Where we’re all headed with Windows RT

Woody Leonhard

Last week, Microsoft released Windows 8 RTM to MSDN and TechNet subscribers and companies with volume licenses and Software Assurance.

So a lot of people are getting a look at the final Windows 8 version. However, we’ve not seen much about its lighter compatriot — Windows RT.

A refresher on what exactly Windows RT is

In short, Windows RT is the version of Windows 8 that doesn’t run Windows programs.

Okay, so I’m being a little snarky — but not very.

As mentioned in my previous Win8 coverage,Windows RT is the version of Windows 8 that runs on lightweight, battery-friendly, ARM processors. It’s based on the Windows 8 Metro interface.

(Yes, I know Microsoft doesn’t use the term “Metro” anymore. But Microsoft has used “Metro” since Windows Phone 7 days, and now it’s firmly stuck in our mental catalog of Win8 terminology. And all the alternative nomenclature proposed to date for the nondesktop half of the new OS seems silly or inaccurate. So until we get a definitive alternative, you’ll forgive me for sticking with Metro.)

In addition to the Metro interface, Windows RT also has a Windows 7–style desktop. Presumably, as in Windows 8, you can access it through a desktop tile. Unlike Windows 8, though, you can’t install your own apps to run on the Windows RT desktop. At this point, the only apps that will run on the RT desktop come from Microsoft — such as the variant of File Explorer (formerly known as Windows Explorer). Whether it will run Internet Explorer 10 is not clear, but the browser is definitely a candidate.

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Woody Leonhard

About Woody Leonhard

Woody Leonhard is a Windows Secrets senior editor and a senior contributing editor at InfoWorld. His latest book, the comprehensive 1,080-page Windows 8 All-In-One For Dummies, delves into all the Win8 nooks and crannies. His many writings tell it like it is — whether Microsoft likes it or not.