Paint.NET 4.0 will not support Windows Vista

I’m announcing this now so that everyone has plenty of time to do whatever. I’ve already said before that Paint.NET 4.0 will not work on Windows XP, but I’ve also recently decided to drop Vista as well. The minimum OS will be Windows 7, and it will not work at all on Vista or XP.

Now you know.

… puts on flame-retardant clothing …


110 thoughts on “Paint.NET 4.0 will not support Windows Vista

  1. Shane Gowland says:

    I’m fully in support of dropping support for outdated OS’s, especially with Windows 8 right around the corner. I wish I could get my users off of XP, but that doesn’t look likely for another few years at least.

    May I ask what the technical reason for dropping Vista was?

  2. Sidneys1 says:

    What’s the technical reason behind this? Unwillingness to code multiple-case instructions for win7-specific features, or are there actual shortcomings in Vista’s basic structure?

  3. Aaron Kelley says:

    I’m just curious… is there something that you are doing architecturally with Paint.NET 4.0 that prevents it from running on Windows Vista? Or is this simply to reduce the number of configurations needed for testing and keep things moving towards the future?

    Doesn’t matter to me either way, my machines are all on Windows 7, just wondering. 😛

  4. Cdrop says:


    Now if more people would drop support for old systems and better yet start dropping 32-bit support we would be on our way to reducing needless redundancy in coding, and getting cleaner, faster code.

    Bold step, I love it!

    • Rick Brewster says:

      I don’t think we’ll be able to drop 32-bit for a long time. Intel’s Atom processor, at least the initial run of them (2008/2009), did not have 64-bit support. From a CPU manufacturer’s perspective, restricting a chip to 32-bit has many benefits (like manufacturing cost!), especially if the system’s they’re installed in can only have up to 2GB of memory anyway.

  5. Trillian says:

    I’m sure you’ll get some hate for this but personally I’m okay with no Vista support if that makes your job easier and the 4.0 launch date nearer 🙂 Out of curiosity, what are the Vista limitations that motivate that choice?

  6. Zeek says:

    Aw man. I still use Vista on a regular basis. I do have a laptop for 7, so I’ll be in the loop. Still, my main desktop runs Vista…

    Well, o well.

  7. John Dangerbrooks says:

    Well, I pretty much expected this. I was waiting for this announcement ever since Microsoft announced that Internet Explorer 10 Platform Preview does not work on Windows Vista.

    Still, many of the people who ask for my help are using Windows XP but I never recommend Paint.NET for them anyway; It’s a 450 MB download for them instead of 3.5 MB. There are other alternatives.

    • Rick Brewster says:

      450mb? No — if you let Paint.NET auto-install 3.5 SP1 Client Framework then it’s only 22MB, IIRC. .NET 4.0 Extended is only 45MB, for both x86 and x64.

  8. Ben Harper says:

    Paint.NET 4 is the new Duke Nukem Forever, till it be out Windows 9 will be the minimum OS.

  9. Ben Harper says:

    Neither did Duke, still it was a good laugh to read their progress report over the years, and hi, my comment was suppose to be funny not judgmental sorry I hit a nerve there.
    Everyone has its Duke Nukem Forever project (or at least should have)

    • John Dangerbrooks says:

      No, I guess you didn’t but when you see a lone developer who does not charge money for his product writing “… puts on flame-retardant clothing …” in his blog, post you should exercise additional caution not to hurt his feelings.

      As for Duke Nukem, well: Commercial product, a whole team of elite developers, etc. That means: Fire at will!

      Oh, and I certainly don’t like to see Windows 10 comming but Paint.NET supporting only Windows 7.

  10. Kirvee says:

    I would also like to know of the technical reasons. I use Vista on my laptop. My desktop uses XP, but it’s old and needs replacing anyway and I use my laptop as my new desktop anyway.

    Well, guess it’s time I upgraded =/.

  11. Ian says:

    Hey Rick! I’m cool with the decision, but if you could post your reason for doing so that would be appreciated :). One of my favorite pieces of your blog is when you post usage stats and how that influences various decisions of yours along the way.

  12. André says:

    What is the technical point? The Platform Update for Vista backports several Windows 7 APIs, so you can use them. If Paint.Net doesn’t support Vista any longer I move to a different tool 😦

    • Rick Brewster says:

      Paint.NET v3.5.x will continue working on Vista. There’s no timebomb or anything like that. I will probably keep both downloads on the website for awhile, even after v4’s final release.

  13. T_Lh says:

    There have been several people asking for a technical reason…perhaps is the reason usage-related? As a programmer I understand the frustration that comes from having to support different technologies in the same package, but most of the time if I get to drop a technology it’s because the usage statistics don’t justify the amount of time it takes to support the older tech.

    I’m guessing that’s the issue, and would be interested to see how many users are on 7 already. 🙂

  14. Andy says:

    Why bother? Release dates after May 21st are meaningless. But seriously, this is a bold move of which I and many others are supportive. Keep up the good work!

    • Rick Brewster says:

      No no, the end of the world is October 21st. There’s only going to be “a worldwide earthquake the likes of which man has never before seen” on May 21 😉 We will still need Paint.NET while rebuilding civilization over those 5 months.

  15. Rhavia says:

    well I can understand his choice … Why keep supporting very old stuff for a new stuff ? People want new software so they have to accept that the software may depending of the complete systeme including hardware and operating system.
    I also think his choice is very good, forcing company who want to keep old stuff to move on and chang their empleyee computers and OS… they want to save money in short terms, but spent a lot to keep the old stuff working, loosing a lot of time and money 😡
    As he dont really have the pressure of commercial people of things like this he can make new fancy stuff without suffer too much with compatibility issues.

    • Rick Brewster says:

      PDN4 won’t be out for awhile. You’ve got time. And even then, the last v3.5.x release continue to work on XP/Vista. There’s no timebomb.

  16. Tyler says:

    Regardless of what you do, thankyou for this awesome tool. I literally use it every day! Keep up the good work!

  17. Lance McKnight says:

    It makes perfect sense to me that Vista won’t be supported.

    So…how’s the progress toward v4.0 going?

      • Josh says:

        You are removing updates and new features for over half of your userbase. You haven’t even give an explanation of why it is so hard to support Vista and XP.

        But I’m sure you will come back to me with an updated pie chart telling me that Windows 7 is now over half of your users. I don’t see how every new feature that will be invented is too hard to program into Windows Vista/XP. If there are really features that are impossible then keep them Windows 7 exclusive.

        Every other program isn’t having these problems, why is Paint?

      • Rick Brewster says:

        First off, there’s no moral, ethical, or legal obligation for me to give any explanation whatsoever. If you think differently, then it doesn’t matter. I do this because I enjoy it, not because I’m worried about your judgment.

        Second, I haven’t said why I’m dropping Vista support, so who’s to say it’s because it’s “hard”? Who said anything about “problems”? Difficulty isn’t the only factor taken into account when making engineering or business decisions.

      • Josh says:

        That’s fine if you don’t want to give an explanation. But you did ask me to elaborate; if you don’t say why you are doing it then most people are going to jump to the most obvious conclusion that it is too hard to do.

        In cases with other paid programs the conclusion would be because of money purposes. Otherwise is that it is too difficult to support it.

      • Rick Brewster says:

        I disagree that “most people” will jump to that conclusion (who knows though, it’s not like we’ve done a scientific poll). Even if they did, I’m not losing sleep over it. If someone’s going to hate me for my decisions, then why should I be concerned with whether they are using my software?

    • Syntaxial says:

      Well, if you and whoever you represent are too lazy to upgrade from a 9 year old system that is illegal to have on newly manufactured computers in most countries, that’s your problem.

      • Benny says:

        Rubbish 🙂 I dont think Microsoft is so big that they can set international countries laws about what software can be installed on a new computer. A gross exaggeration.
        If by chance is is “illegal”.to have XP on a new computer then thats a worry, and a very good reason to stop using MS products and cut them down a peg or two. Anyhow I don’t believe your comment.
        Crap comments like that serve as an advertisement for more people to start using Linux.
        The first thing to be deleted off any computer I own is the latest OS, and I then install XP, the best alrounder with the least bloat.

  18. Rick Brewster is Lazy, Untalented, Unskilled says:

    Shouldn’t you rewrite “The image and photo editor.” to “The image and photo editor only on Winblows 8. By Rick Brewster, lazy, untalented, unskilled hack.”

    Because clearly you’re a lazy, untalented, unskilled hack. Since you’re so lazy, why even support Windows 7, Windows 8 is clearly the only thing lazy people like you should support. Luckily, the rest of the world uses better image editors and software that works on any OS.

    • Syntaxial says:

      Read what I said to the above comment.

      By the way, YOU try writing a program with 200,000 or 300,000+ lines of code before making any stupid comments.

      It is people like you that make the jobs of programmers hard! If you have nothing constructing to say, f*** off!

    • Benny says:

      Totally uncalled for. Why would you bother to write here if you don’t use the program.
      The fact that he even shares his software is great. So you think you can abuse him just because he voluntarily chooses to share his software.
      What a total loser.

      • scutterman says:

        Just to point out I totally agree with you but I don’t use PDN and I still read every post here.

        Having said that I hope that any comments I post are either constructive or positive (or at least legible), and the main reason I read it is because I’m waiting for the posts that say which features have been introduced. With editable text and custom brushes (like blur) I would probably ditch Gimp and come right back to PDN

    • Benny says:

      Spoken like a true anonymous git who hasn’t the nads to post his real name or email addy. I brave old soul whose only aim in life is to masturbate in a cupboard in hope of not be detected.

  19. Ian says:

    Wow some of these comments here took a turn towards shit. Rick, Paint.NET is friggin awesome, I use it on a weekly basis. Thank you for the time invested, and please ignore the ungrateful assholes 🙂

  20. noonecares says:

    Paint.NET usage will diminsh over time. Seriously no one cares. I won’t be surprised if it runs only on the leaked Windows 8. You have no integrity left and are only interested in pushing more $$$ which M$ pays you behind the scenes so you can give away PDN for free. It’s pointless to argue with any developer whose soul is sold for life to Microsoft.

    • Rick Brewster says:

      What’s this got to do with integrity? You’re claiming a conspiracy theory where there is none. Microsoft doesn’t pay me anything for Paint.NET. Some day you’ll grow up and realize that corporations are not religious organizations. Souls do not get bought or sold.

  21. Klimax says:

    Troll(s) arrived. And posting hilariously bad videos. (debunking would be fun if people could stop laughing / headdesking)

    “Tests” were clear case of fitting results to wanted conclusion even if author had to twist them beyond any integrity. And not only results but he had to search very long time to find *something* which he could abuse as slowness of XP.

    Author just demonstrated his own idiocy and probably idiocy of anybody who fell for it.

    What is funny no reputable techsite noticed it.(like Ars Techica)

    Written on Elitebook(Win7)

  22. Paul says:

    Good to see the internet can be relied upon to show the worst in people yet again.

    Paint.Net is an excellent tool and the effort Rick has put in is appreciated by many. It isn’t even as if he is removing the 3.x line to prevent people running XP or Vista from being able to continue to use it if they desire.

    At least by letting us see these comments we can see for ourselves how self centred and stupid they are.

  23. Fabio Goto says:

    I use PDN almost everyday to edit simple images for websites I build and it will take some time to upgrade my OS and PC (will probably be able only when Win8 comes), so better keep a copy of the current version. =)

    I support the fact that you’re moving on and not getting stuck on outdated OS. And you don’t even have to explain the motives behind it.

    It’s like when developing a website layout and a client asks “will it work on IE5 and IE6?” and begs for it, when the majority of people uses at least IE7/8, we’re already with IE9 and moving on to the next gen browser.

    We can’t satisfy all the client’s needs. I think we can’t advance if we keep worrying about outdated software, bugfixes for those and the like.

    PDN being lightweight and not requiring a monstrous cpu is fine with me. If PDN4 keeps being like this, I have no complains about the move.

    So, thanks Rick! =D

    Cheers from Brazil!

  24. wiak says:

    i dont mind dropping vista
    but only if 4.0 gets full Windows Imaging Component support
    am all for it going Win 7 only

    FEI (for everyones information)
    Windows Imaging Component= allows for opening of the same filetypes you can open in Windows Picture Viewer so you can use Nikon WIC Codec and open .nef files and use Canon WIC Codec to open .cr2


  25. noonecares says:

    And there’s of course 3.36 source to fork for those who grabbed it before the deal of your soul occurred.

      • Rick Brewster says:

        The reaction from people like “noonecared” would be sufficient, honestly. Self-entitled wankers who wouldn’t ever use the code, yet treat its availability as a religious right, and who lash out with cussy hatred if it’s removed. I have no desire to participate in a community of angsty basement dwelling children.

      • nononecares says:

        I think that the very fact you take great pleasure and pride in dropping support for older versions of Windows and gloating over it on your blog saying how you are not entitled to any explanation speaks for itself who’s the child here. Nothing else is expected from an arrogant softie who’s sold his soul to Microsoft, enjoys abusing his position as a smug egoistic developer of PDN and hopes he can generate some praise for his loser app by blogging about how it will drop Vista support.

      • Rick Brewster says:

        This blog post is an announcement so people can get prepared if necessary, and not be surprised. I see no pride or boasting in my statement above. I fail to see how I am being “smug” or childish or arrogant, as I have neither felt nor expressed these in this discussion. You clearly misunderstand what is going on here. I do this because I enjoy it, and you have not paid me money, and I owe you nothing. Whenever you get around to writing Windows software, then you can support all the different versions of Windows that you want to. It is obvious that you are projecting your own hatred, mistrust, and suspicion, and you would benefit greatly from not being such a pessimist.

  26. Nir says:

    I love and I use it all the time, its an amazing program and I am truly impressed with you writing such a capable image editing program in addition to a job and I’m very thankful you are giving it away for free.

    I’m also a bit disappointed by this announcement because my main machine is Vista and I currently have no plans to upgrade it – and I have to add, just to make sure I’m not grouped together with some other rude commenters here, that its your project, based on the how successful PDN is I believe you know what you are doing and this is likely the right choice, also considering you are giving such an awesome tool for free I have no right what so ever to complain (but I think I am allowed to be disappointed – if I do it politely).

    I will really appreciate it if you would write a blog post about the reasons behind this decision.

    • Rick Brewster says:

      I don’t ever do any testing on Server. My guess is you’ll need 2008 R2, which coincides with Windows 7 on the desktop. I honestly can’t imagine why you’d want to use Server on a workstation.

  27. Gaël says:

    Hi Rick,

    I don’t think the “Server on a workstation” case is the only reason for running on Windows Server : we regularly use it in Terminal Server/Remote Desktop Services environments for fast image manipulations on development servers.

  28. Alexander says:

    I’m still using Windows Vista and I actually like it quite a bit more then Windows 7…so this news are pretty depressive, I hoped to fully drop Photoshop usage entirely after 4 comes out with new features…well, it’s your software and your decision. Someday I’ll upgrade my system anyway, even despite my innate hatred for modern technology ang glossy GUIs 🙂

    So, thanks for all the hard work you’ve done!

  29. WelshBlue says:

    I was pretty gutted when I read about Vista … but some of the comments posted are totally out of order.

    I’m lucky I can upgrade (and will ‘cos I’m a PDN junkie) but feel sorry for those who can’t due to economic reasons

  30. Ben says:

    Always nice to see good software that actually tries to force some forward momentum rather than supporting old platforms until doomsday.

    I’m surprised from a technical aspect that Vista proposes a drastic enough change to drop support (but my knowledge of MS inner workings is limited). Regardless, good riddance to bad rubbish.

  31. Benny says:

    The irony is that many people would be using due to it been free.
    Yet they are faced with the cost of upgrading to more MS 7/8 bloatware. It may be cheaper to buy a copy of PS and remain using XP.
    Been a OS junkie and having tried nearly every OS ever created, including MS, Mac, Linux, BSD and their derivatives, I think XP is still the best alrounder.

      • Benny says:

        Thanks for your response, Rick.
        I should have read all the comments before I posted.
        I / we are very grateful for your amazing and free contributions.

        In reading back I have now noticed you received some very unwarranted and harsh comments. I wish to disassociate myself from those people, and hope my comments were only taken as constructive thoughts.
        Just out of interest, if version 4 is such a big change, wouldn’t it be better to code it in a cross platform language? I have only recently discovered as an alternative to GIMP. I much prefer your layout than the gimp.
        Thanks again for all your great work.

      • Rick Brewster says:

        Cross platform support has never been a goal of Paint.NET. The choice of programming language isn’t the issue — C# can run on a multitude of operating systems, as can C++/CLI and (obviously) C/C++. I don’t use Linux or Mac OS X (etc.), nor do I have any expertise in developing for them. Supporting these would require a significant amount of engineering time, and the end result would be a second-class experience limited to the lowest common denominator features available on all platforms. I have no moral objection to this type of work or support, it simply not something I’m interested in.

      • Benny says:

        I’m not sure about the lowest common denominator suggestion, as I have seen some mighty fine cross platform programs written, like open office, Blender, Gimp, etc. These all do a great job on all main OS’s.
        You mentioned “it simply not something I’m interested in.” But I would think you are interested in having lots of users? Been cross platform you increase your user base 3 fold or more.
        There are some great cross platform programming packages out they that are free. I would have thought if the primary languages were C/C++, then it would just be a matter of copying the files across and compiling them to their different formats. I’m sure I could find people interested in helping with the compiling part.
        The thing you have in your favor is a more user friendly UI. Personally I think a UI is in some ways more important than the actual program in order to retain users.

      • Klimax says:

        Just in case: That was at Benny.
        At May 29, 2011 at 7:57 pm Benny:
        1)Three times? Hardly.
        2)Have you seen how much work those groups devote to that?
        3)And generally using toolkit doesn’t mean trivial cross support. Ask VLC team.

        The only time when support for different archs is trivial if you do not complicated projects,otherwise sooner or later you will lose a lot of time.

      • Rick Brewster says:

        The only other platform I plan on supporting is Windows 8 on ARM, as soon as I can get my hands on a compiler for it. Although it’ll probably take another release after 4.0 to make it more tablet friendly.

  32. Dima says:

    Yeah, I can say that your project is excellent! I donate one or two times 🙂 but…
    Do not forget that in Corporate Sector Windows XP still the industrial standard OS. As example: here in Russia I have 5 PC’s (at work, at home, at mobile etc) but all of them are running XP SP3. This means that I will be using Paint.NET version 3.9.9999999 last compatible with WinXP…. Sad picture for me.

    In real life I still feel no real need to move to Win 7. Believe me. My colleagues too.

    But we still undrstand your position and appreciate for your great project!

    P.S. Maybe it will be a good reason to move to Win 7 to use PDN 4…. Billy should be happy 🙂 🙂 🙂

  33. Lion says:

    First time reading the blog. Coming from an open source world, the author here is very rude to its users.

    Sure, it’s not your “moral obligation”, but saying this and other “unconcerned” statements while interacting with your users makes you look really bad.

    Just have a look at other open source projects, and how their authors build the community, and handle themselves, even in the face of criticism.

    It’s not your obligation to even read this post, but I felt I’ll just leave my 2 cents here.

    • Rick Brewster says:

      Look, if someone comes on here with a confrontational attitude, they can’t expect a sugar coated reply. This isn’t some large corporation’s customer service department. Many folks in the open source community are fine folks, but my general experience with them has been one of entitlement and hostility. If you’d spent some time on the Paint.NET forum, where the real action is, then maybe you’d have an informed opinion. I’m not unconcerned with my user base, and I am concerned with doing work I enjoy. The alternative to dropping XP/Vista is to drop Paint.NET.

      Anyway, check out the forum. You just might change your mind. My comments may often be dry, but I’m not an asshole. This isn’t a contest. I’m just doing what I love to do, and naturally people will sometimes disagree with me – often the most vocal people in the crowd. I simple cannot appease everyone and I have to prioritize my own happiness.

  34. Nick H. says:

    Rick, I have paid for image and icon editors that I no longer use. I uninstalled them in favor of Paint.NET. So if you ever get tired of all the freeware freeloaders that do nothing but complain, just start charging for it. I’d pay.

  35. Rocky says:

    I can fully understand this for Windows XP, which is not the same generation of Windows Vista and Seven. But Vista and Seven have a lot of similarities, unless the application uses very specific features such as improved taskbar operations… Reading carefully all the comments, I still don’t see a real explanation, I just hope that is more than “if os = vista then don’t start”.

    This is the author choice. When 4 will be available, then all users who are still using Vista or XP (and I’m sure there is a lot of users of it – I have XP and Vista at home and don’t plan changing computers in a near future) will just start looking at other programs. There is a lot of freewares and even low cost sharewares with the same level of functionality (or even more) than

    • scutterman says: 3.6.x will still be available to download, install, and use for vista and xp users.

      • Rocky says:

        I know it, all the comments about XP and Vista have this answer : the “pre-4.0” version will still run and it’s ok. The main discussion is the new features of will not be available for Vista users and many users who post comments here still want some explanation (is 4 so deeply integrated with Windows 7? Is there any technical reason?).

        I do not complain at all about, I like it, and it’s a very good example of usability. I recommend to all friends if they want a simple to use and free graphics editor. But I know other tools, if will not be available anymore for me, it will not prevent me to sleep 🙂

      • scutterman says:

        I think Rick commented he may post a technical reason in the future, when the trolls/flamers got bored.

  36. savyg says:

    Good to see sanity in one place on the internet. I tire of subpar experiences made for older OSes.

  37. Drew says:

    I like the released stable version. But I bet I would love an improved version.

    It seems a shame that because I am not blessed with the funds to upgrade my PC (and the OS – as win 7 does not support all of my hardware), I will always be stuck with an outmoded and older version. It only rankles because my OS is currently only 1 branch down the evolutionary tree. The PC is way capable enough to cope with everything I want it to do.

    Everything alas except the next version of PDN.

    I accept a lone developer doing things for the fun and challenge of it can make whatever decisions he/she likes to go in whatever direction they feel. I don’t own any part of the program or claim any rights to it at all, I am just an interested novice user.

    Ho Hum, for me and many others it now appears PDN is going to be an evolutionary dead end now. I will keep on using it, but can say that the news is saddening. What the heck though, this will happen to me more and more frequently, just like when other programs were Vista (rather than XP) only.

    I will of course, keep my PDN as fresh as I can, look out for any plugins the entrepreneurs come up with to bridge the gap, but maybe in the future gimp 2.8 will delight that little bit more. (Oops… my turn now with the flame retardant please)

  38. Will Fastie says:

    Windows 7 is worth the upgrade, no question. XP is long in the tooth and I kick myself for having waited so long. My old laptop really got a shot in the arm with 7.

    But even with Win8 “around the corner,” I don’t think Vista is dead and I’m thus surprised by the Win7+ decision. While I always tell friends and clients to dump XP, I’m not so forceful where the much-maligned but still very good Vista is concerned.

    I use Paint.NET and recommend it to others frequently. I’m sure I will continue to do so once v4 hits the streets and I look forward to it. I’m equally sure that keeping 3.5 available for those with older OS versions will benefit the Paint.NET brand and I commend you for that decsion.

  39. Tong says:

    Hey man can you tell us the technical reasons behind it? I’m not concern what OS support is dropped, just interested in the technical bits. Thank you.

    P.S. Is is because Vista interface is less uniform than 7?

    Again thank you for this wonderful software!

    • Rick Brewster says:

      At this point I’m inclined not to. No matter what the reasons are, I’ll just get flamed and insulted, and since not many people use Vista anyway it really just doesn’t have much consequence.

  40. Adam says:

    I fully understand your move, and It really doesn’t matter what the reasons are – supporting old systems is like pain in the a** and this is enough.

    Keep up your great work – is one of the most straight forward and easy to use software with so huge functionality I have ever seen.

    I am using Vista at home workstation to, but 4.0 will be another good reason to switch it to 7 (or 8).

  41. Алексей Долматов says:

    Перевод: русский > английский

    Thank you for your product .. I’m glad its targeting new operating systems. For me it was a surprise that decision, but to be expected. Hence the conclusion: I need to engines up to date, and not to use the old one. Otherwise you’ll have to use all the old (OS, software, PC, …)

Comments are closed.