Improving the Windows Experience Index

May 8, 2011, By Christian Cawley

Introduced in Windows Vista and continued into Windows 7, the Windows Experience Index is a set of metrics by which you can judge what hardware needs to be updated on your PC, or if it’s time for a new laptop.

The system works by measuring the speed of your computer in several ways, and offering a base score for each hardware component, scoring somewhere between 1 and 7.9. Obviously 1 is the lowest score, and where a low score is found this will impact on your Windows Experience Index rating.

Improving the Windows Experience Index

After years of only being able to tell if your Windows computer is any good or not based on the quality of the software it runs, thanks to the Windows Experience Index it is now possible to not only get an idea as to how good your PC is, but what you need to change to make it better.

Viewing the Windows Experience Index

In order to check your current Windows Experience Index score, head to Start > Control Panel > System and security > System > Check the Windows Experience Index.

Here you will find the Processor, RAM, Graphics, Gaming graphics and Primary hard disk speed rated and scored, allowing you to get a good picture of your PC and what needs to change.

(Note that Graphics and Gaming graphics get separate entries as a PC might be more capable of gaming graphics than the desktop Aero graphic operations that typify Windows 7 and the way the user interface appears.)

Along with these items and their individual Subscores, the Base score is listed. As described above, the lowest score for your CPU, RAM, graphics and disk speed is the Base score of your computer (low score = base score; the clue is in the name!).

This might deliver a few surprises. For instance you might upgrade your PC almost completely, keeping hold of one or two hard disk drives to take advantage of other partitions that might have useful files and folders on them, and use one of these disks to install a new Windows 7 partition upon. However a quick check of the Windows Experience Index after installation might reveal a shocking truth – while almost all of your hardware scores above 7, your hard disk drive doesn’t, dragging down your Base score!

The reason for this is simple. Hard disk drives might seem like the most constant elements of a computer, but the age just as quickly as RAM and CPUs. Just as processors and memory increase in speed, so do hard disk drives, and it is this very metric that the Windows Experience Index measures. As such a slower hard disk drive will have a lower subscore and your computer’s Windows Experience Index rating with be awarded a lower-than-expected Base score.

For the highest Windows Experience Index Base score, choose the fastest hardware!

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