Windows 8 vs. Windows RT

What's the Difference?

Windows 8 and Windows RT are two different operating systems developed by Microsoft. Windows 8 is a full-fledged operating system designed for both traditional desktops and tablets, while Windows RT is a version specifically built for tablets and devices with ARM processors. Windows 8 offers a wide range of software compatibility, allowing users to run both desktop and modern apps, while Windows RT is limited to running only modern apps from the Windows Store. Additionally, Windows 8 supports legacy software and has more advanced features, such as domain join and group policy management, which are not available in Windows RT. Overall, Windows 8 provides a more versatile and feature-rich experience, while Windows RT offers a more streamlined and simplified experience specifically tailored for tablets.


AttributeWindows 8Windows RT
Operating SystemFull version of WindowsLightweight version of Windows
CompatibilityCompatible with all Windows softwareOnly compatible with apps from the Windows Store
Processor SupportSupports both x86 and x64 processorsSupports only ARM processors
Desktop EnvironmentIncludes a traditional desktop interfaceNo traditional desktop interface, only Start screen
Microsoft OfficeFull version of Microsoft Office availableIncludes Microsoft Office Home & Student RT
PriceTypically higher price pointTypically lower price point
App AvailabilityWide range of apps availableLimited selection of apps
Storage CapacityAvailable in various storage capacitiesTypically limited storage capacity
Enterprise FeaturesIncludes advanced enterprise featuresLimited enterprise features

Further Detail


Windows 8 and Windows RT are two operating systems developed by Microsoft. While they share some similarities, they also have distinct differences that cater to different user needs. In this article, we will compare the attributes of Windows 8 and Windows RT, exploring their features, compatibility, performance, and more.

User Interface

Both Windows 8 and Windows RT feature the modern and touch-centric user interface known as the Metro UI. This interface is characterized by live tiles that display real-time information and can be customized to suit individual preferences. However, Windows 8 offers more flexibility in terms of customization, allowing users to resize and rearrange tiles, while Windows RT has a more limited customization options.

Windows 8 also includes the traditional desktop interface, which is absent in Windows RT. This desktop interface provides a familiar environment for users who prefer the classic Windows experience and allows them to run legacy desktop applications. On the other hand, Windows RT focuses solely on the Metro UI and restricts users from installing traditional desktop applications.


One of the key differences between Windows 8 and Windows RT lies in their compatibility with different software and hardware. Windows 8 is designed to run on both x86 and x64 processors, making it compatible with a wide range of devices, including desktops, laptops, and tablets. This compatibility extends to legacy desktop applications, allowing users to install and run their favorite software.

On the other hand, Windows RT is specifically designed for devices with ARM processors. This limitation means that Windows RT is only compatible with a select number of tablets and devices, such as Microsoft's Surface RT. Additionally, Windows RT does not support traditional desktop applications, limiting users to apps available through the Windows Store.


When it comes to performance, Windows 8 generally offers a more powerful and versatile experience compared to Windows RT. Windows 8 can take full advantage of the hardware capabilities of x86 and x64 processors, allowing for faster processing speeds and better multitasking capabilities. This makes it suitable for power users and those who require intensive applications.

Windows RT, on the other hand, is optimized for ARM processors and has more limited hardware capabilities. While it provides a smooth and responsive experience for everyday tasks, it may struggle with resource-intensive applications. However, Windows RT offers excellent battery life due to its optimized power consumption, making it ideal for users who prioritize mobility and long-lasting battery performance.

Software Availability

Windows 8 has a significant advantage over Windows RT in terms of software availability. As mentioned earlier, Windows 8 supports both modern apps from the Windows Store and traditional desktop applications. This vast software library gives users access to a wide range of productivity tools, creative software, games, and more. Users can also install software from third-party sources, expanding their options even further.

Windows RT, on the other hand, is limited to apps available through the Windows Store. While the store offers a decent selection of apps, it may not have the same breadth and depth as the software available for Windows 8. This limitation can be a drawback for users who rely on specific desktop applications that are not available in the Windows Store.


In conclusion, Windows 8 and Windows RT are two distinct operating systems with their own strengths and limitations. Windows 8 provides a more versatile and powerful experience, with compatibility for a wide range of devices and software. It offers a balance between the modern touch-centric interface and the traditional desktop environment. On the other hand, Windows RT is optimized for ARM processors, providing excellent battery life and a smooth user experience. However, it has limited compatibility and software availability compared to Windows 8.

Ultimately, the choice between Windows 8 and Windows RT depends on individual needs and preferences. If you require a full desktop experience with access to legacy applications, Windows 8 is the way to go. However, if you prioritize mobility, longer battery life, and are content with the apps available through the Windows Store, Windows RT may be a suitable option. It is important to consider your specific requirements and carefully evaluate the features and limitations of each operating system before making a decision.

Comparisons may contain inaccurate information about people, places, or facts. Please report any issues.