Paint.NET v3.5.1 is now available

I discussed this update yesterday, and I’ve decided to release it before the weekend.

You can either use the built-in updater, or go to the website and download it. There’s no need to uninstall the old version; that will be taken care of automatically.

Oh! And for those who didn’t check out betas, this will be your first chance to see the background auto-updater in action. I think you’ll find it much more convenient than the in-your-face update process that older versions required you to sit through.

Changes and fixes since v3.5:

  • New: For Windows 7, added taskbar progress reporting for long running operations (effects, adjustments, Image->Resize, save, install)

  • Made some corrections to the French translation
  • Running setup with /auto will no longer launch Paint.NET when it’s done
  • Fixed an issue where Paste into New Image would refuse an image on the clipboard, even if regular Paste would take it
  • Fixed a race condition with Edit->Paste and Image->Resize whereby it would take up 100% CPU and take between 1 minute to 1 hour to finish
  • Fixed an issues with Copy/Paste where it would leave an extra line of transparent pixels on the left, top, right, and/or bottom edges
  • Fixed lag with the paintbrush tool that was being seen on some systems
  • Fixed some issues with the paintbrush and eraser tool being misaligned when zoomed in
  • Fixed a crash that would happen at (seemingly) random times, such as after drawing with the paintbrush tool, on some systems
  • Fixed a minor and obscure rendering glitch with the Move Selected Pixels tool
  • Fixed an issue with glass over Remote Desktop or Windows 7 Virtual PC
  • Fixed a minor glitch whereby the "Unsaved Changes" confirmation dialog could never finish rendering the image thumbnail if one of the Move tools was active

Paint.NET v3.5.1 is coming … small fixes, and more Win7

It’s inevitable that a small “QFE” update is necessary shortly after a big release like Paint.NET v3.5. I’ve been keeping track of the crashes and other issues that have been sent my way, and I have fixes for the most important ones. Some users have reported lag with the paintbrush tool … fixed. Some have been having a really difficult time with Paste gobbling up CPU time and never finishing … fixed. Et. cetera.

In addition, I’ve added a few extra small goodies for Windows 7 users. Namely, many long-running operations will report their progress in the taskbar, like so:

All effects, adjustments, Image->Resize, and the installer itself will do this. The installer is a pretty useful one, in fact. That way you can tell at a glance if it’s done or not. It reports progress, and also uses an overlay icon that updates to reflect whether installation is in-progress, successfully completed, or had an error.

Hopefully in another update I can publish the image list into the superbar’s tab list. However, this will require a bit more work and so it did not make the cut for v3.5.1.

Paint.NET v3.5 (Final) is now available!

Thanks to everyone who helped out with the extensive alpha and beta releases with all the bug reports, crash log submissions, and feedback. It has all been a huge help in creating the best Paint.NET release ever.

As usual, there are two ways to get the new version:

  1. Preferred: Use the built-in updater from within Paint.NET. If you are using version v3.36, simply go to the Help menu and click on “Check for Updates.” For v3.5 alpha/beta, go to the Utilities menu instead of the Help menu. Or, just wait for the update prompt to come up automatically within the next week or so.
  2. Download directly from the website: . There is no need to uninstall the old version; that will be taken care of automatically.

Changes since version 3.36:

  • New: Refreshed user interface with new icons and visual styling. On Windows 7 and Vista, it is enhanced for Aero and “glass”.
  • New effect: Blurs -> Surface Blur, by Ed Harvey
  • New effect: Distort -> Dents, by Ed Harvey
  • New effect: Distort -> Crystalize, by Ed Harvey
  • New: Russian translation.
  • Performance and memory usage have been extensively optimized throughout the entire program.
  • .NET Framework 3.5 SP1 is now required, which has many built-in performance improvements.
  • Disk space usage has been reduced by about 12MB by using NTFS compression on installation files related to staging (.MSI) and diagnostics (.PDB).
  • Compression for .PDN images has been improved.
  • Effect dialog responsiveness has been improved.
  • Images open much faster, especially on single CPU systems.
  • Startup performance on most systems will be better by about 20%.
  • Memory usage has been reduced when more than one image is open.
  • Rendering quality has been greatly improved when zoomed in.
  • The selection outline is no longer animated. Instead of “dancing ants”, a context-sensitive “XOR” stipple pattern is drawn. This has allowed for improved performance and lowered CPU consumption (and longer battery life).
  • The font manager for the Text tool has been completely rewritten, which fixes many problems seen with crashes and missing fonts.
  • On Windows XP, the Text tool has improved reliability and font selection (it uses GDI instead of GDI+).
  • On Windows 7, the Text tool will use DirectWrite (instead of GDI) which gives better performance and greatly improved quality. On Windows Vista, you may install the Platform Update for Windows Vista to enable this feature; otherwise GDI will be used.
  • The toolbar font list has improved usability, rendering quality, and significantly improved performance.
  • The toolbar font list no longer requires an application restart to recognize newly installed fonts.
  • When many fonts are installed, both memory usage and startup performance have been greatly improved.
  • It is now drastically easier to move a very small selection.
  • All installation prerequisites are now installed automatically, such as .NET and Windows Installer.
  • Updates are now downloaded in the background, and installed after you exit the application. In previous versions, this was a foreground task and you could not use Paint.NET while the update was downloaded.
  • Added a “Utilities” menu. Updates, Languages, and Plugin Errors have been moved there.
  • Added a “Manage Fonts” command to the Utilities menu. This will launch the built-in Windows font control panel.
  • Clicking the middle mouse button on an image thumbnail will now close the image.
  • Improved the Unfocus effect.
  • The DirectDraw Surface (.DDS) file type now allows you to select the resampling algorithm for auto-generated mip-maps.
  • A processor that supports SSE is now required (almost all CPUs purchased this decade satisfy this).
  • Fixed an issue with Gaussian Blur and its treatment of alpha values.
  • Fixed a crash with the “Units” selector in the toolbar.
  • Fixed a crash due to an overflow that prevented very large images from working (64-bit only).
  • Fixed many other miscellaneous glitches and crashes.
  • The Korean translation has been removed. Sadly, we were unable to find the resources to complete this.

Enjoy! 🙂

A new license for Paint.NET v3.5

Over the years I’ve had to put up with several individuals, and companies, trying to plagiarize Paint.NET by recompiling the program under a different product name and with their own name stamped into the credits. Sometimes they charge money for it. I even came up with my own term for it: “backspaceware.” Additionally, every once in awhile Paint.NET is spotted being sold on eBay.

And, as many of you know, Paint.NET used to be open source. Or rather, it was “released source” – the source code was released, but it was never an open and collaborative project that accepted unsolicited code submissions. I liked releasing the source code this because I felt there was value in allowing others to study it. About a year ago I decided I was tired of seeing plagiarized versions of Paint.NET and I yanked the source code from the website. However, the source code was still out there at various places on the Internet (hardly illegal). Even without the source code, a clever and skilled person could probably still decompile, modify, and recompile the program to say or do whatever they wanted it to.

The biggest problem was that, even though these were clearly unethical and deplorable actions, the MIT License permitted all of it. Or, at least, it was unclear in some corner cases what was disallowed. So, legally speaking, it wasn’t clear what exactly could be done about it anyway. I am not a lawyer and did not want to spend thousands of dollars to get it all figured out. Some people have stated that I chose the wrong license, and in hindsight this is definitely partially true.

Also, this is not just about plagiarism and my own personal blood pressure. Having derivative copies of Paint.NET out there causes confusion and disrupts the mainline user base. I’ve had people e-mail me confused because they thought that Paint.NET had been renamed, but that features were missing in “the new version”. These derivative copies also cause a bit of a mess, because they often 1) uninstall the real Paint.NET (they use the same Windows Installer product GUID), and 2) still have the same updater logic (including the URL for the manifest). Which means you’d install the derivative copy, it would remove Paint.NET, and then once Paint.NET had a new update it would uninstall the derivative version and replace it with Paint.NET, etc. Or, the modified version would crash and the crash log would still instruct people to send it to my e-mail address. There is also a real risk of trojans and viruses.

All that stops now.

For the final release of Paint.NET v3.5, which will be very soon now, I am updating the license. For most users, this will have no impact whatsoever. It’s still freeware. There’s still no claim on any files created, opened, or saved with Paint.NET. You can still mirror the ZIP file on your website (e.g. Betanews,, etc.) without having to ask permission. You can still sell stuff that you make with Paint.NET (assuming you have the legal right to do so in the first place, of course). You can continue using it in a business environment, deployed to as many systems as you like.

However, the license now states that you cannot modify Paint.NET itself, or create derivative works based on the Paint.NET software (that is, derivative software). Nor can you sell it. I don’t believe this will have an impact for anybody but those who wish to plagiarize or rip-off Paint.NET. I’m not putting in any restriction about reverse engineering or decompiling, e.g. with Reflector. I think that would be silly, and I still whole heartedly believe that there’s value in being able to study Paint.NET’s code – even if it’s Reflector’s best-guess disassembly. However, you cannot modify and then recompile a new version of Paint.NET from that disassembly.

There will undoubtedly be some confusion here. For instance, “Are plugins allowed?” Absolutely yes – the program is designed to accept these, and they are not modifications to Paint.NET itself. No doubt I will have to update the FAQ for this, among other things.

I expect there will be a very vocal minority that will condemn this license change. Before you speak out, please ask yourself this question: Does it actually affect you? Were you actually planning to do something that this new license disallows? My guess is that the answer is “no”, but please post a comment if the answer is a legitimate yes. Many people had condemned my decision to remove the source code, but upon further investigation it was purely a matter of principle: they had never downloaded the source code, never knew anyone who had done so, and never planned to do anything that would benefit from or depend on source code access. I’d liken it to being upset that your passport disallowed traveling to Antarctica … were you really planning to do that in the first place?*

The other thing I am planning to do is to release portions of Paint.NET v3.5’s source code, probably under an MIT or BSD-style license. Plugin developers will greatly benefit from having the source code for the effects, and for some WinForms UI controls. The best way to summarize things is that this new license (below) covers “the binaries”, aka “what you just downloaded and installed.” I can still create separate download packages that are covered under different licensing terms. Philosophically it can be confusing, but I’m willing to pay that price.

Here is the new license, for your perusal before the imminent release of version 3.5:


Copyright (C) dotPDN LLC and Rick Brewster. Portions Copyright (C) Chris Crosetto, Tom Jackson, Michael Kelsey, Brandon Ortiz, Craig Taylor, Chris Trevino, and Luke Walker.

Portions Copyright (C) Microsoft Corporation. All Rights Reserved.

Paint.NET is a registered trademark of dotPDN LLC.

License last updated: November 5, 2009

Paint.NET is free for use in any environment, including but not necessarily limited to: personal, academic, commercial, government, business, non-profit, and for-profit. “Free” in the preceding sentence means that there is no cost or charge associated with the installation and use of Paint.NET. Donations are always appreciated, of course!

Permission is hereby granted, free of charge, to any person obtaining a copy of this software (the “Software”), to use the Software without restriction, including the rights to use, copy, publish, and distribute the Software, and to permit persons to whom the Software is furnished to do so.

You may not modify, adapt, rent, lease, loan, sell, or create derivative works based upon the Software or any part thereof. However, certain icons used in the Paint.NET user interface are from or adapted from those in the “Crystal” icon set,, or the “Oxygen” icon set, These icons are covered by the LGPL license, These icons are stored as “loose” PNG image files in the Resources\en-US\ directory where Paint.NET is installed.

The above copyright notice and this permission notice shall be included in all copies of the Software.


* Like all metaphors, this one has its limits.