How is Windows 10 on ARM different from the now defunct Windows RT?


  1. “Windows 10 on ARM is called Windows 10 S”

    This is not true. As you wrote Windows 10 S also runs on X86 hardware, Windows 10 on ARM does not.

    In short, Windows 10 S is a Version of Windows 10 running Microsoft Store apps only. Windows 10 ARM with x86 emulation is not limited only to the Microsoft Store.

    Now, there might be Windows 10 S on ARM at some point, but S and ARM is not the same.

  2. There are tons of differences, but lets make it easy and say WinRT and Win10S shares the same purpose and look at what’s most important for the consumer.

    Win10S and WinRT are both Microsoft Store only builds, and are only able to install applications from the Store. For some this could be considered a limitation, for others it equals a safer OS as damaging code are largely limited or unable to execute at all.

    The most noticeable and important difference is while WinRT really was a “lighter” OS, Win10S is not. W10S is limited from executing Win32 applications and in some other ways, removing the need for a registry for these applications etc. Depending a little on the HW you’ll see slightly to noticeable faster boot times and longer lasting battery.

    This leads us to another important difference in how Win10S is upgradeable to full Win10 only by changing the license should you feel limited.

    When WinRT was released people were not used to the new interface, they were not used to the concept of having a store in Windows, everyone failed to see past what WinRT was not and nobody tried looking at what WinRT was good at, and developers were slow in adopting the new OS. AKA the never ending story about the Microsoft Store and the lack of developer support. With Win10 this is about to change. Although Microsoft Store is not comparable to the other app stores the number of apps are increasing, and so is the quality. Adobe have said they are focusing on UWP development, and there are several “desktop” games in the store as well. People choosing Win10 stores are not as lost as WinRT might have felt.

    I’d also like to point out the hardware availability, with a high number of devices from different manufacturers available and coming.

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