Microsoft reveals key features for Windows 8 and Windows RT

Published Date
17 - Apr - 2012
| Last Updated
17 - Apr - 2012
 
Microsoft reveals key features for Windows 8 and Windows RT

Microsoft on Monday revealed more details about the three editions of Windows 8 it will release when it makes its next operating system available later this year, including some key features that will be part of Windows RT, the SKU that's optimized for ARM processors.

"First, Windows 8 is the official product name for the next x86/64 editions of Windows," Brandon LeBlanc, Microsoft's Windows communications manager, wrote on the official Windows blog.

Microsoft's next OS for PCs and tablets powered by 32-bit and 64-bit x86 chips will come in two flavors, Windows 8 and Windows 8 Pro, while the Windows on ARM (WOA) offering, Windows RT, comes in just one and is only available as a pre-installed OS.

The software giant is loading several new and updated features across all three SKUs, including the next version of Microsoft's Web browser, Internet Explorer 10, Windows Defender, Windows Update, and Enhanced Task Manager (see full chart of SKU features below).

But Windows RT looks to be a somewhat different animal than the x86 versions of Microsoft's next operating system. Unlike Windows 8 and Windows 8 Pro, Windows RT won't be upgradeable from any edition of Windows 7, obviously, but it also won't get Windows Media Player or Storage Spaces.

What WOA does give you is Device Encryption and Microsoft Office bundled in with the OS, neither of which is available for Windows 8 and Windows 8 Pro. Sounds like a fair trade-off, especially when compared with features available with Windows 8, though Windows 8 Pro has numerous goodies that neither Windows 8 basic nor Windows RT have—and remember, Windows RT doesn't have a Pro edition as yet.

"Windows 8 Pro is designed to help tech enthusiasts and business/technical professionals obtain a broader set of Windows 8 technologies," LeBlanc wrote. "It includes all the features in Windows 8 plus features for encryption, virtualization, PC management and domain connectivity. Windows Media Center will be available as an economical 'media pack' add-on to Windows 8 Pro. If you are an enthusiast or you want to use your PC in a business environment, you will want Windows 8 Pro."

LeBlanc noted that the chart released by Microsoft on Monday showcased "key features" and "should not be considered an exhaustive list of features."

Feature name

Windows 8

Windows 8 Pro

Windows RT

Upgrades from Windows 7 Starter, Home Basic, Home Premium

x
x
 

Upgrades from Windows 7 Professional, Ultimate

 
x
 
Start screen, Semantic Zoom, Live Tiles
x
x
x
Windows Store
x
x
x

Apps (Mail, Calendar, People, Messaging, Photos, SkyDrive, Reader, Music, Video)

x
x
x

Microsoft Office (Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneNote)

 
 
x
Internet Explorer 10
x
x
x
Device encryption
 
 
x
Connected standby
x
x
x
Microsoft account
x
x
x
Desktop
x
x
x

Installation of x86/64 and desktop software

x
x
 
Updated Windows Explorer
x
x
x
Windows Defender
x
x
x
SmartScreen
x
x
x
Windows Update
x
x
x
Enhanced Task Manager
x
x
x

Switch languages on the fly (Language Packs)

x
x
x
Better multiple monitor support
x
x
x
Storage Spaces
x
x
 
Windows Media Player
x
x
 
Exchange ActiveSync
x
x
x
File history
x
x
x
ISO / VHD mount
x
x
x
Mobile broadband features
x
x
x
Picture password
x
x
x
Play To
x
x
x
Remote Desktop (client)
x
x
x
Reset and refresh your PC
x
x
x
Snap
x
x
x
Touch and Thumb keyboard
x
x
x
Trusted boot
x
x
x
VPN client
x
x
x
BitLocker and BitLocker To Go
 
x
 
Boot from VHD
 
x
 
Client Hyper-V
 
x
 
Domain Join
 
x
 
Encrypting File System
 
x
 
Group Policy
 
x
 
Remote Desktop (host)
 
x
 

 


 
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