Windows 8 versions still confusing people

Last weekend I heard an assistant in a popular electronics store (I decided not to name the store because I am sure this is not only happening in this one store) giving a customer completely wrong advice about Windows 8. It is a worry when even the people ‘selling’ Windows 8 are confused by the three main editions of Windows 8, being: Windows 8 RT, Windows 8 Core, and Windows 8 Pro. It does not help that practically all advertising of Windows on computers does not make it clear which of these editions is installed. They generally simply say something like “Windows 8” and that’s it.

It also does not help that Microsoft don’t actually badge Windows 8 Core as ‘Windows 8 Core’. They simply call it Windows 8.

So just to make this point again as clearly as I can. There are three VERY different editions of Windows 8 and they are:

  1. Windows 8 RT
  2. Windows 8 (which is referred to by most IT writers as Windows 8 Core)
  3. Windows 8 Pro

I did a post on this problem back in October last year titled “Windows 8 RT is N-O-T Windows” (here) where I made the point, or at least I tried to make the point, that you cannot install and use Windows applications on a computer running Windows 8 RT. This is because Windows 8 RT is not really Windows 8—it is something completely new.

I will say that again as it is very important to understand. You cannot install and run Windows XP or Windows Vista or Windows 7 applications and programs on Windows 8 RT.

Again, just for fun, with Windows 8 RT you cannot install applications such as Adobe Photoshop, Corel Draw, DVD Fab, ImgBurn, MS Office Professional, Google Earth, Google Picasa, Adobe Lightroom, IrfanView, FireFox, Opera, Photoshop Elements, Chrome, AutoCAD, HDR Express, DxO Optics, any Windows games, Media Player, VLC, DivX Player, etc, etc, etc,.

Windows 8 RT can only load and run what used to be called ‘Metro-style’ applications from the Microsoft Apps Store. It does not help that Microsoft no longer calls them this and now tends to call them Windows 8 or RT applications—which really just confuses things even more if you don’t know what RT means.

I hope this helps some people who might be looking at getting into Windows 8 with understanding the main editions better. Basically if you are looking at upgrading to Windows 8 and you want to be able to run all your favourite Windows applications then you should be looking at Windows 8 Core (although there are some traps with this as well) or, to be completely safe, Windows 8 Pro.

And if you happen to come across someone like the assistant I heard last Saturday and they tell you that you can upgrade the Windows 8 RT to Windows 8 later on, DON’T believe them. This is generally not technically possible, especially on tablet and many ultra-light notebooks, due to the CPU being used.