8 ways to start Paint in Windows (all versions)

Paint is one of Microsoft's oldest applications, but it can still be useful if you want to draw simple things on your Windows PC. However, before you can do that, you must first know how to open it. Although it is simple to find and launch, we thought it would be a good idea to compile a list of all the methods available. Here are eight ways to start Paint in all versions of Windows:

NOTE: This guide covers Windows 10, Windows 7, and Windows 8.1. Some methods work in all three versions of Windows, others just in one or two. For each method, we mention the Windows version in which it works. If you do not know the version of Windows that you have, read this tutorial: What version of Windows do I have installed?

1. Use the search (all Windows versions)

On Windows 10's desktop, use the search box found near the Start button on the taskbar and, inside it, write the word paint. Once the search results are shown, click or tap the Paint result, or click/tap on Open on the right side of the popup.

Searching for Paint in Windows 10

In Windows 7, open the Start Menu and type the word paint in its search box. Then, click on Paint result.

Searching for Paint in Windows 7

In Windows 8.1, switch to the Start Screen and start typing the word paint. When the search results are displayed, press Enter on your keyboard or click or tap the Paint result.

Searching for Paint in Windows 8.1

2. Ask Cortana to open Paint (Windows 10 only)

In Windows 10, you can also ask Cortana to open Paint. On the right side of the search box from your taskbar, click or tap on the microphone icon to make Cortana listen to you. Alternatively, you can also say "Hey Cortana," if you enabled this feature in Windows 10.

Then, use your voice to say "Open Paint!". Cortana might ask you which Paint you want to launch: Paint or Paint 3D. Answer Paint and she opens it immediately.

Asking Cortana to launch Paint

3. Use the Paint shortcut from the Start Menu (Windows 10 and Windows 7) or the Start screen (Windows 8.1)

In Windows 10, open the Start Menu and scroll the list with all the apps until you reach the folder called "Windows Accessories." Open it, and you should find a shortcut for Paint inside.

The Paint shortcut form the Windows 10 Start Menu

In Windows 7, open the Start Menu and go to the Accessories folder. There you should find a shortcut for Paint.

The Paint shortcut form the Windows 7 Start Menu

In Windows 8.1, switch to the Start screen and open the Apps View by clicking or tapping on the small arrow from the bottom of the screen. Then, navigate to the Windows Accessories folder, and click or tap on the Paint shortcut.

The Paint shortcut form the Windows 8.1 Start Screen

4. Create a shortcut and pin it on your desktop (all Windows versions)

You can always create a shortcut to Paint and pin it to the desktop. Just make sure to specify mspaint as the target of the shortcut when you create it.

If you do not know how and need help with creating shortcuts, read this guide: How to create shortcuts for apps, files, folders and web pages in Windows.

A shortcut that opens Paint

5. Use Command Prompt or PowerShell (all Windows versions)

If you are working with Command Prompt or PowerShell, you can type mspaint in any of them, and then press Enter. This immediately launches Paint.

The command for starting Paint from Command Prompt or PowerShell

6. Use Task Manager (all Windows versions)

Another way to open Paint is to use the Task Manager. Launch Task Manager: a quick way to do it is to press the Ctrl + Shift + Esc keys on your keyboard. If you are using Windows 10 or Windows 8.1 and the Task Manager opens up in its compact mode, click or tap on "More details." Then, in any Windows version, open the File menu and click or tap on "Run new task.".

The Run new task option from the Task Manager

In the "Create new task" window, type mspaint and press Enter or OK.

The mspaint command for starting Paint

7. Use the Run window (all Windows versions)

The seventh method we know of for opening Paint is to use the Run window. Launch Run (a quick way to do that is to press the Win + R keys on your keyboard) and enter mspaint in it. Then click or tap on OK, or press Enter on your keyboard.

Run: The mspaint command for starting Paint

8. Start Paint using File Explorer (Windows 10 and Windows 8.1) or Windows Explorer (Windows 7)

Another method is to use File Explorer (in Windows 10 and Windows 8.1) or Windows Explorer (in Windows 7). Start it and browse your computer to the drive where Windows is installed. Then, go to "Windows\System32" and look for mspaint.exe. Double-click on this file and Paint is started.

The executable file of Paint, from the Windows folder

Which method do you prefer for starting Paint?

Now you know many ways to start Paint in Windows, regardless of whether you use Windows 10, Windows 7 or Windows 8.1. Try them out and let us know which method is best for you. If you have any questions or if you need help, comment below and let's talk.