Windows 7Did you know Windows 7 comes with a built-in feature to test how your computer stacks up to even the most challenging of tasks? The Windows Experience Index helps users determine what a computer can do, how it rates against other computers running Windows and whether it is time for an upgrade.

Since most users do not even know this feature exists, it can come to a shock to Windows users when they finally find it and see what score their system gets. We will take a look at the Windows Experience Index and we will see how your Windows-based machine rates.

How to use the Windows Experience Index

The Windows Experience Index gives a Windows-based computer two scores: A base score and a sub score. The sub score is given in each category and the base score equals your lowest sub score. The base score does not function as a comparative average of how your computer stacks up on the Windows Experience Index, it gives you an idea of where it is failing.

Windows approved software will often give you the version of the operating system it works for, such as Ultimate or Enterprise along with the minimum base score it can operate under. You can then pick this type of software as another way to know it will work with your computer and operating system.

Windows will base your scores on a scale of 1.0 to 7.9. Your base score represents the bare minimum of how your particular setup will perform. This will always be the lowest score out of all the assessment scores given.

In order to see what your base score is and sub scores, open your “Start Menu.”

Start Menu

In the search box, type in “Performance Information and Tools.” Click on it when it pops up.

Searching for the Windows Experience Index

This will open the Windows Experience Index. Most computers with Windows 7 will start with the base score out of the box.

Windows Experience Index subscore

At the bottom left-hand corner of the window, you will see the last time the test was run. On the right-hand corner, you will see a link to click called Re-run the assessment.

Last scan run and re-run the assessment link

Before you re-run the assessment, you want to close all open programs and any background processes that are unnecessary. Anything open and eating up memory can change the outcome of the assessment. Once you are ready, you can then proceed forward.

Click “Re-run the assessment.”

The assessment will pop-up and begin running.

Running the assessment

This will take a bit of time, so it is best to step away from the computer and take a break until it is done. Anything you do with the computer while it is running can affect the outcome.

Once the assessment is over, your score will either stay the same, upgrade or downgrade. Very rarely will your score downgrade, if it does, you may be having hardware issues and should look into getting your computer checked out to ensure it is working properly.

New assessment score

You will see which score is the lowest and you will see where your computer is failing to perform.

If you make any hardware upgrades, you always want to re-run the assessment to see how it has improved Windows 7’s performance.

What does your score mean on the Windows Experience Index?

Depending on your sub score, your computer will only be able to truly function in Windows 7 by improving on it.

For office work, you want to ensure your sub score is 2.0 or higher. For gaming and other graphic-based programs, you want a sub score of 3.0 or higher. If you want to use your computer as a media center, you want to ensure it has a sub score of 4.0 or higher.

Some ways to improve your base score in Windows 7 include:

  • Make sure you are plugged into the wall instead of running on batteries
  • Ensure you have enough space on your hard drive for the assessment tool to run
  • Check that your display drivers and memory drivers are up to date

Some hardware upgrades that will improve your base score in Windows 7 include:

  • Upgrading RAM
  • Installing a new hard drive disk
  • Utilizing an off-board video or graphics card with fan

The Windows Experience Index can help you determine if your computer needs upgrades, might be running slowly or it is time for a whole new system or set-up.

Can the Windows Experience Index indicate if you need a new computer?

The Windows Experience Index is a great built-in tool for the operating system because it can tell you what areas of your operating system need improvement. If you buy a computer, it may not always live up to your expectations but there are steps you can take to make it better. The Windows Experience Index is a great way to start figuring out what areas of your computer might be in trouble. Start with your base score and see what area needs improvement, from there you can gauge what you can and cannot do to make your computer even better.

Run the Windows Experience Index today and see what score you receive. If you have upgraded your computer’s components since the last time you installed new hardware, run it again. See if your score has improved and what else you can do to get the absolute most out of Windows 7. Depending on what you want to do with your computer, it may guide you to improve your operating system.

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