What are the differences between Windows 8 and Windows RT?

Now that we know the official release date of Windows 8 is October 26, here is a complete file to understand the differences between Windows 8 and Windows RT. Which one to privilege? What are the differences between the two versions?

We often talk about Windows RT for ARM processor and Windows 8 (+ windows 8 Pro which adds some features for the professional world) for x86 processors, which is true but the differences are more important than that. Here are the main differences explained then a table summarizing the major differences at the end of the article.

Hardware Compatibility

The first difference we talk about most often is hardware compatibility. Windows 8 (and Windows 8 Pro) is compatible with the Intel X86 processor while Windows RT is designed to work with an ARM (Arm tld) processor. These are two different processor architectures.

To put it simply, the ARM processors are the ones found on most tablets currently, while the X86 processors are the ones found on PCs and the next generation of tablets to come.

You can find windows 8 pro product key here.

Metro interface and applications

Metro is the name of the interface on Windows 8 and Windows RT. So no worries, all applications designed for Metro work on both versions. However if you want to use your old applications that you already buy on your old PC (Win32), only Windows 8 can install and run them. Indeed Windows RT is only compatible with Metro applications available on the Windows Store. Windows 8 is compatible with Metro applications and existing classic applications.

In summary, only Windows 8 can run applications that you already have (on an earlier version), Windows RT cannot!

In addition, Microsoft has decided to limit the use of the API under Windows RT for developers, which means that some applications cannot be developed, such as Internet browsers! It is a good way to force users to use Internet Explorer. But remember, Apple had done the same thing at the launch of the App Store before reconsidering its decision. Moreover it does not seem to please the European Commission has just launched an investigation about this.


Both versions of Windows switch to classic desktop mode (the one found on Windows for years). On the other hand under Windows RT, it is used only to browse the files of his tablet since for example we will not be able to install traditional applications.

Other differences

Windows RT is shipped with the Office suite installed, not Windows 8.
Windows RT will not be sold alone and will only be pre-installed on compatible hardware (in this case tablets). You can not buy Windows RT or update its previous version of Windows with the RT version.