When you do advanced tasks with your PC, the performance capabilities of your PC hardware—the processor, memory, graphics card, and storage—can make a big difference. But understanding these capabilities and how they interact can be challenging.

Windows Vista introduces Windows Experience Index (WEI) to help you understand your PC’s performance capabilities, and to ease the task of buying new PCs, hardware, and software.

Windows Experience Index is a simple, numeric system that rates how well your PC can run the performance-oriented features in Windows Vista, such as the new Windows Aero user interface, multiple monitors, high-definition TV, and personal video recording. The numerical rating can also help you match the right software to run on your PC.

The Windows Experience Index rating is determined during the installation of Windows Vista. The rating is computed by running a set of capability tests on five critical hardware components:

Each test results in a capability score between 1 and 5.9 for the component. Since a PC’s performance is limited by the lowest performing component, the overall test result, or “base score,” for the PC is determined by the lowest of the five scores.

The rating system is particularly useful for consumers when:

  • Buying a new PC: The WEI score of a PC can help you determine if it will be able to perform well in its intended use and take advantage of all of the capabilities of Windows Vista.
  • Upgrading a PC: The WEI scores can be used to determine which PC component would be the most beneficial to upgrade and what performance change you might expect.
  • Buying software: Microsoft is working with software developers to include the recommended Windows Experience Index score on software packages. When buying new software, consumers will be able to use this score to determine if their PC would be able to run the software well.

Retailers and PC, hardware, and software manufacturers can also use the Windows Experience Index to help customers shopping for PC hardware and software by:

  • Displaying the Windows Experience Index of PC and components they sell
  • Better inform customers about recommended system requirements needed to run their software
  • Enabling customers to compare the performance rating of different products

The Screencast

mms://wm.microsoft.com/ms/inetpub/keithcombs/p26WindowsExperienceIndex.wmv