The Windows standard Notepad is certainly not the best text editor around. It doesn’t play well with large files, open files from other platforms properly, let you customize background and text color… not to mention the absence of an advanced search and replace tool or the inability to work with several documents open at the same time.
For these reasons many people simply abandon it and start using other editors, which usually include all those advanced tools and features that Notepad lacks. Here are some of them:
- Notepad++ – powerful editor with support for zoom, bookmarks and drag-and-drop
- Notepad2 – advanced text editor with syntax highlighting for coding languages
- TED Notepad – light-weight editor with very powerful tools
- EditPad – an editor with no size limits and an auto-save feature
- MiniPad2 – great editor with tabbed interface and advanced clipboard functionality
You can use any of those instead of Notepad. But if you prefer a more radical change, you may replace the standard Windows tool completely with your new favorite editor and forget about Notepad forever. Want to know how? Just following these simple steps:
1. First, make a backup copy of the original Notepad executable file. It should be located in the C:\Windows folder. Copy it to another location or a removable drive. It’s important that you copy it and not move it, as we’ll need to rewrite it later on.
2. Now make a copy of your favorite editor’s original executable file (say it’s editpad.exe) and rename it to notepad.exe.
3. For this step you need to make system files and folders visible. Go to Tools > Folder Options on any Windows Explorer window and in the options menu that appears, enable “Show hidden files and folders” and disable “Hide protected operating system files”. Once you’ve done that, copy your renamed editor file, browse to the C:\Windows\System32\dllcache folder and paste it there.
4. Copy this same file again and go back to the C:\Windows folder. Paste the file there as well. Windows will ask for confirmation every single time, simply click on OK. Also, when you get a message asking you to insert your Windows CD (so that the system can replace the original Notepad), just click on Cancel. Windows may insist a bit but it’ll eventually stop complaining.
5. Congratulations! You’ve got a brand new text editor.