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They may look and feel the same, they may even come in devices that look the same, but you will take one home to your kids and the other to your co-workers.

All because of what lies under the hood.

Just as the suave Land Rover Discovery comes in both petrol and diesel engines, similarly Windows 8 and Windows RT differ in their silicon engines. While the former is built for Intel-compatible processors found in servers and PCs, Windows RT is built for ARM-based processors found in smartphones and tablets.

Because of this difference, you will find Windows RT inhabiting tablets only, while Windows 8 will mainly be on laptops and deskstops.

For starters, Windows RT will not run any of your existing or even new Windows Intel processor based applications. That’s because it’s a new system combination – Windows + ARM-processor. Furthermore, Windows RT only permits installations of new applications through Microsoft’s Windows Store, and they must sport the new tile interface. In other words, with Windows RT you might miss out on your favourite games, music players, ebook readers and social media apps until the authors manage to rebuild these apps specifically for RT.

To balance the app deficit, Windows RT ships with Microsoft Office Home & Student (Word, Excel, PowerPoint and One Note).

In comparison, Windows 8 continues to offer backward compatibility to traditional desktop interface apps, as well as software downloaded from anywhere on the web.

Keeping with its “for personal use only” theme, Windows RT is stripped of features such as virtual storage, built-in disk encryption, and centralized management – features that are present in Windows 8.

When it comes to power consumption, the smaller ARM-based processors use a lot less compared to the Intel-compatible processors. So Windows RT tablets will outlast Windows 8 laptops when it comes to uptime. The battery life is a lot better.

That was a quick explanation of the differences. If you want to check out the more technical aspect of the differences, just head over to Microsoft’s website. Let us know if you have any questions or comments below!

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