The Surface RT desktop: more here than I had expected

I have been surprised by how much of the Windows 8 desktop is present in Windows RT. I had been expecting something more cut-down, to support Office, Explorer, Control Panel and a few other utilities. In fact, it seems to me pretty much the desktop we are used to, though there are differences such as the inability to join a domain. Here are a few screen grabs.

Control Panel is here, though despite the presence of Office 2013, it claims that no programs are installed.

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PowerShell is there – interesting, since you could write your own desktop utilities as scripts, making the desktop less locked down (and possibly less secure) that I had expected. The Windows Scripting Host is here too.

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and a command prompt, of course:

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Incidentally, for screen grabs the Snipping Tool is present. There is no Print Screen key on the touch keyboard cover, but this works fine with a Bluetooth keyboard (I don’t have a Type keyboard).

I’m intrigued by the presence of Windows Easy Transfer. Who might be upgrading their PC to Windows RT?

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Not quite everything is here. There is no Windows Media Player; you have to use the new-style apps.

Regedit is here, and prompts for UAC elevation just like on x86.

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Remote Desktop Connection is here. So is VPN connection, which works fine for me from the USA to my ISA Sever in the UK, but will depend on your setup (I am trying to clarify this point).

Broadly, everything seems to be here other than a few bits Microsoft chose to pull out. I had thought the reverse would be true.

Note: I attempted to write this post on Surface with Word as the blog authoring tool, but got stuck with the images. Live Writer is far better, which is a concern.

Related posts:

  1. Microsoft Surface is coming: Windows, but not as you know it
  2. Windows 8 desktop user tip: learn mouse-top-left-drag-down
  3. Desktop Windows 8 survival guide
  4. Microsoft Surface has changed the Windows 8 conversation
  5. All about Search in Windows 8: a feature every user has to understand

4 thoughts on “The Surface RT desktop: more here than I had expected

  1. Chris Nahr

    I’m amazed at the presence of PowerShell and RegEdit. Who would want to use those on Windows RT? For that matter, why is there a desktop at all since we can’t install programs there, instead of just an invisible Win32 API needed for Office? Why did Microsoft bother to port all this to ARM?

  2. Farukh

    I am not sure what to think about this. Keeping all this “bloat” that does not add any value to Windows RT (currently) makes no sense … unless Microsoft plans to keep the desktop and make more features available to Windows RT than today (slowly making it head to head to the x86 version).

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