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How Windows Rt Differ From Windows 8.1?

By Expert Author: Brooke M. Perry

Released on October 26, 2012, Windows RT, an edition of Windows 8 OS, is specially designed and developed for mobile devices running on 32-bit ARM architecture (ARMv7). The main aim behind the development of this OS was to ensure longer battery life for devices along with offering a reliable working experience, like other popular Windows editions. Enhancing the productivity of this system software, the company has already incorporated a version of Microsoft Office 2013 that is specially optimized for ARM devices. Windows RT supports a large number of existing USB peripherals and accessories, which other popular mobile operating system (OS) lacks. Even after offering so many features and advancements, the OS doesn’t become popular amongst users and the company was forced to introduce Windows 8.1, an update to Windows 8.


In this article, you will read about the basic differences that Windows RT apps and Windows 8.1 apps have.

How Windows RT is different from Windows 8.1?


Windows RT comes pre-installed with the mobile devices and offers a seamless working experience to users possessing tablets, notebooks, slates, laptops, mobile phones, and other mobile devices. Once you own a PC or tablet with Windows RT pre-installed on it, then you can install the free updates from the Windows Store to keep your OS protected and secured. Windows RT functions similar to Windows 8.1, but the operating systems (OS) hold huge differences when compared on software and hardware compatibility fronts. Arriving with power of Office and metro-styled applications, the Windows RT OS was specially designed to deliver closed turnkey user experience and doesn’t possess all flexibility of Windows. Here are some of the common differences:

1. Incorporated software

The Windows Media Player found missing in this mobile device OS however, the company has provided pre-loaded Xbox Music and Xbox Video apps for enhancing your entertainment experience. Well-equipped with MS Office 2013 Home & Student RT version with improvements in order to serve as a productivity suite for ARM-based systems. The Office suite is based on the Home & Student version, hence, cannot be used for commercial, nonprofit, or revenue-generating activities. The OS comes pre-installed with BitLocker-based device encryption system to encrypt all the data once a user sign-in with a Microsoft account.

2. Software compatibility

Supporting the architecture of ARM-based devices, the system software comes with several software compatibility limitations by offering the traditional Windows desktop environment in comparison to touch-enabled OS. The desktop applications can only include File Explorer, Internet Explorer (IE), and Office RT, which comes pre-installed with the operating system itself. A Windows RT device can only support Windows Runtime apps that are either downloaded from Windows Store or side loaded in enterprise environments. Windows RT also does not support new-experience enabled web browsers hence, you will need to only rely on Internet Explorer.

3. Hardware compatibility

At Windows 8's launch event in New York City, the company quoted that Windows RT would support 420 million existing hardware devices and peripherals. But, the operating system (OS) might not be available on all the devices and may not support some devices at all. Users can scan Compatibility Center portal by Microsoft to search for Windows RT compatibility information with various devices available in the market.

4. Networking and device management

Windows RT users can join a Homegroup to access network shares on other devices however, the tool doesn’t allow them to share files directly from the devices. The OS does not support connecting to network logins or Group Policy for device management. Windows RT comes with pre-installed Exchange ActiveSync and System Center Configuration Manager for offering some control over devices in enterprise environments and capability to apply security.

5. Support lifecycle

Microsoft hasn’t announced any support date for Windows RT, however, the traditional trend portrays that as per the standard policies the company offers around 5 years of mainstream support for its Windows releases. Users possessing Surface tablets are assured that they will receive mainstream support until April 11, 2017.

What is the different between the apps bucket?

Windows RT contains many of the same features like Windows 8.1 does, but since the OS is designed for thin and light PCs it holds a special array of apps that are only available in RT version. Some of the features that are exclusively available with Windows RT edition are:

Windows RT users cannot turn off Windows Update and Windows Defender as these are always turned on and up-to-date, thus, ensuring the optimal security of your PC.

The OS uses BitLocker technology for offering enhanced data protection and keeping your information secure.

Windows RT powered PCs use InstantGo feature for instant boot up and keeping tiles and other online services updated.

The OS comes pre-installed with Office 2013 RT that provides a touch-optimized desktop version of Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneNote, and Outlook.

Some of features that aren't included in Windows RT are:

Windows Media Player
Windows Media Center
HomeGroup creation isn’t enabled
No Remote Desktop support for getting connected to other Windows PCs


With Windows RT you can enjoy a faster yet productive experience on your mobile devices however, purchasing a Windows 8.1 powered device will bring in more features and performance enhancements. Windows RT allows you to install apps directly from the Windows Store, but installing desktop apps that like those in previous versions of Windows isn’t possible. Offering you support for apps related to printers, mice, keyboards, and other devices, the Windows RT devices have the capability to be an efficient virtual desktop infrastructure client.


About the Author: Hi! I am Brook M. Perry, a prolific blog writer and writer and keen author of articles related to pc security supportand solution for issues related to computers and mobile devices. Being associated with the reputed computer virus removal service provider Qresolve, I have resolved thousands of tech issues for our customers from worldwide. online pc support .My areas of interest are virus removal, PC security, endpoint security system, router support etc. You can follow me for my useful computer support articles on Ezine and other article-oriented websites.

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