Not even poor Notepad is safe from Microsoft's AI obsession

Power user excavates evidence of experimental 'Cowriter' feature

Windows Notepad is set to be the next recipient of Microsoft's AI attentions judging by screenshots posted by a Windows Insider user.

The feature is not immediately accessible in any current Windows Insider build, however, enterprising users have ways and means to delve into the operating system and haul out experiments that are not yet ready to see the light of day.

X user @PhantomOfEarth uncovered the changes, which appear to be a work in progress at this time. A pop-up menu titled "Cowriter" is visible, with options to tweak the format and content of the text.

How these options would fit into the original design of Notepad is debatable since they would seem more at home in something like WordPad, but Microsoft is already in the process of excising that application from Windows, so Notepad it is.

Microsoft has been hard at work ruining updating Notepad in recent years. After decades of being left alone, the text editor has had multiple tweaks by Microsoft engineers.

During the Windows 10 era, the editor was added to the Microsoft Store. Its GUI was updated with the introduction of Dark Mode, and tab support turned up in 2023.

Adding AI smarts to the editor seems excessive. Microsoft also appears to be adopting the Paint Cocreator model for the implementation, where users are given a certain number of credits when signing up – a Microsoft account is needed – and a waitlist will be used for the feature.

@PhantomOfEarth commented: "I feel like this is a bit much. Something else could have been added to Notepad instead of AI but hey gotta ride the hype train."

We'd argue that Notepad has already had more than enough added, particularly considering its roots as a simple text editor.

We asked Microsoft about its plans for AI in Notepad and will update should they respond. There is every chance this is a sign of things to come as the company adds AI functionality everywhere it can on Windows.

AI in Notepad, as shown in the screenshots, does not seem to make much sense – we're sure the wise Register readership could think of something more appropriate for the editor. ®

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