Microsoft Store team members still need training on Windows 8 vs. RT

Microsoft has got a lot riding on the launch of both Windows 8 and its Surface tablet next week. Microsoft Store employees in the US and Canada will begin to sell the tablet in its retail stores on October 26th. But many of those same employees don't seem to be aware of just what they are attempting to sell to consumers.

The Verge reports that, based on chatting on the phone with employees at several Microsoft Store locations, as well as online, it appears that many of their store's team members don't seem to know the basic differences between Windows 8 and Windows RT. That will certain affect how they will sell devices such as the Windows RT-based Surface tablet.

One Microsoft rep told the site that, in terms of Windows 8 and Windows RT, "They're pretty much the same thing, there is no real huge difference beside the RT is more touch friendly." Many of the team members seemed to be unaware that Windows RT cannot run any of the software that have been made for previous versions of Windows, and thus can't be run on the Surface.

It's more than possible that Microsoft Store employees will be trained to tell customers the differences between Windows 8 and Windows RT before the launch of Surface next week. But with Microsoft already advertising the Surface and taking pre-orders, the company looks like it will need to act quickly before people purchase the tablet, thinking they will be able to run any old Windows program on it.

If you missed the video we posted on Monday, you can view it below.

Source: The Verge

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WinRT is the one where it will be impossible to end up with 4 inches worth of toolbars at the top of your browser window. And any viruses you choose to download because you were such an (idiot) as some would like you to be labeled, would have to be downloaded from the app store, in that case MS would be the idiot for letting infected apps in the store. Tell consumers that and watch it fly off the shelves.

Yeah thats it, just tell them WinRT is the one that can't get viruses. Hopefully Neowin will have a forum to track WinRT viruses, lets see how fast it happens (RT infected tablets), IF it happens. Everyone else who has the need for legacy apps probably knows the difference anyway, and yes Win8 PRO, WILL run the Ask.com toolbar.

nub said,
Neowin members still need training on Win 8 vs RT

^and all comments above...

From a 'technical' viewpoint, there isn't a difference between Windows 8 and Windows RT. There also isn't a difference between these versions and Windows 2012 server either. (*)

They are the full and same editions of Windows, sharing code and even using the same binaries on the same hardware architecture.

Windows RT is WOA and is compiled and optimized for ARM, all using the same ARM binaries, with the exception of a modified HAL for various ARM differences.

Windows 8 is compiled and optimized for both x86 and x64, each with its own optimized HAL.

As for 'source code' there is little difference, with the exception of the HAL and a few places in the Kernel and other layers of Windows. (**)

The 'restrictions' on Windows RT are two simple items.
1) ARM cannot run x86 or x64 code without being at the very least recompiled.
2) Microsoft has implemented artificial restrictions so that average users can only install software from the Windows Store. (***) (****)

With the introduction of Windows Phone 8, it technically is the same OS as Windows RT and Windows 8. However, it is NOT the full installation of Windows, as Microsoft has removed and hidden various parts of the OS from users and developers. (Just like portions of WinCE was hidden/removed on ZuneHD and on WP7.)

There is still not a public list of the full set of frameworks that will be available to developers, but Microsoft has stated the full DirectX frameworks and Media Foundation, and some portions of the low level Windows APIs will be accessible to developers for native code development. (Note the Havok engine demo from the WP8 introduction.)

The interesting part is that with Windows 8, for the first time, the core OS running on your phone, tablet, notebook, desktop, and server will be essentially the same code.

The only real difference is the architecture, so ARM devices will share the same binaries, and x86 devices will share the same binaries, and x64 devices will share the same binaries.

So if Microsoft proceeds with an ARM version of Server 2012, as they have talked about doing, it will literally be running the same binaries as your tiny Windows Phone 8, but with a different HAL.

This is why it is inaccurate to state or classify Windows RT or even WP8 as a 'phone OS', because in the traditional sense, they are not.

iOS and Android (RIM, etc) are limited mobile OSes, and are a sharp contrast to the same version/code of Windows 8 NT running at the core of all Microsoft's platforms moving forward.

(Apple attempted to have a unified OS model, but the nature of OS X's design has made this impossible in today's hardware as OS X is not lean or fast enough on the current generation iPhone/iPad class devices.) --This is also why Apple's publicized criticism of Microsoft's unified OS model for Windows 8 and NT was laughable, because they were already wanting to do this, but failed. (*****)

____________________________________
*
(The x64 version of Windows 8 Home/Pro uses the exact same HAL/DLLS/EXE as Windows 2012 server, the only difference is the licensing allowed and set in the registry, that on the Windows 2012 server version allows for the additional Services needed to be a Server, along with these additional services included in the install.)

____________________________________
**
Windows NT is designed and written for ITS OWN ARCHITECTURE, which means that when porting to new architectures whether it is x86 or x64 or ARM, very little actual code has to be changed, as the OS is working with a common architecture that the HAL provides. (This is technically why Windows NT is far more portable and extensible than Linux and other OSes that are normally considered easily portable. It also allows Windows to get more performance out of an architecture, as only the HAL has to be highly optimized, instead of the entire code base of the OS having to be rewritten and optimized for the new platform/architecture.)

____________________________________
***
This does not apply to corporate/enterprise, as they are allowed to independently load and allow applications withouth going through the Windows App Store. Technical users and developers will also be able to circumvent this restriction and load their own software.

____________________________________
****
#2 Seems odd, but if viewed in context, it just makes sense. Developers will have to recompile their software for ARM. So if the developers are already going to this trouble, Microsoft is encouraging them to use the Windows App UI (Metro/Modern) to ensure the software complies with the new UI constructs. As the Windows App frameworks are designed, the developers can use still use native and even Windows API code, as long as the UI is constructed with the new frameworks like WinRT, HTML5/JScript Library, etc.

So if Adobe wants to create an ARM version of Photoshop, they can. However, they must redesign their UI to be touch friendly and use the Windows App UI framework. (Existing backend code and low level code still works as long as older Win32/Windows API UI code is replaced.)

Windows RT comes with the complete set of frameworks and other features of Windows 8, even though developers cannot use the desktop UI portions for application development. This includes everything from low level NT libraries and DirectX and Media frameworks.

It even includes the full Win32 frameworks, even though developers cannot use it for the UI in an application distributed through the Windows App Store. Notice Office 2013 on Windows RT, being a built in set of software is 'excluded' from the restrictions, as it, like the File Explorer are still very much Win32 API based.

____________________________________
*****
Apple tells people that the iPhone and iPad are running the OS X kernel. This is not true. iOS's kernel is significantly different than the OS X kernel. The only commonality, is that they are both based off the same XNU kernel. iOS's kernel has a considerable number of OS X kernel features missing, and even in the way the layers are designed, the APIs exposed to developers that look like OS X on iOS are recreated to look more like OS X for the Cocoa frameworks. (This is like Windows NT versus WIndowsCE which are two different, but similar, OS technologies.)


_________________________________________________
Once again, I recommend that anyone that considers themselves to be technical or involved with technology to pick up this book: "Inside NT" First Edition 1993 (Helen Cluster)

Along with the latest incarnation of the series:
Windows Internals, Sixth Edition, Part 1
http://www.amazon.com/Windows-...p;qid=1333581451&sr=8-1

Windows Internals, Sixth Edition, Part 2
http://www.amazon.com/Windows-...;keywords=windows+internals

This will stop a lot of the misinformation about Windows and NT technology in general These books also explain why NT is different than other OS models, was designed differently, and has a lot of compelling advantages that is often overlook or not understood.

These books also will help people understand how Windows NT can be running on a phone, tablet, desktop, high end servers, supercomputer clusters, and even be the basis of the Azure (Windows NT) based cloud OS technology.

Edited by thenetavenger, Oct 17 2012, 11:05pm :

Article should be updated now as it is on The Verve :
Microsoft tells us that it is currently training Microsoft Store employees to proactively ask questions so they can help recommend the right device for customers. By the October 26th Windows 8 launch, they will have 15 hours of training on average. Here's Microsoft's full statement: ..

This is not a big issue at all, nor should be news. Sales associates are trained before the release of the product - the information will be fresh in their mind, and the product is now available to help reinforce what they've trained for.

Documentation should be updated too
Everywhere states that media player will not be included...how are videos being played?
I assume that they can though since it has the video out port?
Which media formats are supported? avi, wmv, mpg?

I cannot find this info anywhere, so I doubt the staff will have an answer

LLTC said,
Documentation should be updated too
Everywhere states that media player will not be included...how are videos being played?
I assume that they can though since it has the video out port?
Which media formats are supported? avi, wmv, mpg?

I cannot find this info anywhere, so I doubt the staff will have an answer

There is a video application aptly called Video. It runs a decent number of codecs.

sjaak327 said,

There is a video application aptly called Video. It runs a decent number of codecs.

Cheers guys.
I cannot find information on this, but it's all I needed to hear

LLTC said,
Documentation should be updated too
Everywhere states that media player will not be included...how are videos being played?
I assume that they can though since it has the video out port?
Which media formats are supported? avi, wmv, mpg?

I cannot find this info anywhere, so I doubt the staff will have an answer

Music App, Media Foundation

This happened to me lnite when I called to cancel my pre-order to get a different one. The guy kept referring to 32/64gb as memory (RAM) but I tried to correct him in a subtle manner by repeating few times what I wanted but I don't think it helped.

To be fair most sales people have no idea what they're talking about. Recently went into a Vodafone store and the guy told me to get the quad core One X because it was FOUR times faster than the Lumia 900 which didn't have quad core...

just like most places, sales people not knowing what they sell . i wish more people had a passion for what they do.

nub said,
Neowin members still need training on Win 8 vs RT

Someone on reddit was trying to convince me that Windows RT wasn't a full OS and was closer to Windows Phone.

Tony. said,

Someone on reddit was trying to convince me that Windows RT wasn't a full OS and was closer to Windows Phone.

Well Technically a windows phone is an Operating system too which is only able to run applications from an app store.

warwagon said,

Well Technically a windows phone is an Operating system too which is only able to run applications from an app store.


Which incidentally is pretty much how it works on RT.

Tony. said,

Someone on reddit was trying to convince me that Windows RT wasn't a full OS and was closer to Windows Phone.

That's not really that far off. Of course there are differences, but Windows RT is primarily an OS for running WinRT apps downloaded from Microsoft's app store.

Sure it has the Windows Desktop UI and a more full featured version of Office, but I don't think there's any real technical limitation why those couldn't run on the Windows Phone 8 OS. They would just be unusable on a phone screen due to size and resolution.

If they don't know, they really can't expect consumers to They shouldn't have come out with the Pro at a different date and done the advertising all at once so people know. Imagine asking this question to a WalMart employee working in electronics. Good luck average customer!

KSib said,
If they don't know, they really can't expect consumers to

Maybe they don't. A little customer confusion could be part of their strategy in light of the "Windows everywhere"/"no compromises" approach.

KSib said,
If they don't know, they really can't expect consumers to They shouldn't have come out with the Pro at a different date and done the advertising all at once so people know. Imagine asking this question to a WalMart employee working in electronics. Good luck average customer!

I don't think customers will just assume that their windows 7 programs will work on windows 8 just by looking at it.. Just like they would not assume that their programs would work on windows phone 8 by looking at it..

Just like I don't think ppl will think that the Xbox will run windows programs just because it is made by Microsoft.. PPL will just assume that windows RT tablets are like the iPad and that they need apps

Lachlan said,
I don't think customers will just assume that their windows 7 programs will work on windows 8 just by looking at it..

Windows 8 looks exactly like Windows RT. Only one of them allows you to install "Windows 7 programs" though. That's where naming your OS something else than "Windows" might have been helpful for consumers (but apparently not in Microsoft's strategic interest).

Lachlan said,

I don't think customers will just assume that their windows 7 programs will work on windows 8 just by looking at it.. Just like they would not assume that their programs would work on windows phone 8 by looking at it..

Just like I don't think ppl will think that the Xbox will run windows programs just because it is made by Microsoft.. PPL will just assume that windows RT tablets are like the iPad and that they need apps

I'd like to live in your world, where the common computer user has a clue, but no, I live in the real world and people WILL assume this and it will **** them off.

But can you blame them, Surface Pro, Surface RT, both run Windows 8, why wouldn't they both run the same programs, if the Xbox ran Windows 8, people would assume it would run Windows programs.

JaredFrost,

Surface Pro, Surface RT, both run Windows 8

CJEric said,

I don't think so...

Far too many people are going to think so, which I think may have been Jared's point.

Lachlan said,

I don't think customers will just assume that their windows 7 programs will work on windows 8 just by looking at it.. Just like they would not assume that their programs would work on windows phone 8 by looking at it..

Just like I don't think ppl will think that the Xbox will run windows programs just because it is made by Microsoft.. PPL will just assume that windows RT tablets are like the iPad and that they need apps

But people are used to have the next Windows OS running all the programs already running on the previous version of the OS and I can confirm you that I have spoken with several people who are completely unaware of the differences.
Said that it will not be a big issue..... if the sales reps will be well trained to explain the differences between the two OSes.