoDesk Inventor (via the 30 day trial license) on a second hand HP Z230 workstation. 16 gig ram, 3.3Ghz Xeon processor. It handles the 3D cad with ease.

      win10 has told me it can't handle win11.

      1. Peter Gathercole Silver badge

        It's not the performance of a system that makes it incompatible, it's the deliberate insistence that certain processor, UEFI and security features are present.

        You may say that these are arbitrary requirements, but MS and many security advisors see it as a good thingtm to protect users.

        From MS's perspective, it also makes lock-in easier, as they control a lot of the process to get secure boot certificates baked in to new systems. As I understand it, it's already getting more difficult to get certificates for shim bootloaders to allow other OSs to boot.

        Of course, you still have to option to turn off secure boot (at the moment, at least), but that makes dual-boot systems difficult.

        I really don't understand the totality of Microsoft's game. On one hand, it looks like they are moving away from Windows as a primary product, and on the other, they're making everyone else's life more difficult with these measures. There's something in the picture that I'm not seeing.

        1. picturethis

          There's something in the picture that I'm not seeing

          "I really don't understand the totality of Microsoft's game. On one hand, it looks like they are moving away from Windows as a primary product, and on the other, they're making everyone else's life more difficult with these measures. There's something in the picture that I'm not seeing."

          My view of what MS is trying to achieve: They are trying for the following:

          - Reduce hardware support to a common set, so that testing resources (costs) are reduced. By (arbitrarily) eliminating certain processors, they accomplish this.

          - MS doesn't give a crap about Windows anymore - they view it as a service, a delivery mechanism for mining the end user's data. That's all. Any company or persons that develop Hardware-based products running on the Win OS, be aware, your Days Are Numbered (DAN). MS is slowly weaning the small players out by implementing signing (as a service). Eventually they'll get to the walled garden (actually it will be a prison that can't be entered or exited from).

          - Even their web browser is now mining end user data, in the name of security

          - Starting with Windows 8 (and worse in Win 10/11) is the complete destruction of any sense of real-time operation. Ever notice how the timestamp of a file doesn't change for minutes, after it's been written/closed? The file system on Win 10 is a complete joke. They've sacrificed this for telemetry. Writing software in Windows is exponentially, progressively getting worse, combine this with MS changing their mind and dropping support for a technology (UWP, WPF, WCF, etc.) and it's time to move away from Windows.

          Where technology is concerned, MS can't plan their way out of a paper bag...

          Thank (insert deity here) that there are alterative OS's.

        2. Jimmy2Cows Silver badge

          Re: getting more difficult to get certificates for shim bootloaders to allow other OSs to boot

          Smells a lot like antitrust again. Almost as though MS learnt nothing from the browser antitrust prosecutions.

      2. Smirnov

        Windows 11 runs perfectly fine on a HP z620, z640, z840 and the zBook 15G3 I'm typing this on, despite that none of these machines have CPUs that are on the supported list (and the z620 only has TPM 1.2).

        Granted, all have been fresh installs (not upgrades) but so far Windows 11 has been better for me than Windows 10 ever was.

    3. Terry 6 Silver badge

      never use it as its boring,

      Boring is good

      It's a tool. For use not entertainment. I don't want a flashy hammer, screwdriver or image manipulation programme. I want a hammer that's good for hammering......

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      "As for paint - couldn't care less - never use it as its boring, with or without rounded corners."

      Then why, for the love of the FSM, are you commentarding in AN ARTICLE ABOUT MS PAINT?

  6. Hubert Cumberdale Silver badge

    No, no, no, and no again.

    Stop f#cking with paint. It just about does what it needs to (which is not much). Leave it alone.

    1. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge

      Re: No, no, no, and no again.

      That statement alone is more than enough justification for MS to keep on messing with it.

      I'm sure that they do it just for the joy of messing with us, the poor users.

      They simply don't care anymore about the user experience and especially a little thing called 'Ease of Use'.

  7. Mike 137 Silver badge

    Progress

    In the wrong direction. It seems as if every generation of experience GUI designers knows even less about ergonomics that the previous one.

    Icons only work if they're small in number, entirely consistent across applications (and vendors) and persistent so folks can assimilate them intuitively. Otherwise, you have the Ancient Egyptian problem, where eventually numerous different symbols mean the same thing and many symbols mean multiple things. The ultimate result is chaos.

    1. marcellothearcane
      Devil

      Re: Progress

      Why would it need to be consistent with other vendors? You should only ever use Microsoft apps.

      See the second E.

    2. Dan 55 Silver badge

      Re: Progress

      They should all be made to read Microsoft Windows User Experience for 98 and 2000, then afterwards Windows User Experience Guidelines for Windows 2000 and Windows XP, and then maybe Windows User Experience Interaction Guidelines for Vista and 7, but under no circumstances should they carry on from there.

  8. Chairo

    Modem noise

    Just looking at the Windows 3.11 screen somehow brought back the memory of trumpet winsock and the dial-in modem noise.

    1. Dan 55 Silver badge
  9. Falmari Silver badge
    WTF?

    Inconsistent UI

    My biggest problem with Microsoft’s UI is it does not work in a consistent way across their applications. Take the ribbon for example. I have no problem with the ribbon I use it in the same way as dropdown menus by not having it pinned. In current paint click on the menu ribbon drops down click tool and ribbon disappears. In Word you click menu click choice, but the ribbon does not disappear until focus is back in the document mouse click doc or start typing.

    With Paint for Win 11 they have managed to get the UI to not work in a consistent way in a single application. Home > ribbon, View > Dropdown menu!!!!

    Minimalist tooltips useless. Tooltips are meant to inform you what a selection does not just give it a bloody name. Also show the bloody shortcuts.

    Looking at the screen shots it looks like the ribbon is fixed can’t be unpinned if that is so that is another step backward.

  10. Omidia

    Oh they've improved the icons in paint.

    I guess I'm upgrading to windows 11 now. That was definitely my problem -- the icons in paint.

    Seriously, spend the energy elsewhere.

    1. Jimmy2Cows Silver badge

      Easier and far, far cheaper to keep putting more lipstick on the pig.

  11. theOtherJT

    Screen bloat...

    ...appears to be the new memory bloat. Not content with every new version of a thing requiring inexplicably more memory to do the job than the previous version, we're now on a path where each version requires for some reason more screen real-estate.

    I installed Windows 98 in a VM the other day and was shocked when the default 800x600 resolution it came up in was actually... fine. It was fine. I didn't need to make it any bigger. I opened a few applications and everything fit on the screen just the way it was.

    Look at that ribbon bar. Measuring from the top of the window border to the bottom of the ribbon it's 380px high. On a 1280x800 screen that would be very nearly _half_ your vertical screen real-estate just to show the controls - and that's not even _that_ low a screen resolution. You can still buy cheap laptops with that sort of screen res.

    This shit absolutely has to stop.

    1. Press any key

      Re: Screen bloat...

      I was going to comment something similar.

      The change I noticed in the screenshots is that the ribbon bar has got bigger using even more valuable vertical space than it did before.

      Monitors have gone wide-screen and have got more pixels than ever but GUI designers have decided that people want this space consumed by whitespace rather than leaving it available for usability and productivity.

      1. LybsterRoy Bronze badge

        Re: Screen bloat...

        You missed the point that with more pixels do not come new eyeballs so that you have to use more of the nice new smaller pixels to make letters that the old MKI eyeball can actually read without the use of a telescope.

        1. theOtherJT

          Re: Screen bloat...

          Which is why, frankly, all UI elements should have been moved to vector graphics at least a decade ago so that they could scale according to user requirements and available screen real estate.

    2. ADC
      Unhappy

      Re: Screen bloat...

      > You can still buy cheap laptops with that sort of screen res.

      My work-issued 4 years old Dell laptop has a stunning 1366 x 768 resolution.

      When I need to leave my desk with the external monitor and join a conference call in a meeting room, there's no way I can read any documents shared on screen...

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Screen bloat...

        At least you can have the satisfaction that the Dell Laptop you have will never ever run the POS that is W11.

        You should thank your god for small mercies.

    3. K.o.R

      Re: Screen bloat...

      Weird, on my system that only measures ~190px.

  12. Dwarf Silver badge

    Keyboard shortcuts - didn't they used to call that CUA - Common User Actions ?

    I wonder how you speed up on 11, hover over this random rune, hope for a word that tells you what it does, move to next one, repeat. etc

    Make the operating system and the apps so that it works how the users want, not how some random UI person thinks everyone should work

    Alternately, send the UI people out to real places of work so that they can recall in pain about how difficult it is in real life doing real work.

    1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Access rather than Actions, I think. But, yes, it covered more than keyboard shortcuts. It also established an important principle: that the user should be able to do similar things in the same way to the extent that they have similar functionality such as opening a file.

      That implies not only does the interface of one application match another in those respects, it should also match previous versions. The only excuse for failing to do that is that the previous version got it really badly wrong.

  13. 45RPM Silver badge

    Confession. I don’t like Paint. I’ve never liked Paint. I particularly don’t like it because of the substandard graphics crapped out of it by business users who don’t know what they’re doing, or how to use Visio (which would generally be a better tool for their use-case). But…

    I’m genuinely glad that Microsoft is giving it some love. I may not like it, but I’ve seen it used by talented artists to produce some genuinely gobsmacking images that should be impossible with so lowly an editor.

    Here’s to another 36 years of Windows paint - whatever it ends up being called.

  14. cb7

    Everything Microsoft is doing lately just seems to be another example of 'how not to do x'.

    So much good design, usability, speed and efficiency has been thrown away it's little wonder we need quad core 5GHz CPU's, SSDs and 8GB+ of RAM just to get the OS out of bed.

    I had the opportunity to work on an old EPOS system recently. I was amazed at how quickly it ran on a lowly Socket 478 Celeron, 256MB RAM, a 40GB IDE HDD & Windows XP.

    1. LybsterRoy Bronze badge

      As an old fart who remembers back to the bad old days of single floppy disk systems, green monochrome monitors and 16Kb RAM I apologise that I can only give you one upvote.

      I do often wonder just what the CPU is doing with all that power - I know I can't type that fast!

      1. Peter Gathercole Silver badge

        You need to look under the covers and see just how much crap is running without you knowing. Just drop into Task Manager (or whatever it's called now), and click on the "Processes" tab, and click on "Show processes from all users" (sorry, I'm looking at a Win 7 system here, which is the only Windows system I have to hand).

        Do you know what all these things do? I certainly don't.

        For many systems, a lot of the overhead is the mandatory anti-virus software that examines all network and disk transfer. I'm sure that it you made Windows more secure, so that the need for this type of software is eliminated, systems would be much faster.

        Mind you. Linux is not free of such bloat. Open a terminal on a relatively modern distro, and run "ps -elf", and just see how many processes are running.

        I was shocked when I fired up my PiDP11 running UNIX Edition 7, and did a "ps -aux" (flags have changed over the years, mainly with System III or V) and saw the simple init, gettys for each of the configured terminals, and my login shell and the ps itself. Of course, there was no graphical screen or networking, and I did not even have lpd running, but having such a small handful of process reminded me of where we have come from.

  15. chrisw67

    The new iconography is intended to be minimalist, based on "simple and geometric forms," and using "modern metaphors that are easily understood."

    And yet the Save icon, on that other tool bar that now is jammed into the menu bar rather than the window title bar, still uses a floppy disk icon! Modern metaphors indeed.

    1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      What does "Save" mean in modern, visually representable terms? It might be saved to a local disk which the user has never seen, to a USB "thumb" drive (shall we use a picture of a thumb?), to an SD card, to a corporate server or to Somebody Else's Computer? The same thing applies all over interface design. How do you represent the idea of "Home" in the sense of a home page? How do you represent Back in a world where a script might be written right to left?

      We have reached a situation where the icons for many operations are abstractions devoid of any physical meaning. In that respect a picture of a floppy disk is no less meaningful than any of the apparently random collection of lines that seem to constitute the "simple geometric forms" of "modern metaphors". It has, however, the saving grace of being the same as on the last version which where it had the saving grace of being on the last version right back to the version where saving to a floppy disk was actually a meaningful option.

      It has the further saving grace, if being rendered as a small but perfectly formed coloured image of being instantly recognisable on a tool bar whereas "simple geometric forms" look just like a collection of apparently random lines and not easily recollected from the collection of apparently random lines on another application nor, indeed, on the same application when you closed it 10 minutes ago.

      What user interfaces need are consistency both through time and between applications, to be readily distinguished one from another at a glance and hence for their meaning to be easily and permanently learned, even if that meaning is abstract rather than apparently physical.

      1. Terry 6 Silver badge
        Pint

        Virtual pint, because there's no option to send you a real one.

  16. BrownishMonstr

    How dare you say Windows 7 was peak MS Paint, Sir.

    Certainly, the non-ribbon one had features its successors did not have, such as selecting a tertiary colour. I'm pretty sure there were other features lost, but alas I cannot remember what they were.

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I wish they'd re-write Notepad. I think that abomination is still 16-bit.

    1. LybsterRoy Bronze badge

      I hope they'll leave Notepad alone. Its a VERY useful tool and I don't care how many bits it is.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        "I hope they'll leave Notepad alone. Its a VERY useful tool and I don't care how many bits it is."

        Amen to this. So many things to fix in Windows. This registry atrocity, reliability etc ...

        Rather than spend effort on icons or notepad.

    2. Zippy´s Sausage Factory

      I migrated to gvim years ago. Then finally discovered Notepad++. Which does everything I need and isn't horrible so I'm happy.

    3. Boothy Silver badge

      Notepad is already 64 bit * , and does get updates.

      For example it can process *NIX formatted files these days, something earlier versions couldn't handle.

      And no thanks on the rewrite. It doesn't need it.

      * I checked on Windows 10 Enterprise 64bit. I would assume if you were using a 32bit Windows, you'd get a 32bit version instead.

  18. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Having read Charles Petzold's Programming Windows 30 years ago...

    Windows Programming all seemed so logical back then, commonality across applications. the standard menu bar with max, min, close. Menus: File, Edit, View, Window, standard colour pickers, standard open/save dialog boxes, good principles behind modal v modeless dialog boxes.

    The Windows 11 GUI today, just seems non-consistent and confusing, with no regard to optimally using the screen real-estate it has available.

    The core principles back then was this commonality across applications bred simplicity, efficiently and familiarity. What the f*** happened?

    It's almost like the 1960's space race, the new generation knows sh.it, is having to learn it all again, it's all being forgotten to promote 'Shiny'.

    1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Re: Having read Charles Petzold's Programming Windows 30 years ago...

      Close was initially a problem. It was easily clicked with a slight navigational for the Max button. Existing applications assumed it wasn't possible to make such an error so easily, that Close meant Close and that there was no need to present an option of "did you really mean to do that without saving your work".

      Apart from that description amounts to no more that a recital of existing common or best practice in GUIs. I suppose that for users migrating from character terminals it was a novelty. Our misfortune is that the apparent novelty was what appealed to commercial product managers and was perpetuated in place of the notion of common or best practice.

  19. Amentheist
    Joke

    "Paintbrush in Windows 3.11"..

    .. (click to enlarge)

    Good one, Reg!

  20. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Penguins

    Something, something Linux. Something, something, Linux, Linux.

    1. Peter Gathercole Silver badge

      Re: Penguins

      I brought Linux in to the conversation further up the comments. But if you bother to read it, I'm not that complimentary about modern Linux distro's either!

      1. TheProf Silver badge

        Re: Penguins

        A little more attention to detail is needed in Mint.

        I recently updated my other, other laptop and at the end Mint announced that I needed to reboot my system to complete the process.

        The options offered on the shutdown menu didn't include a reboot. Is 'restart' the same? Should I select that? Should I switch the laptop off and on again?*

        I can understand Microsoft wanting to confuse its users but Linux?

        *I selected restart.

  21. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Our displays have never been bigger, there are several millions of pixels rather than a mere few hundreds of thousands, that can display billions of colours.

    And yet some UIs makers insist on minimalism and removing information that had exactly zero problem fitting in.

    They're not even saving money on translation by reducing tooltips, I already see the terrible results of machine-translation in W10.

  22. hairydog

    I didn't know that anyone used paint, ever. Why would they, when paint.net is free and vastly better?

    1. Cederic Silver badge

      For the reasons stated in the article. Quick, lightweight, let's you do basic operations quickly and easily.

      Personally I prefer Irfanview for image browsing, cropping and resizing but paint does have the advantage of ubiquity. Paint.net is excellent but i find it's slow and clumsy for basic use.

      1. Terry 6 Silver badge

        Irfanview isn't very good for everyday resize and print. It doesn't much like real world measurements (inches or cm). And no one outside of the IT world has the faintest idea what a pixel is.

      2. Pirate Dave Silver badge
        Pirate

        Paint.net is good for those times when you need layers. For me, that's mostly when trying to get floor-plan images into some sort of order that they can be used for wifi heatmapping. But for day-to-day pixel manipulation needs, Paint is still my go-to.

        I agree about Irfanview, it's great for graphics viewing, image cropping (especially screen caps pasted from the clipboard) and does a better job of saving JPGs than Paint, IMHO. (although I am using the ancient Paint from Windows 2000/2003, so maybe MS has improved their JPG export since then)

    2. Zippy´s Sausage Factory
      Devil

      Why would anyone use paint.net when GIMP is also available and has a shedload more tools available in it than paint.net?

      Oh right, startup times... or not being allowed to install software on your works machine... or just needing to crop something or change format and why get complicated when paint's right there?

      I've used all three tools - paint, gimp and paint.net - in the last month. All for different jobs. If all you have is a hammer, etc...

    3. Terry 6 Silver badge

      Simplicity. Paint/Notepad are a basic tool. The sort of thing that is justifiably part of an OS rather than one of the programmes that run under an OS. They are the computing equivalent of the tools that come with flat pack furniture. Sometimes they're enough.

      One of the reasons why that Paint 3D was so f*ing stupid- it defeated the object.

      1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        "They are the computing equivalent of the tools that come with flat pack furniture."

        Just so long as they don't come with the sort of instructions that accompany flat pack furniture, designed to be equally incomprehensible in all languages.

        1. Terry 6 Silver badge

          Ah, well Windows and Office Help have been about as useful as a rubber ice pick for as long as I can remember. Most versions ( though I haven't looked at one for a decade or so) would list the most obvious stuff- saying what Print does, for example - but have no entry explaining the function of several commands in the menus that weren't obvious, or that would be greyed out/non-functioning until some other mysterious condition was met.

          And that is also very similar with flat pack instructions too. The easy stuff is clearly illustrated. but the bit that is particularly difficult to fit together will have no guidance in the written instructions ( if there are any) and will be illustrated as an oblique angle that totally fails to show how the two sections that you can't get to fit together are meant to. Especially if it's one of the chicken and egg sections (you can't get d and e to fit until you've put b and c together, but once you've b and c together there's no room for d and e...).

          In both incidences I've always assumed that the writers have said "Sod it it's too difficult to explain, we'll leave that bit out"

  23. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Microsoft is hoping to apply so much lipstick to the pig that people won't notice the pig any more.

    Oink.

  24. aldolo

    capture and paint

    capture and paint are the only standard win app i use. please ms, remove everything else!

  25. Robert Grant Silver badge

    Just pay Rick Brewster £5m for Paint.NET

    and preinstall that.

    It's crazy high quality. So useful.

  26. Zippy´s Sausage Factory

    "Prettier... but slightly worse".

    That sounds like it's going to become a recurring theme for Windows 11

    1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      And way before that, allowing for doubts about prettier.

  27. adam payne

    He states that future updates will include "dark theme, a centered canvas, and updated dialogs

    Yes show Paint some love.

  28. Blackjack Silver badge

    Paint is simple and fast to use.. up to windows 7. I have seen people installing the old Paint in Windows 10.

    If you just want to have fun, Tux Paint is fantastic more so if you have young kids as it can keep them distracted for a while.

    I remember using Paint and IrfanView in Windows 98 to make animated gifs, remember those? While annoying they were at least fun, save when people put way too many of them in the same webpage.

  29. ChrisC Silver badge

    "The targets seem smaller (a bad thing) but are not, since the clickable area remains a square. In other words, clicking near but outside the circle still selects the colour."

    Oh good, so instead of something that has the same visual area as its clickable area and which therefore self-defines the boundary within which a click will have the expected effect, we now get something that has a completely hidden clickable area and which therefore provides less feedback to the user than before. No, can't see why THAT would be a problem...

    Also, we've reduced the visual size of the thing that tells us what clicking on the thing does, so now instead of nice big swathes of colour stacked nicely side by side with minimal gaps which make it easy even for my CVD-afflicted eyeballs to tell apart. we have teeny-weeny dots of colour with wider gaps inbetween, making it rather less easy for some of us to see which colour it is we're actually selecting. No, can't see why THAT would be a problem either...

    I truly despair at the state of modern UI design.

  30. Omnipresent

    But can it

    make an NFT?

  31. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

    "This new font compliments Windows 11's geometry,"

    Self-praise. They would say that, wouldn't they. About as convincing as a gushing Amazon review.

  32. Pirate Dave Silver badge
    Pirate

    Confession time

    I confess, I keep a copy of the binaries handy for the Paint from Win2000 (or maybe it's the one from Server 2003). It just works, doesn't have ribbonitis, and looks like we're still in 1995. Yeah, some of the cool functions of the newer Paints are missing, but for those times when I need to do more heavy-duty graphics manipulation, I have a beer and remind myself that I'm a network admin, not a goddamn graphics artist. Paint it is, then.

    I've also got squirreled-away copies of Notepad and WordPad from 2000/2003. Again, they just work with minimal fuss.

  33. steviebuk Silver badge

    I remember when

    In Windows 3.11 I sat, for ages drawing a picture of Mickey Mouse in his Fantasia outfit. Took a while but came out nice. Unfortunately I've long lost the file but still have the photo of it on the wall back in our old family home, as I printed it out once I was done.

  34. rh16181618190224

    Living on the land

    Sometimes you may need to work on a computer that is not connected to the Internet. And you do not want to put an extra binary or two onto the machine either (might be production, might be other reasons). So paint and notepad are goto tools that are always there, hence it makes sense to learn these.

  35. Stevie

    Bah!

    I wonder what the demographics would look like if each new iteration of the windows UI came with a "make it look like Windows <insert favorite version>" button?

    Mine's the computer that looks like XP. Rounded windows, drop shadows, 3D buttons.

    When I want to use a butt-ugly UI that reminds me of an oversized phone I'll go use an ATM at my bank.

  36. BenDwire Silver badge
    Thumb Down

    First Paragraph edit

    Microsoft's redesigned user interface for Paint in Windows 11 is prettier but perhaps a little less useable than the previous version.

    IMHO, of course

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