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Configure Windows System Assessment Tests Scores

Applies To: Windows 7, Windows Server 2008 R2


This content applies to Windows 7. For Windows 8 content, see Windows Deployment with the Windows ADK.

The Windows® System Assessment Tests (WinSAT) are used to analyze the performance of several system components, including CPU, memory, disk, and graphics. Data generated by these tests are used by the following:

  • Windows components, such as the desktop window manager (DWM) and high-definition video playback, to scale functionality.

  • Logo programs, including SYSFUND_46 (Aero), to assess system quality.

  • Velocity tests, to help you make decisions about system-component quality.

The WinSAT results are summarized in the Performance Information and Tools Control Panel item as Windows Experience Index (WEI) scores. These scores show consumers the performance characteristics of their systems.

Windows® 7 has a strong focus on reducing the duration of Setup for end users, so that they can begin using their computers as soon as possible. To speed up the experience, the majority of WinSAT assessments can be run either before or after Windows 7 out-of-box setup. The only WinSAT assessment that must be prepopulated or run during out-of-box setup is the desktop window manager (DWM)/Aero test. This test is used to determine whether the desktop window manager can enable the Aero user interface, desktop composition, and related features. This test is fast; it can take 15-35 seconds, and the average time seen in testing is under 20 seconds. If you prepopulate the DWM test, the initial out-of-box experience (OOBE) will be even faster.

Because the remaining assessments are not run during the out-of-box experience, the WinSAT and WEI scores are no longer generated at this point. Instead, the scores can be generated at three other times, using other mechanisms besides running WinSAT during first boot.

  • End users can explicitly request an assessment by using the Re-run the assessment option in the Performance Information and Tools Control Panel item.

  • When the system is idle, subsequent to the first boot, the remaining WinSAT assessments will run if they were not prepopulated.

Implementation Details

You may use the prepop option with the WinSAT command-line tool to run assessments against component systems.

To run WinSAT per computer (for all systems):

  1. Install Windows 7.

  2. Add supplemental components, such as out-of-box drivers.

  3. Run WinSAT prepop. This will generate the WinSAT prepop .xml results files to the Datastore directory, located at: %WINDIR%\performance\winsat\datastore\

  4. Run the Sysprep tool. This will clear out any non-prepop WinSAT .xml files.

The system is now ready. It can be shipped as-is, or an image could be created for re-use. The benefit of running all of the WinSAT assessments per computer image is that the customer’s computer always has a complete set of WinSAT results. It also has the most accurate WinSAT results. In this use, accurate means that if the consumer used on-demand rating of a system, that system would get a rating equal to or greater than the rating that was prepopulated by WinSAT.

Prepopulation is not meant to enable transferring WinSAT data among systems with very different capabilities, such as among laptops and desktops, because the data is not accurate across widely differing systems. Instead, it is meant to make it easier to re-use WinSAT data among similar systems; those systems that contain the same motherboard/chipset and similar CPU, video cards and disks.

The following procedure describes how to run WinSAT on selected configurations within a line of similar computers. This involves running the WinSAT prepop commands multiple times.

To run WinSAT for selective configurations and components:

  1. Identify the reference configurations.

  2. Install Windows 7.

  3. Add supplemental components, such as out-of-box drivers.

  4. Run WinSAT prepop.

  5. Run the Sysprep tool. This will clear out any non-prepop WinSAT .xml files.

  6. Copy the resulting WinSAT prepop .xml files to the network share that you are using to store WinSAT results.

  7. Upgrade one of the components. For example, increase the memory of one configuration in your set of computers.

  8. Run WinSAT prepop -mem test. Using the tool this way ensures that only tests relevant to the specified component will run. An additional .xml file is generated that shows the memory test results.

  9. Restore the original memory configuration, and upgrade a different component, such as the video card.


Because WinSAT results can be used with configurations of the same level or higher, if you revert to the base configuration, the test results are relevant to a broader range of computers.

  1. Re-run the test using the WinSAT prepop -graphics command. Only tests relevant to the specified component run. An additional .xml file is generated for the Graphics results.

  2. Store the new results files with the original .xml results files on your network share.

  3. To prepopulate the WinSAT results for a new computer with similar components, copy the .xml files from the network share to the target computer's WinSAT Datastore directory: %WINDIR%\performance\winsat\datastore. You can copy the entire set of WinSAT files from the network share to the local WinSAT directory. WinSAT will find the correct set for the current computer.

During the OOBE pass of Windows Setup, WinSAT examines the following directory for results files: %WINDIR%\performance\winsat\datastore. If WinSAT does not discover a relevant set of .xml files, it will ignore the irrelevant files and treat the system as unrated. The DWM test will run during OOBE, and the other test will run on system idle or when the end-user opts to run the tests form the Performance Information and Tools Control Panel item.

WinSAT determines relevance by using hardware IDs. This includes: CPUID, memory DIMM configuration, hard disk model and size, and video card PNP ID. If the relevant secondary assessment is not present, WinSAT will run both the primary and secondary assessments; for example, both CPU and memory.

The advantage of this second option, running on selective configurations, is that WinSAT assessments may be run on fewer configurations and copied to similar systems. The disadvantage is that if a set of WinSAT files is not relevant to the current system, those tests will be ignored and the system will be treated as unrated.

WinSAT Prepop Command-line Options

The syntax for prepopulation is as follows:

Winsat prepop [-datastore <directory>][-graphics | -cpu | -mem | -disk | -dwm]

The following command will run all WinSAT tests: Winsat prepop.

You can prepopulate only one subsystem, such as DWM, subject to the following dependencies:

  • The DWM assessment can be run independently.

  • The disk assessment can be run independently.

  • The CPU assessment requires that a relevant memory assessment is present.

  • The memory assessment requires that a relevant CPU assessment is present.

  • The graphics assessment requires that relevant CPU and memory assessments are present.

The WinSAT file naming pattern is as follows:

For Windows 7, there is a new %type% identifier, “Prepop”. This clearly identifies datastore files that are a result of prepopulation. The new naming pattern is :

%IdentifierDerivedFromDate% %Component%.Assessment(Prepop).WinSAT.xml

Where %IdentifierDerivedFromDate% is year-month-day and time represented as, for example, 0008-09-26 14.48.28 where the test was run on September 26, 2008 at 2:48:28 PM.

See Also


Configure Other Windows Options