What's The Difference Between Windows 8 and Windows RT?

Earlier this morning, while Microsoft Corporation was holding its Windows 8 Launch event in New York, I received a number inquiries from some of our readers (via The TP Mailbox) about the main difference between Windows 8 and Windows RT.

windows 8 vs windows rt, difference between windows 8 and windows rt
Asus Vivo Tab, which you can pre-order for $ 599.99 sans keyboard dock (if you're in the US), runs Windows RT operating system.

Let me try to explain this real quick.

Windows 8 is the full version of Microsoft's operating system for personal computers. It serves as the true follow-up to Windows 7, which most of us are familiar with. As such, it supports almost all software and applications that you can run on older versions of the Windows OS including XP and Vista (The more techie ones call these 'Legacy Software'). The biggest difference between Windows 7 and Windows 8 though is that the latter aims to provide a more touch-centric experience via its touch-optimized Start screen with all those tiles among other new finger-friendly features. So really, it's the more ideal full-featured OS to run on tablets or hybrid devices. Now, if you're having second thoughts about upgrading to Windows 8 because you're intimidated by its colorful new Start screen, know that this version of the OS also has a "Desktop Mode" - with the Taskbar, Icons, Folders, and customizable Wallpaper - that we've known for years. I just hope that you get used to not seeing the Start button on the desktop sooner than later.

Windows RT, on the other hand, is more like the "lite" version of Windows 8 with a similar tile-laden Start screen but it can't really run software made for Windows XP, Vista or Windows 7 (aka x86/x64 programs). RT does have a "Desktop Mode" but it only supports limited applications like the new version of Office and Internet Explorer that Microsoft made specifically for it. You can, however, download and install new applications from Windows Store, which is kind of like Apple's App Store or Google Play Store for Android. Once you've installed them, these apps will be accessible right from the Start screen. Now, because it's not as heavy as the full version, Windows RT is obviously the more ideal version of the OS to run on modestly powered or more specifically, ARM-powered, hybrids and slates; In fact, as of writing, Windows RT will only work on devices with an ARM CPU.

Alright, there you go. That's the simplest way to explain it, I guess. I hope you find this information useful. If you do, kindly fan it out by sharing the post with your friends on Facebook and Twitter.