Windows RT review

Windows RT is Windows 8 with restrictions

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Sure Windows RT looks great and it can be an honest-to-goodness good time just using it, but how does it run? And what classic Windows programs can it use? The answers are just pretty well and none at all, respectively.


When Windows 8 and the loss of the Start menu was first announced, Microsoft quelled the worries and potential nerd rage with the Desktop, and the promise of supporting "legacy" software. That meant that favorite PC programs like VLC Media Player and Adobe Photoshop CS6.

However, it was only Windows 8 that made that promise. Windows RT doesn't allow third-party installations to the desktop, and therefore doesn't support legacy software.

Windows RT review

The only programs you'll use from the Desktop are Microsoft Office 2013 applications and Internet Explorer. As we mentioned, the Desktop on Windows RT is a no third-party zone, so anything that isn't Microsoft-made will not grace this space.


To judge the performance of Windows RT, we're basing our impressions off a Microsoft Surface running RT. It's pretty snappy to boot, and the lock screen comes on in a little less than 30 seconds.

The place where it gets slightly sluggish is opening an app for the first time. For example, Netflix takes upward of 20 seconds to get going.

Windows RT review

Once an app or two is open though, Windows RT can handily go between them. Again, this makes multitasking one of its best features. The Surface was able to resume games and streaming movies right where we left off, without having to reload them.

Going split screen with videos and email or a webpage was no sweat. A game and a movie, or a particularly graphics-heavy website, would result in some chugging.

Overall, Windows RT performs very well, especially considering it's built to work with smartphone-level processors. Add that to the impressive battery life that these devices often get - we got an astounding seven-and-half hours of movie watching in our Microsoft Surface review - and there's plenty of reasons to be impressed.