Windows RT vs Windows 8 Key Differences

Windows 8, the much awaited operating system from Microsoft is now here, and it is available in three distinct versions: Windows 8 standard, Win 8 Pro (with added features) and Win 8 RT or Runtime. SO is RT or Win 8 the better and more efficient OS version? Let’s see how they stand head to head.

Compare Windows 8 and Windows RT Version

Upgrades and boxed versions

Windows 8 will be available either pre-installed on new computers, as separate retail boxes and as upgrades too but RT will only be available pre-installed.


Windows RT cannot be bought so you can’t really arrive at a price for it though it is assumed that the price is likely to be much lesser than that of Win 8. Tablets based on Windows RT cost much lesser than those based on Win 8 or Android and Apple. Also users of RT will not have to expressly purchase MS Office.


There is simply no way you can upgrade to Windows RT as it is a totally new OS version for a platform that was not supported till now.

As for Windows, if you have Win 7 Home Basic or Premium now, you can upgrade to version 8. If your computer runs on Windows 7 Ultimate or Pro then you will probably have to perform an installation from scratch.  If you’re looking to upgrade to Win 8 Pro then you can upgrade from whatever version of Win 7 you are currently on. Just remember that upgrade happens from 32 bit to 32 bit versions, and the same for 64 bits.

Hardware support

Here lies the biggest difference between the two versions of the OS. RT runs only on devices powered by ARM chips, and Win 8 runs on x 86 machines. You will not be able to run Win RT on PCs powered by Intel or AMD chips and vice versa.

Battery Life

According to sources devices powered by Win RT have more battery life than those running Win 8: between 8 and 13 hours, which is pretty good when compared to Win 8 devices whose batteries tend to die in 8 hours.


The versions of Windows in question run the new Metro UI, but in Windows 8 you have the option of reverting to the traditional Desktop for certain applications. This is not possible with Win RT. It makes use of the traditional desktop interface for certain Microsoft apps but will not do that for third party apps.

Software and compatibility

While Win RT has MS Office preloaded, that is not the case with Win 8. Then again, Win 8 is compatible with the current Windows programs, but Win RT is not.Apps ion Win RT need to use the Microsoft Metro UI; Win 8 can work equally efficiently with Metro and the original desktop interface. In Windows RT there is a restriction on the kind of APIs that can be used by developers; particularly for web browsers. Industry experts reckon that only IE will be able to offer many of the complex computing functions that are so important to the browsers of today in relation to speed, constancy, and safety to which Netizens are now used to.

Just as you might expect, everything that you get in Win 8 is not available in Win RT.  Examples: missing Win Media Player, Bitlocker Encryption, Group Policy Management, domain support, Storage Spaces; even the remote desktop feature functions only in the client mode.

That having been said, the differences are actually not all that huge. Both Win RT and Win 8 receive multi language support, Internet Explorer version 10, Xbox Live, and other features like Exchange ActiveSync, Windows Defender, Windows’ Play to streaming, and VPN.

This is a guest post by Nathan Brown of, a site that offers savings and current information on at&t Uverse as well as services.

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One Response to “Windows RT vs Windows 8 Key Differences”

  1. William

    Jan 15. 2014

    Informative post, Thx. I used to search for the differences in Windows versions

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