With its introduction of the Desktop App Converter tool last March, Microsoft let developers convert their Win32 and .Net apps to modern desktop apps. And just yesterday, the software giant launched Project Centennial, bringing a series of classic programs to the Windows store through the tool.
As of Friday, WordPad, Windows Fax and Scan, XPS Viewer, and the Microsoft Character Map became available in the Windows Store. While they’re now available for download, only Windows Insiders running the latest version of Windows 10 — as well as the latest version of the Windows Store — will be able to download the apps.
You won’t find any new features in the apps, which run just like their Win32 counterparts. Expect to see other classic Windows apps come to the Store in the near future, but availability to the public won’t come until the Anniversary Update is available in July.
If you’re looking for a refresher on the apps’ features, WordPad is a basic word-processing program, with simple formatting options including italic, bold and underline. Character Map will let you view all available characters in the font you’re using, which is particularly useful if you’re looking for special characters in other languages. Windows Fax and Scan does pretty much what it says, letting you scan documents or photos, and send the fax through your computer. XPS Viewer provides advanced options for viewing XPS documents, including search, permissions, digital signatures and more.
The newly added series of apps were initially discovered by noted Microsoft followed WalkingCat (@h0x0d) in May, before they were actually available for download to Insiders through the Store.
— WalkingCat (@h0x0d) May 2, 2016
While these and most Win32 apps have far superior (and free) alternatives, users could see some value if the apps became available to Windows 10 phones, especially if they came with added accessibility controls for touchscreen devices. And while alternative apps of course exist on mobile, WordPad, Fax and Scan, XPS Viewer, and Character Map could provide a more lightweight option for users with mid- to low-range Windows devices.