What is the Windows Experience Index?
The Windows Experience Index measures the capability of your computer's hardware and software configuration and expresses this measurement as a number called a base score. A higher base score generally means that your computer will perform better and faster than a computer with a lower base score, especially when performing more advanced and resource-intensive tasks.
Each hardware component receives an individual subscore. Your computer's base score is determined by the lowest subscore. For example, if the lowest subscore of an individual hardware component is 2.6, then the base score is 2.6. The base score is not an average of the combined subscores. However, the subscores can give you a view of how the components that are most important to you will perform, and can help you decide which components to upgrade.
You can use the base score to buy programs and other software that are matched to your computer's base score. For example, if your computer has a base score of 3.3, then you can buy any software designed for this version of Windows that requires a computer with a base score of 3 or lower.
The scores currently range from 1.0 to 7.9. The Windows Experience Index is designed to accommodate advances in computer technology. As hardware speed and performance improve, higher score ranges will be enabled. The standards for each level of the index generally stay the same. However, in some cases, new tests might be developed that can result in lower scores.
To view your computer's base score
Open Performance Information and Tools by clicking the Start button , and then clicking Control Panel. In the search box, type Performance Information and Tools, and then, in the list of results, click Performance Information and Tools.
View the Windows Experience Index base score and subscores for your computer. If you recently upgraded your hardware and want to find out if your score has changed, click Re-run the assessment.
If you're prompted for an administrator password or confirmation, type the password or provide confirmation. If you don't see subscores and a base score, click Rate this computer.
If you're prompted for an administrator password or confirmation, type the password or provide confirmation.
The base score represents the minimum performance of your system, based on the capabilities of different parts of your computer, including random access memory (RAM), central processing unit (CPU), hard disk, general graphics performance on the desktop, and 3‑D graphics capability.
Here are general descriptions of the experience you can expect from a computer that receives the following base scores:
A computer with a base score of 2.0 usually has sufficient performance to do general computing tasks, such as run business programs and search the Internet. However, a computer with this base score is generally not powerful enough to run Aero, or the advanced multimedia experiences that are available with Windows 7.
A computer with a base score of 3.0 can run Aero and many features of Windows 7 at a basic level. Some of the Windows 7 advanced features might not have all of their functionality available. For example, a computer with a base score of 3.0 can display the Windows 7 theme at a resolution of 1280 × 1024, but might struggle to run the theme on multiple monitors. Or, it can play digital TV content but might struggle to play high-definition television (HDTV) content.
A computer with a base score of 4.0 or 5.0 can run new features of Windows 7, and it can support running multiple programs at the same time.
A computer with a base score of 6.0 or 7.0 has a faster hard disk, and can support high-end, graphics-intensive experiences, such as multiplayer and 3‑D gaming and recording and playback of HDTV content.
If a particular program or Windows 7 experience requires a higher score than your base score, you can upgrade your hardware to meet the necessary base score. If you install new hardware and want to see if your score has changed, click Re-run the assessment.
If you're prompted for an administrator password or confirmation, type the password or provide confirmation. To view details about the hardware on your computer, click View and print details.
The subscores are the result of tests run on the RAM, CPU, hard disk, general desktop graphics, and 3‑D gaming graphics hardware components of your computer. If your base score isn't sufficient for a program or Windows 7 experience, you can use the subscores to figure out which components you need to upgrade.
The base score is a good indicator of how your computer will perform generally. The subscores can help you understand your computer's level of performance for specific experiences:
Office productivity. If you use your computer almost exclusively for office productivity experiences, such as word processing, spreadsheets, e‑mail, and web browsing, then high subscores in the CPU and memory categories are important. Subscores of 2.0 or higher are usually sufficient in the desktop graphics and 3‑D graphics categories.
Gaming and graphic-intensive programs. If you use your computer for games or programs that are graphic-intensive, such as digital video editing programs or realistic first-person games, then high subscores in the RAM, desktop graphics, 3‑D gaming graphics, and CPU categories are important. A subscore of 3.0 or higher is usually sufficient in the hard disk category.
Media center experience. If you use your computer as a media center for advanced multimedia experiences such as recording HDTV programming, then high subscores in the CPU, hard disk, and desktop graphics categories are important. Subscores of 3.0 or higher are usually sufficient in the memory and 3‑D graphics categories.
The following conditions might prevent Windows from updating the Windows Experience Index:
Running on battery power. Windows automatically tries to conserve power when running on a battery alone. So if your computer is running on battery power, a performance assessment won't reflect its true capabilities. Plug your computer in, and then re-run the assessment.
Not enough free disk space. The Windows Experience Index assessment tool creates a test file on your hard disk. If there's not enough free disk space to create the test file, the assessment can't be completed. You can use the Disk Cleanup tool to free up disk space. For more information, see Delete files using Disk Cleanup.
The assessment is already running. If the Windows Experience Index assessment tool is already running, your scores can't be updated.
The display driver is older. If your computer is using an older version of the display driver, your scores might not be updated. For more information, see Update drivers: recommended links
No multimedia support. If your computer doesn't have multimedia support, your scores can't be updated.
Article ID: MSW700034