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Games and Windows 7 : Using the Games Explorer (part 3) - Rating Your System's Performance

6/14/2014 9:18:26 PM

2. Rating Your System's Performance

One of the more interesting features in Windows 7 is the Performance Information and Tools functionality. Using a simple interface, you can let Windows test your system, determine its overall performance rating, or Windows Experience Index (WEI), on a scale from 1 to 7.9, and then get advice about ways to improve performance. This tool isn't just useful for game playing; it should be quite interesting to both gamers and anyone else who wants to ensure that their system is running as efficiently as possible.


In Windows Vista, the Windows Experience Index rated performance on a scale from 1.0 to 5.9. Microsoft raised the scale to 7.9 and made changes to the way it calculates performance in Windows 7 to address new bleeding-edge hardware components such as solid-state disks (SSDs) and the Intel Core i7 microprocessor. You can find out more about changes to the Windows 7 WEI on the SuperSite for Windows. See www.winsupersite.com/win7/ff_wei.asp.

In Windows Vista, you could access the Performance Information and Tools directly from the Games Explorer, but this is no longer possible in Windows 7. To access this tool, open the Start menu and type performance in the Search box. You'll see Performance Information and Tools in the search results list that appears.

Shown in Figure 11, this control panel gives you an idea of how fast your overall system is and rates individual components such as processor, memory, graphics, gaming graphics, and primary hard disk.

Typically, your PC's performance is tested and given a rating during initial setup. However, if you don't see a Windows Experience Index score, or perhaps if you'd like to retest the system because you've made a hardware change, you will see a button titled Rate this computer. Press the button to run the test, which takes a few minutes and then returns a score. If you've already run the test, you can click the link titled Re-run the assessment, at the bottom right of the window, to run the test again at any time.

Be sure not to do anything else with the PC while the test is running: in order to get an accurate score, Windows 7 will need unfettered access to the underlying hardware.

Figure 11. Performance Information and Tools puts your system to the test.

Based on the scores your PC and individual components receive, you may want to make some upgrades. For example, a score below 4 in any one category should be a warning sign to any dedicated gamer. You can use the various links in this window to make changes to your system that can help improve overall performance somewhat.

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