When you first install and run Windows Vista, it will calculate your Windows Experience Index score to evaluate your computer’s speed and graphics capabilities. Microsoft defines the Windows Experience Index as the following:
“The Windows Experience Index is a new feature built into Windows Vista that is designed to help you better understand how well Windows Vista and other software will perform on your PC. Your computer, running Windows Vista, is assigned a rating number called a “base score” that is achieved by measuring the capability of your computer’s hardware configuration. This base score rating will help you to more confidently buy additional hardware, programs, and software that are matched to your computer’s base score.”
WEI has been a point of contention for many Windows Vista users because the WEI scores tend to be extremely low. Unfortunately, some software requires your WEI score to be above a certain threshold for all the features to work. Fortunately, it is easy to artificially raise your WEI score by modifying the configuration file.
- The first step is to check your current score. In order to check your WEI score, go to to Start >> Computer >> System Properties >> Performance
- Click Rate this computer. It will take a few minutes while Windows evaluates your computer.
- Your baseline WEI score will now be set.
- In order to raise this score, navigate to the following directory: C:’Windows’Performance’WinSAT’DataStore Note: You will need to have your UAC temporarily disabled to proceed with the rest of these steps, if you have not done that please read "Disable UAC in Windows Vista".
- You will notice one or more XML files. Every time the WEI test is run, it will create a new XML file. Open the most recent file in Wordpad (Start >> All Programs >> Accessories >> Wordpad). Lines 14 – 21 have a simple score on each line with XML tags. You can manually change these scores to whatever value you want.
- Re-save the file with the same name and close Wordpad. If Windows prevents your from saving the file, ensure that you have disabled UAC. When you check your WEI score again, you will now notice a major improvement. Start >> Computer >> System Properties >> Performance
Your new and improved Windows Experience Index will be permanently saved until you rerun the performance test. Any features of software relying on your Windows Experience Score will now be enabled. Don’t worry if you accidentally mess up the file. You can delete the file and rerun the performance test and Windows Vista will recreate the file automatically.
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Got a question? Post it on our Windows Vista Forums!