How to permanently replace Notepad with a serious text editor on Windows 95, 98 or NT4

Before You Begin

In this step by step guide, I will show you how to permanently replace Notepad on Windows 95 and 98 with the text editor of your choice. I am using EditPad Pro in the example but the procedure works with any decent Notepad replacement. I am showing how to do it with EditPad Pro simply because it is the editor I use all the time. This web site was created entirely in EditPad Pro, except for the graphics.

I have tried to keep these instructions as simple as possible, so that anybody can follow them. You can keep your web browser open while following these instructions. Just make sure that Notepad is not running.

Note that it is important to follow these instructions exactly. If I say that you need to overwrite Notepad, then you should do so. Otherwise, I cannot guarantee that these instructions will have the proper effect.

The screen shots were taken on a Windows 98 SE computer, but the steps are exactly the same on Windows 95 and the original Windows 98.

Windows NT 4

The steps below were written for Windows 95 and 98. You can follow the same steps on Windows NT 4, except that you will need to use the C:\WINNT folder instead of the C:\Windows folder. Also, you will need to be logged in as Administrator to be able to replace Notepad.exe.

Making a backup of Notepad.exe

If you would ever like to restore plain old Notepad.exe, you will need to make a backup copy first. Without the backup copy, you will have no easy way of restoring the original Notepad.

To make the backup copy, insert a floppy disk into your computer. The floppy disk should have at least 100 KB of free space on it.

Find Notepad.exe in the C:\Windows folder using Windows Explorer. Right-click on it, and select copy from the context menu (screen shot).

Then right-click on the floppy disk drive in Windows Explorer, and select Paste from the context menu (screen shot). Windows will now place a copy of Notepad.exe onto the floppy disk.

Important: It is important that you copy Notepad, and do not move it. Leave the original Notepad in place, so we can overwrite it later.

Part 1: Make a copy of EditPad Pro
and rename it to Notepad.exe

Step 1: Find EditPadPro.exe (screen shot)
By default, it is installed into C:\Program Files\JGsoft\EditPadPro\EditPadPro.exe. If the option to hide extensions of known file types is activated on your computer (it is by default), then the file will appear as "EditPadPro" instead of "EditPadPro.exe".

Step 2: Copy EditPadPro.exe (screen shot)
Right-click on EditPadPro.exe and pick Copy from the context menu.

Step 3: Paste EditPadPro.exe (screen shot)
Right-click on the empty space in the right pane in Windows Explorer, and pick Paste from the context menu. You will then see a new file appear with the name "Copy of EditPadPro.exe".

Step 4: Rename Copy of EditPadPro.exe (screen shot)
Right-click on the new file "Copy of EditPadPro.exe" and pick Rename from the context menu.

Step 5: Type Notepad.exe as the new name (screen shot)
Type in Notepad.exe on the keyboard and press the Enter key to rename "Copy of EditPadPro.exe" into "Notepad.exe".

Part 2: Move the new Notepad.exe
into the Windows folder.

Step 6: Cut the new Notepad.exe (screen shot)
Right-click on the copy of EditPadPro.exe that we have renamed to Notepad.exe, and pick Cut from the context menu. After you do that, the Notepad.exe icon will look ghostly compared to the other icons.

Step 7: Paste the new Notepad.exe into the Windows folder (screen shot)
Use the folders pane in Windows Explorer to navigate to the C:\Windows folder. Then right-click on the C:\Windows folder in the folders pane. In the context menu, select Paste.

Step 8: Confirm the replacement (screen shot)
Windows will ask you if you are sure that you want to replace the old Notepad.exe with the new Notepad.exe. Click Yes.

That's all, folks!

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Last Modified: 07 May 2002
Copyright © 2002 Jan Goyvaerts. All rights reserved.