Why does my Windows 11 system have two copies of notepad.exe (the "old" notepad)?


classic35mm

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Windows 11 23H2 22631.3527
I'm running Windows 11 Enterprise, 23H2, 22631.3527 (64-bit). When I execute where.exe notepad.exe in Windows PowerShell, it returns locations of two notepad.exe files:

Powershell:
C:\Windows\System32\notepad.exe
C:\Windows\notepad.exe

These are both the "old" notepad, I think.
  1. What is the difference between these two executables?
  2. Which of these executables should I link to in a shortcut to the "old" notepad? Maybe I should use C:\Windows\notepad.exe because my system is 64-bit, not 32-bit?
powershellnotepad.png
 
Windows Build/Version
23H2, 22631.3527

My Computer

System One

  • OS
    Windows 11 23H2 22631.3527
    Computer type
    PC/Desktop
    Manufacturer/Model
    Lenovo ThinkStation P3
You have somehow copied notepad.exe to c:\windows directory.

The one to use is in system32 folder. Ignore the other one.
 

My Computer

System One

  • OS
    Windows 10 Pro + others in VHDs
    Computer type
    Laptop
    Manufacturer/Model
    ASUS Vivobook 14
    CPU
    I7
    Motherboard
    Yep, Laptop has one.
    Memory
    16 GB
    Graphics Card(s)
    Integrated Intel Iris XE
    Sound Card
    Realtek built in
    Monitor(s) Displays
    N/A
    Screen Resolution
    1920x1080
    Hard Drives
    1 TB Optane NVME SSD, 1 TB NVME SSD
    PSU
    Yep, got one
    Case
    Yep, got one
    Cooling
    Stella Artois
    Keyboard
    Built in
    Mouse
    Bluetooth , wired
    Internet Speed
    72 Mb/s :-(
    Browser
    Edge mostly
    Antivirus
    Defender
    Other Info
    TPM 2.0

My Computer

System One

  • OS
    Windows 11 23H2 22631.3527
    Computer type
    PC/Desktop
    Manufacturer/Model
    Lenovo ThinkStation P3
They're the same file, one is a hard-linked copy installed by Windows.

Run this command as Admin:
fsutil hardlink list C:\Windows\System32\notepad.exe
 

My Computer

System One

  • OS
    Windows 7
Run this command as Admin:
fsutil hardlink list C:\Windows\System32\notepad.exe

Should I run that command in PowerShell or CommandPrompt (cmd)?
 

My Computer

System One

  • OS
    Windows 11 23H2 22631.3527
    Computer type
    PC/Desktop
    Manufacturer/Model
    Lenovo ThinkStation P3

My Computers

System One System Two

  • OS
    Windows 11 Home
    Computer type
    Laptop
    Manufacturer/Model
    Acer Aspire 3 A315-23
    CPU
    AMD Athlon Silver 3050U
    Memory
    8GB
    Graphics Card(s)
    Radeon Graphics
    Monitor(s) Displays
    laptop screen
    Screen Resolution
    1366x768 native resolution, up to 2560x1440 with Radeon Virtual Super Resolution
    Hard Drives
    1TB Samsung EVO 870 SSD
    Internet Speed
    50 Mbps
    Browser
    Edge, Firefox
    Antivirus
    Defender
    Other Info
    fully 'Windows 11 ready' laptop. Windows 10 C: partition migrated from my old unsupported 'main machine' then upgraded to 11. A test migration ran Insider builds for 2 months. When 11 was released on 5th October it was re-imaged back to 10 and was offered the upgrade in Windows Update on 20th October. Windows Update offered the 22H2 Feature Update on 20th September 2022. It got the 23H2 Feature Update on 4th November 2023 through Windows Update.

    My SYSTEM THREE is a Dell Latitude 5410, i7-10610U, 32GB RAM, 512GB NVMe ssd, supported device running Windows 11 Pro (and all my Hyper-V VMs).

    My SYSTEM FOUR is a 2-in-1 convertible Lenovo Yoga 11e 20DA, Celeron N2930, 8GB RAM, 256GB ssd. Unsupported device: currently running Win10 Pro, plus Win11 Pro RTM and Insider Dev, Beta, and RP 24H2 as native boot vhdx.

    My SYSTEM FIVE is a Dell Latitude 3190 2-in-1, Pentium Silver N5030, 4GB RAM, 512GB NVMe ssd, supported device running Windows 11 Pro, plus the Insider Beta, Dev, Canary, and Release Preview builds as a native boot .vhdx.
  • Operating System
    Windows 11 Pro
    Computer type
    Laptop
    Manufacturer/Model
    Dell Lattitude E4310
    CPU
    Intel® Core™ i5-520M
    Motherboard
    0T6M8G
    Memory
    8GB
    Graphics card(s)
    (integrated graphics) Intel HD Graphics
    Screen Resolution
    1366x768
    Hard Drives
    500GB Crucial MX500 SSD
    Browser
    Firefox, Edge
    Antivirus
    Defender
    Other Info
    unsupported machine: Legacy bios, MBR, TPM 1.2, upgraded from W10 to W11 using W10/W11 hybrid install media workaround. In-place upgrade to 22H2 using ISO and a workaround. Feature Update to 23H2 by manually installing the Enablement Package. Also running Insider Beta, Dev, and Canary builds as a native boot .vhdx.

    My SYSTEM THREE is a Dell Latitude 5410, i7-10610U, 32GB RAM, 512GB NVMe ssd, supported device running Windows 11 Pro (and all my Hyper-V VMs).

    My SYSTEM FOUR is a 2-in-1 convertible Lenovo Yoga 11e 20DA, Celeron N2930, 8GB RAM, 256GB ssd. Unsupported device: currently running Win10 Pro, plus Win11 Pro RTM and Insider Dev, Beta, and RP 24H2 as native boot vhdx.

    My SYSTEM FIVE is a Dell Latitude 3190 2-in-1, Pentium Silver N5030, 4GB RAM, 512GB NVMe ssd, supported device running Windows 11 Pro, plus the Insider Beta, Dev, Canary, and Release Preview builds as a native boot .vhdx.
The way Windows is installed, the original files are kept under C:\Windows\WinSxS folder. Then hardlinked copies are provided in the different destination folders, like \Windows\System32. MS does this for various technical reasons.

If you're writing a script, it's acceptable to take the first location returned by where. What where is doing is searching your execution PATH folders in order.
 

My Computer

System One

  • OS
    Windows 7

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