paint.net is now available on the Windows Store!

Version 4.0.18, which I just announced, is now available on the Windows Store! The standard price is currently $8.99, but I’ve put it on sale for $5.99 $4.99 until the end of October. You can also make use of the 30-day free trial to get started.

(It may take a little bit of time before you can search for Paint.NET on the Windows Store. I’m told that things take up to 24 hours to “propagate.”)

Get it on Windows 10

Wait, it’s not free?

Correct! The Store release of Paint.NET is not distributed free-of-charge. This allows many things to converge and solves a lot of problems, while still providing value for new and existing users (err, customers?). The “Classic” release will still be available and kept up-to-date on the same schedule as the Store release.

… Well, I’m not gonna pay for it.

That’s fine. Just use the “Classic” version like you always have. It’s worth checking out what the Store release has to offer though. Maybe you’ll change your mind, but if not … ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

And you can still send a donation if that’s your preferred way of providing financial support. This is actually more effective because Microsoft does take a 30% cut of every transaction that goes through their Store.

There are some important advantages that the Store release comes with:

Automatic background updating. The first advantage is a really big one, in my opinion. Paint.NET already has a best-in-class update experience (“Install when I exit”, thankyouverymuch), but having updates be fully automatic and transparent is much better. Now whenever you launch Paint.NET it will definitely be the latest version. No more procrastinating the update because you’re already busy with other stuff. No more bumping into a crash that was fixed yesterday or last week (or last year … *cough* Smile). The Classic release checks about once every 10 days for updates, so if you move to the Store release then you’ll probably have updates several days sooner than usual (on average).

Easy Installation. The second advantage is that, once purchased, it’s really easy to get Paint.NET installed onto any new device. Everyone knows that installing “classic” desktop apps on Windows is a pain, especially when setting up a new PC. But for Store apps, it’s just so much easier: go to the “Store” app in Windows 10, click on the “…” at the top right, then click “My Library,” and then just click on the little download button next to Paint.NET (and on any other apps you need to install). Wait a little bit for the download and installation and you’re done. (There’s probably a better way to do this … it’s just the first method I found that I could verify quickly enough and be confident about.)

(Store apps also come with the wonderful advantage that they can’t install browser toolbars. They can’t change your web browser’s home page. They can’t do all sorts of things that would pollute your system. Store apps don’t get to provide their own installers full of sneaky check boxes that may or may not install various crapware. Paint.NET has never and will never do anything like that, but for many other apps it has been a very slippery slope over the years.)

Reliability. The Paint.NET installer and updater are based on Windows Installer (“MSI files”). Over the years this has proven to be an unreliable foundation. Every update I put out comes with a very small chance that a very small number of users will be unable to install the update, and that it will break their existing installation, and that they’ll be unable to reinstall – until they follow a set of crowdsourced troubleshooting steps that usually (but not always Sad smile) solves the problem. I’ve never been able to reproduce this, and I’ve never discovered the reason this happens. This problem goes away completely with the Windows Store release because of the way the package manager and application model works.

So … why charge for it now?

Over the years, I’ve been told over and over that I should be charging for Paint.NET and that people were willing to pay me for it. Accepting donations, the equivalent of a virtual “tip jar,” was a good way to accommodate this without having to develop or integrate a payment system along with serial numbers and piracy and all of that anti-fun. I’ve always been more interested in people having Paint.NET than ensuring that it has reached its full monetization potential (it’s been partly a lifestyle choice).

However, statistically speaking, not very many people actually send a donation. The numbers are actually incredibly tiny, and it’s only because Paint.NET has such an enormous user base that I’m able to see much from this. This is totally fine though – the psychology and statistics of a system like this just lean heavily against it being very lucrative, and I had long ago made a lifestyle choice to not go down the other fork in the road towards business and marketing.

Don’t get me wrong: getting donations is actually very rewarding! If someone likes Paint.NET so much that they’re willing to go to the PayPal website, punch in their details, and send me money, then that really says a lot about how much they appreciate it. I’ve had folks tell me that they promise to donate when they have money, and I’ve always told them to just tell all of their friends about it instead and to not feel indebted.

I’ve wanted to put Paint.NET into the Windows Store for awhile, but I couldn’t determine a way to monetize it that fit in with the existing distribution philosophy. Microsoft won’t allow you to accept payments or solicit donations except through their billing system, which meant that the Help menu’s Donate link had to go. And, since updates are handled automatically in the background, the polite “Please donate!” link in the updater was effectively gone as well. So if I were to give away Paint.NET for free on the Windows Store, anyone who installed it from there would probably never even see the “tip jar” and be encouraged to contribute.

So, I finally decided that I would just charge for the Store release. The Classic release will still be available and will continue to have a visible “tip jar” to encourage folks to provide financial support. And the Store release has some genuine advantages that you can pay for, if you choose.

Edit: I’d like to clarify something. There is a BetaNews article stating, “The charge for the Store app has been introduced because not enough people have been sending in donations.” This isn’t what I was trying to articulate above. The charge is because there would otherwise be no way to monetize the app at all because of Microsoft’s requirements for apps in the Store. It has nothing to do with the count or size of donations that are coming in, and I don’t mean to dismiss or minimize the contributions from folks over the years via donations. Sorry for the confusion.

But what about plugins?!

Oh! Don’t worry. Plugins are supported for the Store release. You just have to install them in a different location. Go to your Documents folder, create a folder called “paint.net App Files” (no quotes though), and then create a folder for each plugin type: Effects, FileTypes, and Shapes. And then put your plugins into each folder just like you’re used to with the Classic release. This does mean that plugins are installed per-user, mind you.

This method of installation is also supported by the Classic release, by the way.

If you’re a network administrator (or anyone really) who wants to disable this ability, you can do this with a registry key. In  HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\paint.net\, create a new string key called “Plugins/AllowLoadingPluginsFromUserLocations” (without the quotes) and set its value to “false”.

Questions?

Seriously, ask questions. This is a long blog post, but it’s new territory for myself and for Paint.NET and I probably missed something Smile

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66 thoughts on “paint.net is now available on the Windows Store!

    • Rick Brewster says:

      If it works in the Classic version, then it should work with the Store version. Assuming you already have any other dependencies, e.g. .NET 3.5, already installed.

    • Rick Brewster says:

      ugh, and I hear you about .NET 3.5 being annoying to install. However, I’m not sure you need to install .NET 3.5 if you’re running Paint.NET 4.0 or newer. One process can’t load both .NET 3.5 and .NET 4.0+, so you shouldn’t need .NET 3.5. I haven’t tried that particular plugin in awhile though.

      • John Dangerbrooks says:

        Apps that need .NET Framework 3.5 do not work with .NET Framework 4.x. That’s confirmed. That’s why versions 3.5.1 and 4.7 (as of this writing) get installed side-by-side, but 4.7 overwrites all other 4.x versions. However, if I recollect correctly, it is possible to load and run ancillary code written for .NET 3.5 as if it is written for .NET 4.x and hope you get lucky.

        As for an app using both versions of the framework, I don’t know either. I never tried.

        • iiarrows says:

          What you say last is not correct. You can COMPILE a 3.5 source code (CLR 2.0) to the CLR 4.0 and most probably that works, unless it heavily relies on multi-threading and asynchronous operations.
          But you cannot run a compiled IL on 4.0.

      • iiarrows says:

        .NET 3.5 uses the CLR Runtime 2.0, while the 4 uses the version 4.0.
        A process can reference a library written for a previous CLR runtime, so that is how it works.
        When you install that plugin you need to run an installer, which I honestly don’t remember what it exactly does, probably puts something into the GAC, at that point Windows tells you that you need to download the framework 3.5, because that’s what the installer uses.

        Then you copy the DLLs into the plugin folder.

        Anyway, I installed the Store version and copied the DLLs inside the new plugin folder and it works.

  1. Mark Rendle ❄ (@markrendle) says:

    Well done for getting this into the store. I’ll be honest, I’ve used paint.net for years and never donated, mainly because I’m always installing or running it to do something I’m focused on, and i forget to do it later. But I’ll happily pay for the Store version, which is quick and easy. I hope other people feel the same way.

  2. Cotega says:

    Just purchased it from the store. I am not sure if you have much control over this, but if you search paint.net in the store it does not find it. I had to use your direct link.

  3. Thomas A says:

    Just bought it. I’m so happy to see this in the store. I use it so much!
    I always forgot to donate but I’m glad I finally was able to contribute. Request:
    Could we get the ability to change the plugins path, specifically to a OneDrive folder? That way, new installs will have immediate access to plugins and new plugins will automatically sync to all devices.

    • Rick Brewster says:

      Having the ability to install plugins into the OneDrive folder was one of the first suggestions I received by e-mail. I really like the idea and I’m going to look at it for the next update 🙂

      • JKMSMKJ says:

        Yes, Please do that. I can also suggest using the “Apps” folder which is automatically created in OneDrive by MS apps like Fresh Paint, Office Lens, etc.

  4. John Dangerbrooks says:

    > “Everyone knows that installing “classic” desktop apps on Windows is a pain”

    Installing from Windows Store is also another pain in its own rights. The download speed is painfully slow, the installation is per-user, not per-machine, the update mechanism is finicky and (this part doesn’t apply to you) the whole Store hoopla is not Enterprise-friendly. I am not oblivious to the advantages of Windows Store apps and the fact that they what the modern age requires. However, I am also not oblivious to their shortcomings either.

  5. Alovchin says:

    This is such a great news! However, it’s a little bit overpriced in Russia (2.3 Big Macs, ~$12 if compare with U.S. Big Mac index). And regarding monetization, you could make an in-app purchase for donation and place the “polite” button somewhere in settings, for example. Could it be a viable option?

  6. Larking says:

    Any reason why plugins can’t be loaded from a user’s AppData folder? It’s where most apps sore settings these days, and I’d rather that than littering my Documents folder.

    (That belong said I still massively appreciate all the effort you’ve gone through!)

    • John Dangerbrooks says:

      Windows Store apps cannot access the AppData folder. They are restricted to a sandbox where they store their data and settings. The only part of the file system they can see outside their own sandbox is the designated user documents folders (.e.g. Pictures, Documents, Videos, etc.)

      True Windows Store apps are even more restricted. They cannot arbitrarily execute ancillary code. Thus, their plug-ins must be published on Windows Store too. Example: Microsoft Edge.

      • Larking says:

        Well, not entirely true. Both Windows Store and Desktop Bridge apps can access the AppData folder- they have too, it’s where their local settings are stored. The only difference is they can only ever access *their* AppData folders, no one elses, and can’t arbitrarily browse through them. And heck, Paint.Net has one created for it by default when installed through the store (AppData/Local/Packages/[PDN]/AppData which is can access. Not a horrible places to store things, if not the easiest for users to find.

        • iiarrows says:

          Not really, you can freely browse through the AppData “local” folder (I don’t remember the exact path now).
          I use it to download pictures “on demand”, in order to reduce the appx footprint.
          You can work in it just like a standard Win32 application.

          You should also be able to do the same with the remote one, I just didn’t need it and I never worked on it (plus, on a different device the user probably need different pictures). Also I didn’t want to work with the size limit.

          I don’t know if you can open an Explorer window to that folder, in order to help the user locate it from Paint.net.

          • Jason Martins says:

            You obviously didn’t understand Larking’s comment properly.

            “The only difference is they can only ever access *their* AppData folders, no one elses, and can’t arbitrarily browse through them.”

            He’s talking about the Store Apps being able to access only *their* AppData folders. He’s not talking about the end user being able to access folders on his system like you misunderstood.

            • iiarrows says:

              No, what I said is that an app CAN freely browse its folder structure, unlike what Larking said (“and can’t arbitrarily browse through them”).
              Paint.net could just use that folder for plugins.

        • Jason Martins says:

          If what you say is true (I’m no coder), then the Store version of Paint.NET should definitely use the AppData folder for its Plugins. I hate apps cluttering up MY personal (i.e. pictures, documents etc.) folders as well.

  7. ialexeev says:

    Thank you for all your work. Finally we have an easy option to pay for all your effort! Just bought it in the store, so easy.

  8. UHD says:

    Does an existing installation of Paint.NET need to be unistalled before installed the Windows Store version?

  9. Marco Scheel says:

    Great work and while I hasited to buy at first, I though about the usage of paint.net all along my professional career. Bought it! I want to support paint.net and in gerneral so a positive example of a successful store app. I hope you share the progress and success of the store version. Here in germany you already have a 100% 5 star rating with 9 (including mine) super positive reviews!

  10. Sander Evers says:

    Actually I’ve had more problems updating Windows Store apps (throwing strange and unsolvable error codes) than with MSI / exe based installers.

    Also donation can be handled using inapp purchases.

    • Jason Martins says:

      Mark is a decent chap and he’s duly updated his article as well. So ease up with the hate, willya?

  11. Robin Molnar says:

    Thank you, I really needed PdN to be available in the Windows 10 Store. Also, do you think it would be possible to have PdN available on Windows 10 Mobile in Continuum mode? I hope that PdN being written in dotNet, this wouldn’t be such a pain.

    • Rick Brewster says:

      I don’t think Continuum will be possible, for 2 reasons. The first is that Windows 10 Mobile almost certainly does not have support for .NET WinForms. The second is that I don’t know if you can even buy a Windows 10 Mobile device anymore, so I’d have no way to develop or test it.

  12. Tema Frank (@temafrank) says:

    OK, so now I feel guilty for not having sent money in. (Or, at least, not recently. I might have in my first year using it.) I’m off to buy it from the Windows Store. Thank you for making this program available at such a reasonable price!

    • Rick Brewster says:

      yeah, we are just starting to talk with Microsoft about how to do 3rd-party plugins (“we” as in myself, a plugin author, and someone at Microsoft). I have no idea when/if/how … so keep your fingers crossed 🙂

  13. Hifihedgehog says:

    As a quietly content user for over a decade, I proudly paid for the Windows Store donationware version without any misgivings or a second thought. I see nothing wrong with what you did: this software is still free via the standard download method, and there is a substantial investment involved of time, money and resources in publishing to the Windows Store. The least anyone can do as a token of appreciation for providing this powerful free software is donate through a very inexpensive one-time purchase. Besides, now installing it and keeping it up to date on all my PCs is now so much easier thanks to the Windows Store’s handy update system.

  14. Mel woods says:

    you cannot purchase on windows store unless you have windows 10 it wont allow you to downloads it if you are on windows 7 or 8

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