How to Get Windows 10 Classic Paint in Windows 11

Windows 11 has got the redesigned and modern (UWP) Paint app that has an updated UI that matches the new visual design of Windows 11. The modern Paint app’s new design includes rounded corners, Mica, and more. It has a new toolbar with updated icon designs, a rounded color palette, and a new set of drop-down menus for tools such as brushes, stroke size, and flip/rotate controls.

However, many folks still prefer the classic Windows 10 version of Microsoft Paint. If you want to get back the classic Windows 10 paint in Windows 11, this article is for you!

How to Get Windows 10 Classic Paint in Windows 11

To get back classic Windows 10 version of Paint in Windows 11, follow these steps:

Step 1: Copy the classic Paint files

The mspaint.exe program and the related binaries from Windows 10 21H2 or earlier work perfectly fine on Windows 11.

  1. Download Paint (Classic).zip [2.03 MB] and open the archive.
  2. Right-click on the “Classic Apps” folder and click Copy.
    get back classic paint windows 11
  3. Open the “C:\Program Files” folder.
  4. Right-click an empty area in the Program Files folder and choose Paste.
    get back classic paint windows 11

You now have the following folders and files:

[Directories]
"C:\Program Files\Classic Apps\Microsoft Paint\SystemResources"
"C:\Program Files\Classic Apps\Microsoft Paint"
"C:\Program Files\Classic Apps\Microsoft Paint\Program\en-US"
"C:\Program Files\Classic Apps\Microsoft Paint\Program"
[Files]
"C:\Program Files\Classic Apps\Microsoft Paint\SystemResources\mspaint.exe.mun"
"C:\Program Files\Classic Apps\Microsoft Paint\Program\en-US\mspaint.exe.mui"
"C:\Program Files\Classic Apps\Microsoft Paint\Program\mspaint.exe"
[Directory Structure]
C:\PROGRAM FILES\CLASSIC APPS
└───Microsoft Paint
    ├───Program
    │   │   mspaint.exe
    │   │
    │   └───en-US
    │           mspaint.exe.mui
    │
    └───SystemResources
            mspaint.exe.mun

Note: It’s suggested that you maintain the same directory names/structure as above. It’s because the registry file in “Step 3” below is pre-made for the above directory paths.

[SHA256 Hash Checksum]
mspaint.exe.mun:
717e1378945bd09c89b1b1503c01ced9b09670192bd4b8f2c04e28d0326db6af [File info]

mspaint.exe.mui
dd80231be27a8a9ef1b1d1d6606deab813c0879a53595b151b8508d786837dc1 [File info]

mspaint.exe
94aa32a2c9c1d2db78318d9c68262c2f834abe26b6e9a661700324b55fdd5709 [File info]

(The above files were copied from a Windows 10 21H2 computer. On Windows 10 21H2, Microsoft Paint is still a classic app available as an Optional Feature or Feature-On-Demand.)

Now, you should be able to launch classic Paint by double-clicking mspaint.exe.

What’s your locale – en-US or en-GB?

If you’re using a different locale, rename the “en-US” folder above to your LCID accordingly. For example, rename “en-US” to “en-GB” for English (UK), or “en-CA” for English (Canada). See the complete list of locale IDs (LCID) at the Microsoft Docs portal.

And, if your locale ID folder (en-US, en-GB, etc) is not found, or mspaint.exe.mui is missing from your locale ID folder, mspaint.exe will throw the following error:

get back classic paint windows 11

Unable to create a new document.

Step 2: Turn off mspaint.exe alias via Settings

The next step is to disable the App Execution alias for mspaint.exe. To do so:



  1. Open Settings.
  2. Click Apps → Apps & Features
  3. Expand “More settings”
  4. Click “App execution aliases”
  5. Disable the toggle switch for Paint (mspaint.exe)
    mspaint.exe classic app execution alias turn off
  6. Close Settings.

Note: Turning off the app execution alias for mspaint.exe will remove the following items for good so that you can run classic mspaint.exe alongside the modern Paint app:

Junction Point/stub or redirector file:
C:\Users\%username%\AppData\Local\Microsoft\WindowsApps\mspaint.exe

Registry key:
HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\App Paths\mspaint.exe
RELATED: Similarly to run the classic Notepad by typing its file name, you need to turn off the Notepad alias on the above screen. for more information, check out the article How to Restore Old Classic Notepad in Windows 11

Step 3: Register Microsoft Paint Classic with Default Apps

After doing “Step 1” and “Step 2”, you should be able to run classic Paint by running the executable file. But, to select and run “Paint (Classic)” via the Open with dialog or Default Apps, you need to register classic Paint with Default Apps.

  1. Download add_classic_paint_default_apps.zip
  2. Extract the contents of the archive to a folder.
    Register Classic Paint with Default Apps in Windows 11
  3. Double-click “add_classic_paint_default_apps.reg” to apply the settings.
  4. Click Yes when asked for confirmation.

Contents of the Registry File

The above registry file contains the settings needed for Paint (Classic) to appear in Default Apps and the Open with dialog. These registry settings let you run classic Paint as well as the default/modern Paint app simultaneously. There is also an “undo” registry file provided in the archive, in case you want to revert the changes.

Classic Windows 10 Paint in open with dialog Windows 11

You can now open/associate an image file with classic Paint (mspaint.exe) via the Open with dialog.

Classic Windows 10 Paint listed in Default Apps Windows 11

And, as you see, Paint (Classic) is now listed in Default Apps alongside the modern Paint and Paint 3D apps.


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Ramesh Srinivasan is passionate about Microsoft technologies and he has been a consecutive ten-time recipient of the Microsoft Most Valuable Professional award in the Windows Shell/Desktop Experience category, from 2003 to 2012. He loves to troubleshoot and write about Windows. Ramesh founded Winhelponline.com in 2005.

1 thought on “How to Get Windows 10 Classic Paint in Windows 11”

  1. Ramesh, thank you SO much. Just got upgraded and the lack of keyboard shortcuts in the new Paint is driving me crazy. I mostly use it as a landing spot / temporary editor for screenclips, so might not need to do the regedit. You are AWEsome!

    Reply

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