Performance Rating calculation on Windows Vista

After running Windows Vista (build 5365) on my Toshiba M4 machine and as I mentioned in a previous post, the performance and the overall user experience is far better than in any previous build I've been using so far.
I'm currently exploring Windows Vista from an end-user perspective; more than from a developer perspective.
One of the screens that has been greatly improved - not only the design but also the information shown - is the system properties window. It can be accessed by right-clicking on Computer and then Properties.

This screen has four sections. But especially the second section is interesting. An overview.
Windows Edition: this part tells you which version of Windows Vista you're running. In my case it's the Ultimate SKU. The Ultimate version is the flagship edition of Windows Vista across consumer and small business desktop PCs and mobile PCs. The primary user of Windows Vista Ultimate is the individual, such as a small business owner, who has a single PC to use both at home and at work. This edition includes all of the features available in Windows Vista Home Premium and Windows Vista Enterprise. The Ultimate SKU combines the advanced infrastructure of a business-focused operating system, the productivity of a mobility-focused operating system, and the digital entertainment features of a consumer-focused operating system. For users who want their PC to be great for working at home, on the go, and at the office, this SKU of the OS provides it all. All info on the Windows Vista SKUs can be found on the Windows Vista: The Versions.

this section gives the user an insight in the processor, memory and functionality of the PC. It also lets you access the new Performance Center which help you understand your PC’s performance characteristics and manage and troubleshoot performance-related issues.
Most interesting part of the Performance Center is the Windows System Performance Rating (WinSPR). It helps you understanding the characteristics of your PC’s processor, memory, graphics card, and storage—and how these capabilities interact. The Windows System Performance Rating (WinSPR) is a simple, numeric rating system that helps you understand the performance capabilities of your Windows Vista PC and the software you want to run on your machine. WinSPR also indicates whether your PC is capable of running Windows Vista’s more performance-oriented capabilities, such as the new Aero user interface, multiple monitors, and HDTV Personal Video Recording functions—all of which have minimum performance requirements. The WinSPR rating is determined by the built-in system assessment tool "
Windows System Assessment Tool (WinSAT.exe)", which runs tests on your machine’s hardware and converts the results into a numeric performance rating of your system. The test specifically looks at your machine’s processor, memory, hard disk, general graphics capability, and gaming graphics capability.

This shows the Performance Center Rating for my
Toshiba Tecra M4.

As a test I ran the Windows System Assessment Tool (Winsat.exe) on two different systems.
The first system is a Toshiba TabletPC (Tecra M4). It shows an overall rating of 2. Strange because when calculating the average it returns 3,66. The system rating is always an integer value of “1”, “2”, “3”, “4” or “5”. It is the minimum of the integer portions of the sub scores. Note there's still a bug in build 5365 on the memory reporting. But that one has already been fixed in newer builds.

The second system is a Acer Ferrari F4000 laptop. This 64-bit AMD system shows an overall rating of 3.

The results for the
Acer Ferrari F4000.

In practice both machines run very well with this build, despite the rating difference.You could ask of course if that is useful if you don't experience any difference...
But, yes it is useful. Especially for ISVs building software on top of Windows Vista. The rating allows ISVs to display the WinSPR rating on their application packaging, indicating what level of performance is needed for their software to work well on a Windows Vista PC. Because certain Windows Vista features and third-party applications will work only if your machine meets certain hardware requirements, a new Windows System Performance Rating (WinSPR) scale helps you understand how your PC measures up and whether those features and applications will work on your machine.

Computer Name, Domain and Workgroup Settings: This section lets you change the name of the computer or join a domain. Joining a domain is only available for the Business, Enterprise or Ultimate versions.

Windows Activation: Activate your version of Windows Vista by using genuine Microsoft software. This proves that your software is legitimate and fully supported by Microsoft.

Tags: Microsoft, Windows Vista.

Comments (18)

  1. Jan Tielens says:

    Hi David, thanks for posting your experiences about Vista and your M4! I’ve got one myself too, so I’m very curious how it’s going to run. Just a quick question: did you get Aero up and running? Since the graphics card of the M4 seems to be the weak spot… Please keep us posted how stable the current versions are running! 🙂

  2. MSDN Archive says:

    Jan, as you can see on the screen dumps in a previous post ( I got Aero up and running on the M4. The graphics card is a NVIDIA GeForce Go 6600 TE 128 MB and I’m using the Microsoft WDDM dirver. When installing the 5365 build it was supported out of the box by Windows Vista; so I assume that won’t change for future builds.

    I’m pretty happy with running Vista (and Office 2007 TR1) on the M4. Just give it a try and let me know if I can help!


  3. Наверное, сейчас уже не все вспомнят старинную программу CheckIt. Когда-то она п

  4. Travis says:

    I’d like to see performance comparisons vs. XP.  If its slower, next please….

  5. Jan Tielens says:

    Thanks David! I’m using the M4 as my primary machine right now, so I’m going to wait a little bit longer before trying Vista/Office2007 (although it’s very tempting). 🙂

  6. felipe says:

    processor 2.8ghz, 1.5 gb ram, hd 80gb, 128mb graphic memory

  7. E.S. says:

    Has anyone gotten the glass effect to work w/ a graphics rating of 2.5 and overall rating of 2?  I have the geforce fx5200 128MB, which I think should be enough, but I can’t enable the glass.

  8. MSDN Archive says:

    E.S., the overall rating you get mainly depends on the graphics card rating. With your card (geforce fx5200 128MB) you should be able to get aero glass to work. Make sure you have the latest BIOS update installed and find the latest NVIDIA drivers at


  9. mike says:

    I’m running vista beta 2 with office 2k7 on a compac V2402AU with an AMD Turion 64 ML32 1Gb ram shared with a ati x200m grapichs. I get an overall rating of 2 and glass effects work fine.

    One thing I notice about performance rating calculation is that it changes. I’ve run several times and had about 3 different results.

  10. MSDN Archive says:

    Mike, this can happen due to driver updates (Eg. better aero support). Especially the video drivers play an important role in the perf rating calculation.

  11. Ash says:

    I have an M4 running Vista Beta 2. I cannot seem to get a display when i connect it to the projector. Have anyone faced this problem?

  12. MSDN Archive says:

    Yes it’s a known problem. After some research I got external display to work on my Tecra M4. Tips to get this to work: make sure you have the latest bios, the latest video card drivers and the Toshiba utilities running.

  13. Mark says:

    I’m running an Intel dual core 2.4ghz, 1 GB ram, plenty of disk space, Geforce FX 5600

    Everything looks and runs well, except for video playback.  When I try to run the sample WMV files that comes with Vista, I have no sound, and everything slows down to a crawl…maybe 1 frame every 10 seconds…terrible.  I installed DirectX 10, upgraded the video to the Vista Nvidea drivers…any ideas?  PS. Performance rating is 3. What does "3" mean, compared to what?  What is the scale?  1-10?

    Thanks – Mark

  14. MSDN Archive says:

    Mark, a couple of things you might want to check out:

    -have the latest Bios for your machine installed, -have the latest sound drivers,

    -have the latest video drivers

    Check also through Windows Update for updates.

    Score is 3/5. From the help:

    The Windows Experience Index measures the capability of your computer’s hardware and software configuration and expresses this measurement as a number called a base score. A higher base score generally means that your computer will perform better and faster than a computer with a lower base score, especially when performing more advanced and resource-intensive tasks.

    Each hardware component receives an individual subscore. Your computer’s base score is determined by the lowest subscore. For example, if the lowest subscore of an individual hardware component is 2.6, then the base score is 2.6. The base score is not an average of the combined subscores.

    You can use the base score to confidently buy programs and other software that are matched to your computer’s base score. For example, if your computer has a base score of 3.3, then you can confidently purchase any software designed for this version of Windows that requires a computer with a base score of 3 or lower.

    Your harddisk can be slow too …

    Is this the result with RC1 of Windows Vista?

  15. היי, דבר חדש שהתווסף אף הוא בויסטה הוא הדירוג שויסטה מעניקה למערכת שלכם, וזאת על-פי קטגוריות שונות –

  16. Julie says:

    I am about to buy a new laptop. The one I having been looking at comes with Windows Vista. Is Vista a good operating system for personal use or should I stick with Windows XP?

  17. Julie, Windows XP is often "good enough" but Windows Vista offers you plenty of new features. Looking forward Windows Vista is defintely a more secure and better option.

Skip to main content