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Coming off of our previous coverage, you may have heard about Windows 8 and Windows RT as being different. While Microsoft has made a point of cutting down on the number of Windows 8 versions available when compared with previous Windows releases, the company is also making a limited Windows 8 version to run on ARM processors called Windows RT.
What does “RT” stand for?As with Windows NT, Microsoft has yet to clarify what “RT” actually means. Why on Earth Microsoft decided to name the ARM-powered version of Windows so ridiculously similar to the abbreviation for Windows Runtime, WinRT, is beyond the abilities of mere mortals to decipher.
Wait, what? Windows RT and WinRT aren’t the same thing?The short answer is, “Nope.”
The long answer is, well, longer. Windows Runtime, also referred to as WinRT, runs on both standard Windows 8 and Windows RT. Runtime is the technical term for the engine that powers the new Metro apps. It’s not the first Windows Runtime. “Runtime” refers to the collection of application programming interfaces (APIs) that allow developers to write software that can interact with the hardware and each other.
Windows RT is simply a name that Microsoft has given to Windows 8 on ARM. You wouldn’t be entirely off base to think of it as “Windows Lite,” given its restrictions and differences from standard Windows 8, which runs both Metro and Desktop modes.