Windows Experience Index – in 8.1 – Where is it?


Win8 Experience Index (also in Win7)
Win8 Experience Index (also in Win7)

Recently Microsoft announced  a bit of a climb down over its release of Windows 8.1 to MSDN developers (like me).  Their previous stand was for developers to get 8.1 at the same time as commercial release.

So I’ve had a look, installing it into a VirtualBox environment…

The focus of this article is on one difference, the Windows Experience Index, mine is shown in the screenshot in the top right.


Win8 Control Panel
Win8 Control Panel

Well yes and no.  Apart from the much talked about “start” button (not) re-instatement, the control panel throws out some differences for sure (see screenshots)…

Win8.1 Control Panel
Win8.1 Control Panel

….. notably the Windows Experience Index (or Performance Indicator) (or Assessment), a Microsoft gauge of the “goodness” of your machine.

Well in Win 8.1, it’s gone!  See highlight…

Or Has It?

WinSat Usage
WinSat Usage -not all shown!

Actually, it’s still there under the command line…  All you need to do is add a switch (I chose ‘formal’ as it does the lot).

The actual file that does the work is called winsat.exe and it’s in the System32 folder.  Give it a ? switch from the command prompt and all it’s inner options and usages are revealed!  (see left)

So fire up your command line and run:

C:\Windows\system32\winsat.exe formal

…then watch the process stream past.


There no nice GUI web report, of course.  The results are still there, tucked away (as they always were) as a set of XML files in the Windows directory.  Go to:


Win8.1 System Assessment Files (cmd process finished in background)
Win8.1 System Assessment Files (cmd process finished in background) find them.  The screenshot right shows the files I’ve just created and you’ll see that the process has just finished in the Command Line window and that it took 2min 49.59 secs to run all the tests.

Examining Results

WinSat Win8.1 CPU Results
WinSat Win8.1 CPU Results

Running all assessments has produced 7 files.

The screenshot here on the left shows the end of the CPU one.

The time it took is plainly visible along with the plainly poor CPU assessment (well it is in a virtual environment after all!!)


Windows Performance Index is not dead and buried in the new Windows 8.1 – it’s only been buried.

By Strangely

Founding member of the gifted & talented band, "The Crawling Chaos" from the North-East of England.


  1. I’ve now run the upgrade to 8.1  ( a bit of a service pack fix if you ask me) and the WEI is still missing from the GUI yet available through the command line – I’d call that buried, but not dead and buried, Mark.

    This agrees with the assessment from this Wikipedia article which also references Cyril Kowalski here, correctly predicting the non-GUI arrival in the final 8.1 RTM.

    It all makes the lack of the aero GUI more understandable as the focus for Microsoft has switched from being pretty to being more touchy-feely smartphone-y.  Talk about being over-engineered… my fancy graphics card just sits there twiddling its thumbs now with the fan barely crawling around and the CPU on this ageing 4-core AMD spends all day just above 10% utilisation.   It’s all good, of course – the optimising work that Microsoft has done over the last few years has seen the minimum system requirements plateau and thus slightly older yet decent kit like mine now has a longer life than I initially anticipated.

    Now to give Windows To Go a er…go.  I now have to test the enterprise version which I’ve just downloaded.

  2. WEI.exe dl at runs twice as fast as WinSAT. Same result. Anyway, Microsoft’s WEI is not “buried”. Yesterday, a microsoft Eng. was on my system, ran WinSAT with a few switches and blasted the Index right into my System window. If you really want it there. There is a catch. When it goes through the Windows GUI to get into System display, the score downgrades from 8.1 (WEI and WinSAT score) down to 7.9. But there is another catch. Looking at my box and sharpening their pencils, opinions are unanimous we should score around 9.something. Problem is Intel’s i7 cache technologies. Rendering WEI more than a little unreliable. Perhaps there are other additional problems?

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