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 (desktop) as well as OverDrive for Windows 8. If you're running Windows RT, you can only install OverDrive for Windows 8.

How do I know if I'm using Windows 8 or RT?

Windows 8 can be found on many desktop computers, laptops, and tablets. Windows RT comes on certain tablets (like the Microsoft Surface RT and Surface 2). You can check whether you have Windows 8 or RT using the steps below:

  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

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

OverDrive for Windows 8 uses Microsoft's new "Modern UI," featuring live tiles and refreshed graphics. With OverDrive for Windows 8, you can find and borrow titles, download and read protected eBooks, download and listen to audiobooks, and watch streaming videos right in the app. This version of OverDrive's app works on both Windows 8 and Windows RT devices, and requires you to log in with your OverDrive account, which you can use to sync your reading progress, saved libraries, and bookmarks across devices.

Screenshot of OverDrive for Windows 8

If you'd like to transfer audiobooks to MP3 players or burn them to CDs (with publisher permission), you'll need to install OverDrive for Windows (desktop). This version of the app only works with Windows 8 because it requires "Desktop mode" and the ability to install legacy apps.

Screenshot showing the OverDrive for Windows desktop user interface

You can even install both versions of the OverDrive app if you're using Windows 8 (not RT). That way, you can find and borrow titles, read eBooks, listen to audiobooks, and watch streaming video in the Windows 8 version, and you can use the desktop version to transfer and burn titles (as permitted).

Last Updated: May 20, 2015 04:33PM EDT