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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!

Restore 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.
  3. Open the “C:\Program Files” folder.
  4. Right-click an empty area in the Program Files folder and choose Paste.

You now have the following folders and files:

"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"
"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]
└───Microsoft Paint
    │   │   mspaint.exe
    │   │
    │   └───en-US
    │           mspaint.exe.mui

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]
717e1378945bd09c89b1b1503c01ced9b09670192bd4b8f2c04e28d0326db6af [File info]

dd80231be27a8a9ef1b1d1d6606deab813c0879a53595b151b8508d786837dc1 [File info]

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:

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)
  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:

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
  2. Extract the contents of the archive to a folder.
  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.

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

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

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