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How to view your Windows Experience Index score in Windows 8.1


Ever since Windows Vista, you could benchmark your PC to see how fast its hardware was according to the Windows Experience Index. It was a built-in function of Windows, and assigned a number to indicate the performance of your processor, memory, hard drive, desktop and gaming graphics capabilities. The scores generated told you exactly how well your PC stacked up against other PCs, a particularly useful bit of info when shopping for new hardware.

In late 2013, Microsoft released a patch for Windows 8 that addressed many of the issues people had with the new OS’s new interface. But they also removed the Windows Experience Index, or at least the part of it that showed your hardware’s score and let you re-run the assessment. According to this insightful blog post on the PC Pro website, the WEI was most likely removed as part of a larger strategy at Microsoft to drive home the message that Windows 8 runs well regardless of the hardware platform it’s on.

That’s not entirely accurate, of course – more powerful hardware will always deliver better performance - but to be fair the gap between low-end hardware performance and that of more powerful systems has shrunk in recent months. This is largely thanks to new developments like Intel’s really fast Bay Trail mobile platform that delivers tablet performance nearly on par with that of full-blown notebooks, and making it feasible to run Windows 8 on tablet hardware without compromising much on performance.

Fortunately, for anyone who enjoyed seeing those numbers change when they upgraded components or bought new systems entirely, the underlying code that powered the WEI (the Windows System Assessment Tool) is still part of Windows 8, only now it must be accessed from a command line. It’s a bit ironic that after an upgrade, accessing certain features requires an old-school approach, but there you have it.

Here’s how to do it:

Running Command Prompt

Press the Start button, and type “command”. This will show the link to the Command Prompt window; right-click on it and choose Run as Administrator. Click Yes on the User Control window.

Command Prompt

In that Command Prompt window, type winsat prepop and press Enter. This runs the assessment tool, and stores the resulting scores in an XML document. You’ll see the test run, but you won’t see any scores. Revealing those happens in the next step.

Running Powershell

Press the Start button on your keyboard, and type “powershell”. Right-click on the Windows Powershell icon that appears and choose “Run as administrator”.

Results

In that window, type “Get-WmiObject -Class Win32_WinSAT” and press Enter. This will retrieve your computer’s scores from the XML file the previous command generated, and display them.

To decipher what each score is for is fairly straightforward, except for the D3DScore and GraphicsScore categories. D3DScore is your system’s graphics performance as it pertains to playing 3D games, and GraphicsScore is how well your hardware fares with everyday Windows tasks like showing the desktop and playing HD videos.

And there you have it! If you miss the WEI, this is how you go about accessing what remains of it in Windows 8.1

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