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Windows Vista

Maintaining Desktop Health : Using Performance Information And Tools

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4/17/2013 4:04:28 PM

Performance Information And Tools is a new Control Panel item that allows users to view performance information about their computer, diagnose and resolve performance related issues, make better purchasing decisions by comparing system metrics to software requirements using the System Performance Rating (SPR) score.

Accessing Performance Information And Tools

Figure 1 shows the Performance Information And Tools user interface.

Figure 1. Performance Information And Tools.

You can access Performance Information And Tools by using the following methods:

  • From the Control Panel default view, select System And Maintenance, and then select Performance Information And Tools.

  • From the Control Panel classic view, select Performance Information And Tools.

  • From System Properties, click Windows Experience Index.


Entry points on the left side of this tool include:

  • Manage Startup Program Opens Windows Defender

  • Adjust Visual Effects Opens Personalization

  • Adjust Indexing Options Opens Indexing Options

  • Adjust Power Settings Opens Power Options

  • Open Disk Cleanup Opens Disk Cleanup Options

  • Security Center Opens Windows Security Center

  • Solutions To Problems Opens Problem Reports and Solutions

  • Advanced Tools Opens Advanced Tools to access other performance-related tools, as shown in Figure 2

    Figure 2. Advanced Tools.

Configuring Performance Information And Tools Using Group Policy

You can configure the Performance Information And Tools control panel using Group Policy by configuring the policies in the following location:

Computer Configuration\Administrative Templates\System\Performance Control Panel

Understanding Each Section of the Tool

The main screen of Performance Information And Tools (see Figure 1 previously) includes the following three sections (from top to bottom):

  • Performance Issues

  • System Capabilities

  • OEM Upsell And Help

The following sections describe these different sections of Performance Information And Tools.

Performance Issues Section

The Performance Issues section (if displayed) will list potential performance issues detected for the following scenarios:

  • Startup (boot)

  • Logon

  • Logoff

  • Shutdown

  • Hybrid-sleep (standby/hibernate)

  • Resume from hybrid-sleep

  • Start menu

  • Shell responsiveness

The following three levels of severity are assigned to these performance scenarios:

  • Minor Performance issues detectable by computer, but do not cause major functional issues. The user might not detect the issues. Displayed only in the global Event Logs.

  • Bad Performance issues that customers notice and that may be annoying. Displayed in Performance Information And Tools (and Problem Reports And Solutions) if the root cause was determined and a solution is available. Otherwise, these issues are displayed in the global Event Log and the Diagnostics – Performance Event Log channel.

  • Serious Performance issues that cause major functional issues and potential customer dissatisfaction. Displayed in Performance Information And Tools (and Problem Reports And Solutions) if the root cause was determined and either a solution or Help content was available. Otherwise, these issues are displayed in the Event Log and the Diagnostics – Performance Event Log channel.


Table 1 provides the metrics used to determine the severity levels.

Table 1. Severity-Level Metrics
ScenarioMinorBadSerious
Boot time (excluding logon and post boot time)< 15 seconds>= 15 seconds and <= 1 minutes> 1 minutes
Logon time< 15 seconds>= 15 seconds and <= 1 minutes> 1 minutes
Post boot time (time after logon)< 30 seconds>= 30 seconds and <= 1 minutes> 1 minute
Logoff time< 30 seconds>= 30 seconds and <= 1 minutes> 1 minute
Shutdown time (including logoff)< 1 minute>= 1 minute and <= 2 minutes> 2 minute
Standby/hybrid-sleep time< 7 seconds>= 7 seconds and <= 20 seconds> 20 seconds
Resume from hybrid-sleep< 5 seconds>= 5 seconds and <= 15 seconds> 15 seconds
Start menu launch time< 2 seconds>= 2 seconds and <= 10 seconds> 10 seconds
Shell responsiveness time< 1 Second>= 1 second and <= 10 seconds> 10 seconds
Shell folder open time< 10 seconds>= 10 second and <= 2 minutes> 2 minutes

When the listed Performance Issues are clicked, Problem Reports And Solutions will open. When a specific solution is viewed, that solution will be marked as viewed, and will no longer be shown in the Performance Information And Tools control panel. This list will only display high–priority items (Bad or Severe severity) and will not display duplicate solutions. The maximum size of the list at this time is six items.

System Capabilities Section

The System Capability details section contains the Windows System Assessment Tool (WinSAT) data and provides System Performance Rating (SPR) information details. The specific components of the SPR are displayed along with a single unitless metric.

The System Performance Rating consists of one main rating number and the following sub-attributes:

  • Processor

  • Memory (RAM)

  • Primary hard disk

  • Graphics

  • Gaming graphics

The overall rating number is a positive integer that starts from 1 and can continue to grow as new technology comes out. Each of the sub-attributes also has a rating and the System Properties related to these sub-attributes are listed as reference to make it easier to understand the System Performance Rating user interface.

The System Capabilities section can be shown in three different modes:

  • Unrated The computer has not yet been rated.

  • Normal The computer has been rated and the rating is up to date.

  • Dirty Hardware configuration was changed and System Performance Rating number should be updated.

How It Works: Understanding the System Performance Rating

It is important to note that the System Performance Rating number indicates the general speed and power of a computer running Windows Vista. The rating pertains only to the performance aspects that affect how well features in Windows and other programs will run on this computer, and does not reflect the overall quality of the computer. A higher performance rating means the computer will perform better and faster—especially when performing more advanced and resource-intensive tasks—than a computer with a lower performance rating. In the future, programs will be rated using the same scale as the System Performance Rating, so users will be able to confidently buy programs and other software that are rated to match the computer’s performance level. For example, if a user’s computer has a System Performance Rating of 3, she can confidently purchase any software designed for this version of Windows that requires a computer with a rating of 3 or less.

The rating system is designed to accommodate future advances in computer technology, so the standards for each level of the rating system stay the same. For example, a computer that is rated as a 4 should remain a 4 unless the computer’s hardware is upgraded. As technology continues to improve, additional System Performance Ratings will be introduced and will be available for download.

Because System Performance Rating calls for WinSAT APIs to gather information and launch tests, failures in retrieving the ratings will need to be investigated as a problem with WinSAT. This will normally be indicated by an error message similar to the following: “Windows was unable to refresh your Windows System Performance Rating.”

Microsoft Global Technical Readiness Platforms Team


OEM Upsell And Help Section

The OEM Upsell And Help section provides the following features:

  • An area for original equipment manufacturer (OEM) suppliers to place their logos and a link to a local page or their websites.

  • An area for software links that is available for the System Performance Rating as determined for the computer by WinSAT.

  • At this time, the default links point to the following default locations:

  • View software available for my rating online at http://www.windowsmarketplace.com

  • Get more information online about my system’s performance from http://www.microsoft.com.

Other -----------------
- Maintaining Desktop Health : Understanding the Windows System Assessment Tool
- Maintaining Desktop Health : Understanding Windows Eventing (part 2) - Event Viewer User Interface
- Maintaining Desktop Health : Understanding Windows Eventing (part 1) - Windows Eventing Capabilities
- Using Voice and Sounds : Associating a Sound with an Event, Using Alternatives to Sound
- Using Voice and Sounds : Letting Your Computer Do the Talking, Creating a Sound File
- Managing Windows Licensing and Activation : Notification Experience and Reduced Functionality Mode
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