The first thing you need to know is that Windows 8 comes in two basic flavors. There's Windows 8, which can run legacy desktop apps, and Windows RT, which cannot.

Why is this important? If you're running Windows 8, then you can install OverDrive for Windows 8 as well as OverDrive's desktop app.

How do I know which one I'm using?

  1. Open the Search charm (Windows key + Q or swipe left from the right edge of the screen).
  2. Type System and wait for search results to appear.
  3. Select System from the results.
    Screenshot showing system in search results
  4. A window will pop up in "Desktop mode" showing you which version of Windows you're using.
    Screenshot showing the Windows version
    Note: Windows RT typically comes on tablets (like the Microsoft Surface RT and Surface 2).

What's the difference between OverDrive for Windows 8 and the desktop version?

OverDrive for Windows 8 utilizes Microsoft's new "Modern UI." With it, you get live tiles and refreshed graphics for EPUB eBooks and MP3 audiobooks. This version of OverDrive can be used with both Windows 8 and Windows RT. Additionally, OverDrive for Windows 8 works with your OverDrive account to sync your reading progress, saved libraries, Adobe ID, and bookmarks across devices.

Screenshot showing the OverDrive for Windows 8 user interface

OverDrive for Windows 8 does not, however, support WMV or WMA titles.

If you'd like WMV (video) or WMA (audiobooks and music) support on your Windows 8 machine, then you'll need to use the classic desktop version of OverDrive. This version can only be used with Windows 8 because it requires "Desktop mode."

Screenshot showing the OverDrive for Windows desktop user interface

You can even install both versions of OverDrive if you're using Windows 8 (not RT). That way, you can read eBooks, listen to MP3 audiobooks, watch streaming video, and enjoy the refreshed user interface on the Windows 8 version, and use the classic desktop version to enjoy WMA or WMV titles.

Note: With both OverDrive's desktop app for Windows and OverDrive for Windows 8 installed, you can burn and transfer audiobooks from OverDrive for Windows 8.

Last Updated: Sep 26, 2014 02:26PM EDT