The Limitations Of Windows RT: What You Can And Can’t Do On The Desktop

The Windows RT tablet came out recently, and it’s been the subject of discussion across the tech stratosphere. One question I get asked a lot is, “What can you do on its desktop?” People have been told that the Windows RT tablet operates on a different level than a desktop computer does since the tablet uses an ARM-type processor that helps it prolong battery life and maintain light-weight hardware. Before buying the Microsoft Surface RT tablet, I’d guess that you’d like to know what you can actually do with it. So, without further ado, we’ll get to what you can really do on its desktop.

Short answer: You’ll be restricted to only using ARM apps that cater to the RT desktop.

A more explanatory answer: You’ll be able to run a couple of programs on your desktop, but don’t expect to run anything useful for the moment. At this moment, you can run different sorts of applications depending on their compatibility with the desktop. Later on, more developers will develop ARM versions of their own desktop applications. But, for now, you’re just stuck with a few options:

1. Apps Included In The Tablet

The tablet already contains a couple of desktop applications that you can use. It has Internet Explorer, MS Paint, Notepad, the control panel, the “Documents” folder along with the libraries, and a whole bunch of other stuff you would end up with if you performed a clean install of Windows 7 on your PC and installed nothing over that. Oh, and the RT version of the desktop doesn’t have Windows Media Player. It seems that Microsoft is directing you more towards their Music and Video apps in the Modern interface. Have a look at them and see if you like them. They’re not really so bad.


2. Microsoft Office 2013 (Office 15)

Office 2013 presents a wonderful new interface and a whole new world of features to explore. Its new interface based on the original Modern was a very great way to integrate a minimalist architecture while maintaining user-friendliness. There’s no real news as to whether this interface will remain the way it is until its release sometime in 2013, but I’m certain that it will run on the desktop of Windows RT. How do I know? Windows RT already includes a version of Office 2013. The only problem is that you don’t have Outlook, forcing you to use their Mail app, which has limited functionality.

Office 2013 will run on your desktop, as it has in previous versions. The look will change and look more Modern-ish. In fact, Office’s requirement to run on the desktop is probably the only reason that Windows RT ever even included a desktop in the first place. This was also probably a result of internal communication issues in getting the Office team on board with integrating the suite in the Modern interface.

But There’s Still Hope!

If you’re disappointed by the limited desktop of the Surface RT tablet, you might just get more applications as time passes. Out of the millions of developers out there, a large amount of them may be inclined to create programs that are compatible with ARM tabletsĀ and run on the desktop. I suspect Google might eventually think of doing a version of its Chrome for that platform. Don’t forget that the Microsoft Surface Pro is coming out soon, and that tablet will support full desktop applications (virtually anything you could install in a Windows 7 desktop PC). Leave a comment below if you’d like to discuss!

Miguel Leiva-Gomez
Miguel Leiva-Gomez

Miguel has been a business growth and technology expert for more than a decade and has written software for even longer. From his little castle in Romania, he presents cold and analytical perspectives to things that affect the tech world.

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