Jan Leow's Press Blog

Windows experience index & TweakVI

Microsoft has come up with a way to measure your hardware and software performance based on its configuration with Windows Vista. I didn’t really pay much attention to it till one day I happened to noticed that my Vista in my Dell Inspiron 1501 laptop was not showing any numbers at all. It took me several days to figure out why it was not working. It turn out that I have accidentally disabled this feature from the TweakVI software.

Total Idea, the company behind the tweaking software, TweakVI, has been churning out many tweaking software for the various windows incarnation. The latest being the TweakVI for Windows Vista. You can download a free version which is quite sufficient to handle most your tweaking needs. But if you are really a power tweaker, you could of course subscribe with them to unleash the full power of their tweaking program.

Head on over to the Total Idea website to download your copy:

During my search to find out why my Windows Experience Index was not working, I noticed some window users like to brag about their high index score and users who bemoan about their lousy low base score and would like to know how to bump up their index score higher. If I show my computer score the braggers would probably be laughing and the moaners will find comfort. Well, here goes: my Dell Inspiron 1501 has a base score of 2.8 while my Intel D915GEV desktop PC only has a base score of 1.0!

Windows experience index base score of Dell Inspiron 1501 laptop.

There is not much improvement that I can do with my Dell Inspiron 1501 laptop with its integrated circuits because there is hardly any room for upgrades. While I could still somehow upgrade my Intel D915GEV chipset desktop PC performance experience index base score. That’s the good thing about desktop PC, there is always some room for future possible upgrade and expansion of the system.

Windows experience index base score of Intel D915GEV desktop PC system.

Understanding the base score index wasn’t so difficult. The index base score ranges from 1.0 to a highest possible of 5.9. Microsoft plan to increase the base scores when the computer technology advances. But for now the score will be within this range. The base score can be used as guide to install software that is within the PC systems base score and below. i.e. if your computer base score is 3.0, you can confidently purchase and install software that has a base score of 3.0 and below.

To access the scores, just right click on the “My Computer” icon, go to properties and you can see the main 5 points for rating the Windows Experience Index – processor, memory (RAM), graphics, gaming graphics and primary hard disk. The lowest amongst the subscore will be the base score. You can also access the Windows experience index via the “Control Panel”, look for the “System and Maintenance” icon, then click the “Performance Information and Tools” link.

Looking at both my laptop and PC, the graphic card seems to be the main culprit of pulling down my base score. However, the low score does not mean it is the be all and end all of how you might want to improve or use your PC system. In fact the hardware with the lowest subscore may not necessary be the issue here if your PC is underperforming. And matching the software base score with that of the hardware base score may not be the right way to go either. So far I have not come across any software company displaying in their package that they need a certain base score in order for their software to be installed.

I have been looking at my Intel desktop and was thinking how best to upgrade it. The main issue seems to be the 1GB memory even though the memory subscore was 4.5; it seems to be running low on memory whenever I have many applications and windows multitasking at the same time. If you are running Windows Vista, 512MB is the barest minimum, 1GB is just sufficient, and having 2GB or more would be very comfortable indeed.

There are many reasonable priced graphic cards available which I could use to upgrade my system and improve the base score. But would it really be necessary? Well it depends whether I want to boost my ego and have a nicer looking base score, or really make use of the card for heavy graphic manipulation or hardcore gaming. Though I don’t do any of the latter, I do some simple photo editing and lately video editing, but have not reach the stage where I really need an awesome graphic processing power.

I think I’ll just leave the graphic card upgrade later and shoot for the RAM memory upgrade. It is kind of strange that the price of DDR2-RAM price has been steadily going upwards instead of coming down as most hardware prices usually do. Either somebody is manipulating the price of DDR2-RAM or the demand is somehow going up causing prices to go up too. Perhaps it is just a classic case of demand-and-supply lead pricing.

What goes up must eventually come down, so I’ll just have to wait and see where the prices will go before I make my DDR2-RAM purchase.

As for getting back my performance information display?
1) Run the Total Idea TweakVI software.
2) Click the “Miscellaneous Tweak”
3) Click the “Change System folder settings, restrict access to control panel applets”
4) Goto the “Control Panel Restrictions II” tab
5) Uncheck the “Turn off access to the Performance Center core section”

That should do it.

Related post:
Windows Vista autologin with netplwiz

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