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Sunday, March 28, 2010

Run WinSAT in Windows XP

The Windows System Assessment Tool is being used in Windows Vista/7 to compute the Windows Experience Index of the computer system. The tool is basically running in the background in Windows Vista to benchmark various components of the computer system. It is also possible to run the commands on the command line.
One interesting aspect of winsat.exe is that it can also be launched under Windows XP. It provides the same functionality on that operating system with the exception of the Windows Experience Engine. What you basically get is a benchmarking tool for your computer system developed by Microsoft.
The tool has to be acquired before it becomes available in Windows XP. The easiest way to do that is to download the Windows Vista Upgrade Advisor 1.0 and extract the installation package with the Universal Extractor or a similar tool that is capable of that. The other possibility would be to install the Upgrade Advisor and look into the program directory afterwards.
Winsat.exe can then be launched from the command line. The basic parameter that is providing details about arguments is winsat -?. The main assessments are cpu, disk, mem, dwm, d3d, media and mfmedia which somethings require additional switches.
The switches are not outlined in the help documentation. They are however available at the Technet Library page.
The winsat mem command supports 14 switches. Here are a few examples of what you can do with the Windows System Assessment Tool:
The following example assesses CPU performance using 256-bit AES cryptographic algorithms:
winsat cpu -encryption
Measuring read speed of a local drive:
winsat disk -read -ran -drive c
How can this benchmark aid the user? It could for instance help to determine the best location for a cache by comparing the write and read speed of all hard drives and external drives. It can also be used to measure the speed of old or new computer memory.

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