Difference Between Windows 8 and Windows RT

Windows 8 and Windows RT (Runtime) are nearly similar to each other where the only major difference is that Windows 8 is a standard edition with a full-feature operating system, while Windows RT OS is powered by ARM and is mobile-focused. Their physical outlook is the same but the performance and behavior differs. Since Windows RT focuses on mobile computing, it differs radically from Windows 8.

Feature differences between Windows 8 and Windows RT are:


Windows 8 is compatible only with x86 devices powered either by AMD chips or INTEL. Windows 8 is not capable of running on ARM-powered devices. Recently, Microsoft has announced that the new Surface Pro tablet will be able to run on Windows 8.

Windows RT runs only on devices powered by ARM that use Qualcomm, doTI chip system or NVidia. Further, Windows RT cannot run on INTEL powered or ARM system.

Battery Life

Windows 8 comes with a battery life between 7 and 8 hours.

Windows RT comes with an extended battery life that ranges from 8 to 13 hours. Microsoft has claimed that RT will have battery life throughout the day while Dell has recently announced that its new launch, the XPS 10 RT tablet, will have battery life up to 20 hours.

Software Support

Windows 8 is compatible with the existing Windows applications and run all its software from the Windows store. But, Windows 8 doesn’t have Microsoft office pre-installed in it.

Windows RT runs only on Windows Store applications and is in-built with Microsoft Office 2013 version. This effectively means that users cannot download any applications or software from the internet. Everything that is run on Windows RT must get the approval of Microsoft and should be available on Windows Store.


Windows 8 comes with a full-featured desktop mode and start screen. It has a dual-navigation feature that enables users to easily navigate between the desktop mode and the start screen.

Windows RT comes with a touch-friendly start screen. Users cannot run third-party software on Windows RT desktop. Even leading web browsers such as Google chrome and Firefox do not run on RT.


Windows 8 has a new OS pre-installed in it, which is also available as retail and as upgrade. Users with Windows 7 starter, Home Premium, and Home Basic will be able to upgrade to Windows 8.

Currently, Windows RT is available only on pre-installed devices and upgrading it is impossible.

Business Use

Windows 8 supports tools that are required by businesses and is considered business-friendly.

Unlike Windows 8, Windows RT is not business-friendly.  Since it does not allow third-party software, users are left with no choice but to depend on the in-built applications for all their work.

Windows RT is not a retail product since it can be got only through the purchase of a pre-installed device.

The final verdict is that Windows RT is best suited for mobile computing while Windows 8 is ideal for normal computing.