Windows 8 Experience Index… What it means and how to check it

SNAGHTML30c0a5cSix years ago Microsoft introduced the Windows Experience Index, a better way to measure the actual speed of computers, rather than simply relying on the single measurement of the CPU speed.

Although it really is more complicated than this, Microsoft has broken the speed of a computer down to five components: CPU, RAM, graphics and gaming graphics, and hard drive speed.  In Vista and then Windows 7 each of these was measured on a scale from 1.0-7.9.  In Windows 8 this has been changed to a scale from 1.0 to 9.9.

If you upgrade your computer from Windows 7 to Windows 8 then you will notice that your WEI has dropped; that’s because Microsoft realizes that newer hardware is available, and the hardware that was top of the line three years ago is now a bit longer in the tooth.

Each of the measurements has its own subscore, but the truth is that the speed of your computer is determined by the slowest of these – i.e.: the bottleneck.  So the Base Score of your computer – the one in the big blue square – is not a calculation or an average of the others, it is the lowest subscore from the five.

As you can see from the screenshot I took from my own laptop (an HP EliteBook 2740p) my Base Score is a 4.3.  As a business user I don’t see a particular need to invest in a machine with high-end graphics (especially pricy in laptops).  I don’t play games, and to watch the occasional movie all I need is a simple video card.  I am more concerned with the CPU, RAM, and hard drive performance in my system, and with these subscores at 6.8 and 7.7 I am very pleased with the laptop’s performance.

If you would like to check your Windows Experience Index, there are a couple of ways to do it:

  • Using the traditional method: In Windows Explorer right-click on Computer, click on Properties, and click on Windows Experience Index.
  • SNAGHTML32dfd04In the Windows 8 Start Screen type ‘experience’ (or enough of the word for it to be recognized.  Make sure you are in the Settings context, and click Use tools to improve performance.

From the Performance Information and Tools screen, click either Run the assessment or, if you have already run it previously, click Re-run the assessment.  Remember, it will not work if you are running on battery power… you will have to plug in your laptops to run it!  Also if you are running off a boot-from-VHD you can’t run it because the VHD performance interferes with the ability to measure the actual hard disk speed.

Windows 8 is faster than any operating system I have ever seen, even on legacy hardware.  However on newer hardware it is going to be incredible; the only issue with that right now is that you are going to have to wait until October 26th to buy it! Smile


14 responses to “Windows 8 Experience Index… What it means and how to check it”

  1. it’s not even run the assessment .widows 8 the next vista and just a show up.

    1. Joseph I am not sure what you mean by this, but before you criticize Windows 8 give it a shot… it really is an incredible system!

  2. Windows 8 is anything but incredible. I’ve over 20 years of Windows experience and I feel like it’s completely useless.

    Windows 8 is incredibly frustrating. Actually, I’d put it as horrible, ugly, disjointed and an awful user experience.

    Anyway, your article; on my version of W8, I don’t have a Performance Assessment tool. I would love to browse for it, but can’t as some Muppet has removed the start button.

    Actually, I know what Windows 8 reminds me of… it’s like running Windows 3, before the advent of the start button.

    I’m glad you’re liking it.

    1. Hi Glenn,

      I am sorry that you do not like Windows 8. I am curious to know how much time you have spent with it, because a number of your comments are out of line with the general consensus. The Start Menu, for example, is now the full-screen Start Screen, and from that screen you can easily search for anything you need by just typing (as discussed in this article

      I remember when I first saw Windows 95 (I was still in the army, but was always an enthusiast) and wondered why everything was hidden behind this silly ‘Start’ button, including (ironically) shutting down the computer! It took me some time to get used to it but I did, like all of us who have been in computers as long as you and I have.

      I remember five years ago the first time I saw the Ribbon Toolbar in Microsoft Office 2007 and asked ‘where are my menus?’ The new toolbar took me a while to get used to it… and once I did I was able to work so much more efficiently than before.

      I am sure that the new Windows 8 interface will take many people a lot of time to get used to but they will… and I am sure that they will be able to work more efficiently once they have.

      We get used to aspects of technologies and are so hard-pressed to let them go; remember that ‘because that’s how we’ve always done it’ has never been a good answer to ‘why do we do something?’ – there has to be a viable answer, and if there isn’t then we should reconsider it. Microsoft reconsidered the Start Button, and did not do it ‘just because.’ When people do get used to the modern interface they will not want to go back to ‘the old ways.’ However so many things are hidden from view that they take time to discover 🙂


  3. windows 8 if freaking awesome all these people must suck at computers so bad. im getting a computer degree at cmu and its so fucking easy and fast my 200$ labtop is fast with it where with windows 7 is was quite slow.

    And its the next vista, yeah your dumb, its the best OS windows ever made yeah its confusing and stuff just get use to it, takes a day. its likes just like a android update stuff changes come on now.

  4. I dislike windows 8 at first, but…’s actually not that bad.
    Once I got used to it, I kinda enjoy it.
    My computer is only 3 months old (came with W7) and even though I miss the old OS, I like W8 too.

    and the price wasn’t too shabby either
    only 42 bucks.

    1. Jaime there was a time that if you had told me you only paid $42 for Windows I would have assumed it was a pirated copy. Isn’t the new pricing great? 🙂 -M

  5. I upgraded from XP Pro. The forty dollar price was welcome, and after a clean install my Intel E6600 Core 2 Duo machine works good – except some video crashes or pixelating in certain circumstances. The computer seemed peppier even before I changed the RAM from 2 to 4 Gigs. And my attitude is sort of: “what’s wrong with getting the best Windows desktop engine (or at least as good as Windows 7, right, which costs a bundle just for Home Premium), along with a toy like the Metro side provides.” Bing news, the Weather — these are very gratifying, and I think they have a system with winning potential. I hated MS for years, because of cruddy apps like “Active Sync” that would eat all the carefully set up contacts on my Windows Mobile 6 “dumb phone.” But I am toying with the idea of a Windows Phone 8 device in the next year or so. Again, the price helps condition my reaction, and XP was getting to look like an abacus. The video problem seems confined to when video is launched in the “Modern” (a.k.a. “Metro”) environment. One problem is with the “Tom and Jerry” cartoon aggregator app that my son likes to use. It caused the whole computer to reboot one time—I guess something was sucking too much power. Other times it pixelates. Another was watching the trailer for the movie “Santa Paws II” (no kidding) from the “Video” app tile. It was jerky and pixelated, so I tried the very same trailer launched from iTunes 10 and the normal desktop environment. It worked smoothly this way. Angry Birds Space, also a Metro app looks good, but the mouse action is terrible—really coarse and notchy. I have this same game on an iMac with a 3.3 Ghz core 2 and 2 Gb ram, and it works very smooth there. What I want to do is isolate and perhaps improve the Windows computer. I already upped the RAM to 4 gigs. I am suspecting the video card, which is a Nividia GS7100 based piece of hardware. Video cards are hard to judge because so much of the discussions on the web (e.g. “Tom’s Hardware”) are geared toward hot, hot, gaming class cards that suck a lot of power, get hot, and cost a bundle. I have a 450 W power supply. I think I need a “mid-range” card, and anything over about $125 would be throwing money away. Any sugestions?

    1. Hi William,
      My son loves the Tom and Jerry app on Windows 8 – he watches it constantly on my wife’s Surface. I hope you get your issues resolved – sounds like driver issues! -M

    2. Hey, I’d suggest a cheap GT 610 if you’re still having issues, or a 640 if you have the budget for it.

  6. I like windows 8. Its really a great experience. I only have a problem with WEI. Why isn’t it working? I have searched so many articles but none of them is helpful.

    1. Hi Ali,
      I would need more information to understand why it isn’t working… unless you are using Boot From VHD? That will not work. -M

  7. I decided to go with Win 8 on my new home built PC after reading many reviews and it has turned out pretty incredible. After some getting used to, it is an improvement all around. I often sit at my work desk with Win XP (which is also really good – in a business sense) but when I am home, Win 8 is like an escape. Full of features, lighting quick, cool new look (metrosexual or whatever) and everything right there. Granted I have an SSD and a 4.2 Gh processor, plus I am used to my Windows phone, but so far so good.

  8. Windows 8 is technically great. But the decision to use that schizophrenic desktop , that is neither desktop friendly, neither touch friendly, is baffling. Desktop users saw that abomination and reacted badly. Me among them. I gave them a chance after a while, installed a start menu, and a couple more things, and now I can honestly say I like em. New task manager, some under the hood improvements, IO improvements, file copy queing omg! :P. I miss WEI in 8.1 , is there any utility out there to run/display WEI scores without all the fuss ? 🙂

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