How to Restore Old Classic Notepad in Windows 11

Windows 11 comes with the modern Notepad app that automatically replaces the old/classic Notepad program. The new Notepad UWP app supports color emojis, dark mode, RichEdit editing enhancements, Ctrl+} for toggling between matching brackets/parentheses, multilevel undo, drag & drop, and automatic URL detection.

new notepad icon

However, many users prefer classic/win32 apps instead of modern Store apps. The classic Notepad is exceptionally lightweight and has always been my favorite.

This article tells you how to get back the old Notepad after installing or uninstalling the modern Store app in Windows 10/11.

How to Restore the Old/Classic Notepad in Windows 11

Follow one of these methods to restore the classic Notepad program in Windows 11/10:

(You should be able to run the modern Notepad and traditional Notepad programs simultaneously/side by side after following the methods below.)

Method 1: Disable the Notepad App execution alias

The modern Notepad overrides the old Notepad via the “App Paths” registry key so that the new Notepad launches when launching Notepad.exe. By disabling this alias via the Settings app, you should be able to run the classic Notepad.

  1. Open Settings → Apps.
  2. Expand “More settings” and click “App execution aliases.”
  3. Disable the “Notepad” alias by turning off the radio button.
    notepad app paths alias

That’s it! When you double-click on a text file or run Notepad.exe manually, the classic Notepad will now open.

You can still launch the new/modern Notepad via the Start menu or Taskbar shortcut or by launching the executable file directly.

Example:
C:\Program Files\WindowsApps\Microsoft.WindowsNotepad_11.2203.10.0_x64__8wekyb3d8bbwe\Notepad\Notepad.exe

Install the classic Notepad program via Optional features

The classic Notepad is located in the following locations:

  • c:\windows\notepad.exe
  • c:\windows\system32\notepad.exe

If the above files are missing, then you need to install Notepad via optional features.

  1. Open Settings → System → Optional features → View features
  2. Type notepad.
  3. Select Notepad (system) from the list, and click Next.
    install notepad optional features in windows 11
  4. Click Install.

Using the DISM command-line to install Notepad

Alternatively, run the following DISM command to install the classic Notepad application in Windows 11:

dism /Online /add-Capability /CapabilityName:Microsoft.Windows.Notepad.System~~~~0.0.1.0

install notepad using dism in windows 11

RELATED: For Windows 10 instructions, see the article Install Notepad via Optional features or using the DISM command-line

Note: However, this method doesn’t restore the classic Notepad in the Open with dialog. Also, it can’t fix the “Cannot associate file type with this program” error discussed in the next paragraph.


Disabling the Notepad alias (as above) or uninstalling the modern Notepad app via Settings → Apps & Features would enable you to launch the classic Notepad successfully. However, the classic Notepad would still be missing in the Open with dialog and Open with menu due to specific registry settings. Attempting to browse and select notepad.exe in the Open with dialog would cause the following error:
notepad missing open with in windows 11

Cannot associate file type with this program

The program you have selected cannot be associated with this file type. Please choose another program.

You’ll need to follow “Method 2” ↓ to fix this issue.




Method 2: Restore Classic Notepad via the registry

This method restores the classic Notepad and also makes it available in the Open with dialog/menu.

(Note: Additionally, this method should enable you to replace Notepad with Notepad++ or any other editor if required.)

  1. Copy the following lines to Notepad.
    Windows Registry Editor Version 5.00
    
    ;Restore Old Classic Notepad on Windows 11
    ;Created by Ramesh Srinivasan for Winhelponline.com
    ;Created on May 6, 2022; Revised on May 12, 2022.
    
    [HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\Applications\notepad.exe]
    "NoOpenWith"=-
    
    [-HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\App Paths\notepad.exe]
    
    [HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\txtfilelegacy\DefaultIcon]
    @="imageres.dll,-102"
    
    [HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\txtfilelegacy\shell\open\command]
    @="C:\\Windows\\System32\\notepad.exe \"%1\""
    
    [HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\Image File Execution Options\notepad.exe]
    "UseFilter"=dword:00000000
  2. Save the file with a .reg extension — e.g., restore_classic_notepad.reg
  3. Close Notepad.
  4. Double-click restore_classic_notepad.reg to apply the settings to the registry.

You’ve now restored the functionality of the old classic Notepad program!

Download: If you wish to download the registry file (instead of making one of your own), download restore-classic-notepad.zip, unzip and run the appropriate registry file. It also has the undo.reg file which reverses the above registry settings to Windows default.

Here you go! The Open with dialog will now list both versions of Notepad, easily distinguishable from the respective icons.

old Notepad missing in open with dialog
Old Notepad listed in Open with dialog.

Here’s the comparison of the old and new Notepad UI. The old Notepad shows a notification bar that says, “A new version of Notepad is available”. However, once you close the banner, it shouldn’t prompt you the next time onwards.

new and old classic notepad

After restoring the old Notepad, you may run it alongside the modern Notepad app. Or you may uninstall the modern Notepad app if you don’t plan to use it.

Editor’s note

The registry method in this article has been tested on Windows 11 Version 21H2 OS Build 22000.613. In the future, if Microsoft eradicates the old Notepad binaries, we should be resorting to other methods (copying  Notepad.exe and Notepad.exe.mui from earlier builds of Windows 10/11) to restore the classic Notepad.

Drawbacks of the modern Notepad app: The modern Notepad app in Windows 11 hides classic Notepad’s entry points (e.g., Open with menu/dialog and Default Apps) so that users can’t launch the classic version. Attempting to run c:\windows\notepad.exe would redirect you to the Notepad store app instead. This redirection is due to the “AppExecutionAliasRedirect” registry setting. Also, replacing Notepad with Notepad++ using the IFEO “debugger” registry value would stop working (by default) if modern Notepad is installed on the computer.


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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.

22 thoughts on “How to Restore Old Classic Notepad in Windows 11”

  1. I don’t get the old notepad icon. I couldn’t get the old notepad to work. So keeping your changes, I next uninstalled the new version. Then I could search for notepad.exe and run the new version. Any way to get the old icon and associate with the old notepad.

    Reply
    • @Joseph: Interesting! Per my observation, setting the UseFilter registry value to 0 lets you run both versions simultaneously. Have you checked if the registry changes are applied successfully?

  2. Thank you!

    My stress has gone!

    I’m often replace some text by notepad, but modern app’s UI removed shortcut and some bug (string character replacing not correct)

    Reply
  3. Just had an update that completely ruined Notepad for me.. something I use every day. I do not see if I need to save my text file anymore, because there’s no indicator that there had been any changes. Ugh. So I tried to run notepad.exe from the two paths (before I change anything registry wise) and it just starts the latest notepad. Am I forgetting something here? (besides the steps laid out of course.. but I would think that simply starting notepad.exe in c:\windows or system32 should show me the classic version?)

    Reply
  4. thank you so so much! i begrudgingly used the inferior new notepad until today when it stopped showing filenames, wrecking my workflows and becoming untenable. i was at my wit’s end and you’ve saved me a HUGE amount of time rebuilding everything!

    Reply
  5. Thanks. They just added tabs and suddenly every notepad window doesn’t have the file name open but NOTEPAD on my task bar (which I already have had to modify to be a windows 10 one). I had to use the registery fix to get old notepad as default, but it’s working. Thanks!

    Reply
  6. Here for the same reason as everyone else, with the new notepad not showing filenames. Now I get to choose between breaking my workflows, using classic notepad without dark mode, or developing my own text editor (I don’t need any of the fancy stuff in e.g. Notepad++).

    Leave it to Microsoft to break something which worked fine for 30+ years and pointlessly screw with users’ lives.

    Reply
  7. Hello. Hope this finds you well. I just did the second method and it works fine. However, when I uninstall the modern Notepad app (I want to get rid of it) I see I can no longer create a new text document using the “Text Document” menu item in my desktop context menu in the new submenu. So uninstalling the modern Notepad app removes that. Creating the required keys in HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\.txt and restarting File Explorer does not restore it.
    If one could find out how to win this Notepad battle with Microsoft:)

    Reply
  8. Thank you so much, the registry solution was perfect for me. In the new notepad there is a slight lag when scrolling with the scroll wheel and it got to the point where it was starting to annoy me that such a lightweight program had any lag at all! Classic is SO much better. Classic for quick editing and Notepad++ for anything else. Thanks again!

    Reply
  9. Those scripts are fantastic. However, it seems that Microsoft are not content with destroying Notepad for Windoze11, they’ve also done the same thing to Paint. Now you can’t open the Home directory to rotate images or flip horizontal and vertical. Is there any chance you can do the same for Paint as you did for Notepad?

    Reply
  10. Method 2 worked but it didn’t restore what I was really looking for, the reason why I wanted to go back to classic Notepad. I want the copy and paste command without having to click more options. We do this about 200 times a day and the clicks add up. It is mind boggling that compress to zip, copy path and several other infrequently used actions are in the main menu and copy and paste are under “show more options”.

    Reply
  11. Thanks a million!

    I put off upgrading to Win11 until last week because I knew I was in for constant frustration. But little did I imagine they would mess with Notepad! Good grief. This now makes about 30 man-hours of my life I will never get back – time wasted undoing all the c**p that MS baked into Windows 11.

    Reply

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