Microsoft plans to launch an update for Windows RT this fall which the company has said will bring some Windows 10 features to devices like the original Surface and Surface 2 tablets. But don’t expect all that many Windows 10 features.

WinBeta reports that Windows RT 8.1 Update 3 will bring a Windows 10-style start menu, but there won’t be many other new features.

Windows 10 Start Menu
Windows 10 Start Menu

Users will reportedly still have the option of using a full-screen Start Screen, but if they don’t want to hide the currently running app, they can bring up a Start Menu that will run on top of the current view.

What you won’t be able to do is run Windows Store apps in movable, resizeable windows: apps will open in full-screen mode just like they always have on Windows RT tablets. They won’t be able to run in windows the way they do on tablets, notebooks, and desktop PCs with Windows 10 software.

According to WinBeta, Windows RT 8.1 Update 3 will not bring some of the more exciting Windows 10 features to older tablets with ARM-based chips and Windows RT software. There’s no support for the Continuum feature that automatically changes your device’s user interface when you switch from tablet to notebook mode, for instance. And there’s no support for new Universal Windows apps.

In other words, the only changes seem to be cosmetic: if you want the full Windows 10 experience, you’ll need a device that can run the full Windows 10 operating system.


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16 replies on “Report: Windows RT will get new Start Menu this fall, not much more”

  1. Hmm of all the Windows 10 features the *last* thing Windows RT needs is the start menu. All RT powered devices are 10″ or smaller tablets, and the desktop mode is only used for simple built-in apps like Paint and Office programs and file management. Heck, on my Surface RT I have all the Office™ programs, file manager, paint, calculator, notepad, etc. pinned to my task bar and that doesn’t even fill up the task bar. For tablet use, the Windows 8.1 start screen is perfectly adequate. What do I need with the start menu? Oh, well. As a late adopter I got my Surface RT for such a low price, and it’s such a great performer, that I don’t have any real complaints. Curious choice.

  2. At the very least, open up RT and the devices and let enthusiasts keep it alive and make it better.

  3. I can’t say I’m surprised, though I’m still disappointed. I was hoping there would be more to the update than just the new start menu, though that will be a welcome addition. I will hang onto my Surface RT and probably use it until it dies, which shouldn’t be for quite some time. It’s a great machine and can do everything I need. I have Windows CE handheld PCs from the late 90s (Jornada 720, MobilePro 790, etc.) and still use them for organizing and mobile word processing. So I’m used to dealing with abandoned platforms.

  4. They should at least include game streaming from Xbox One to RT tabs if it’s not there already. All it is is streaming video locally basically. Come on Microsoft. Support it better home slice. You’re still supporting ARM with Windows 10 as well, why not the souls who bought these RT tablets? Haters.


    1. Maybe they will, they’ve stated that the streaming service will not be restricted to just Windows 10, and it will at least work on Android and iOS-powered devices also… following Microsoft’s new policy to make its own apps available across multiple operating systems… but we’ll have to wait and see…

      If not, maybe the community of users can figure a way to side load it or create a compatible Metro app…

      1. They said they’re gonna do streaming to Android and iOS devices? News to me. I’LL GOOGLE THIS AND IF YOU’RE WRONG I’LL HAVE YOU REPRIMANDED BY THE AUTHORITIES. Okay later.

  5. Interesting that almost every time MS tries to adopt another CPU platform,
    it eventually abandons it, resorting to x86. Alternative CPU platforms emerge
    as “poor cousins”. Buyers have probably learned their lesson from MS’s
    lukewarm support of these poor relations, hence MS on anything other than
    x86 Windows doesn’t achieve market traction, and adopters of the
    alternatives feel like they’ve been suckered.

    1. The basic “issue” is that MS has been all about backwards compatibility. Meaning that people has come to expect that they can run their age old programs on a new MS OS.

      Heck, my parents used programs that likely dated back to the Windows 3.x era. And only with the advent of 64-bit Windows 8 was that no longer possible.

      1. Were your parents running Windows 98 before jumping to Windows 8?

        1. No, but the software in question has been moved successfully from PC to PC over the years.

          1. I’m assuming you already tried compatibility mode, but have you tried running a VM of a earlier copy of Windows?

            If it’s a 3.x program then it should be pretty easy to run a copy of 3.1/3.11 either through a VM or just run Dosbox, etc…

          2. It was not a vital program. It was just meant as an illustration of how serious MS have been about backwards compatiblity until recently.

            As for VM, for some reason MS offered a free VM option with Windows 7 but dropped it for Windows 8.

          3. No, Windows 8 just replaced it with Hyper-V Client…


            It’s just that most of the documentation support is for the Business/Enterprise users, so it’s hard for regular users to know what they have… but it’s like the recovery system, they made changes but the features are still there…

            You just don’t get the VM image for XP to run but it’s easy enough to get one to use…


    2. No more MS branded computers for me, alternative CPU or x86.
      I’ll stick with their OSs, but on hardware I’m going to stay with 3rd parties.

    3. I wouldn’t say that Microsoft has abandoned any alternate platforms before. They have been supporting ARM in their Windows Embedded, and Windows CE families since the 1990’s. Windows Embedded 8 supports ARM to this very day.

      Its true that the Windows RT product was short lived, and undersupported. I’m glad I didn’t buy one. But Microsoft didn’t abandon ARM. This is just the end of the lifespan of Windows RT.

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