The Windows Experience Index (WEI) rating is one of the biggest tools used by PC retailers to show off the capabilities of computers sitting on the showroom floor. These numbers can look very impressive, especially when you begin to compare the score to similar systems in the store. Unfortunately, this tool can also be used by more crafty and less genuine sorts that want to sell a mediocre build to an unsuspecting customer.
Did you know that the WEI score can be falsely applied to virtually any computer running Windows 7? All it takes is administrator access, Notepad, and a minute of your time.
There are some legitimately harmless reasons to alter your computer’s score. For example, you might get a kick out of rocking the straight 7.9s at your next LAN party where everyone undoubtedly enjoys comparing hardware, especially on custom builds. You may also just want to try it out to get a better idea of how this score works, or play a trick on a friend that brags just a little too much about how awesome this system really is.
Here’s how you do it:
- Find Notepad in your Start Menu.
- Right-click it and select Run as Administrator.
- Navigate to File and Open and enter C:\Windows\Performance\WinSAT\DataStore in the location field at the top of the window.
- Switch from Text Documents to All Files in the file-type drop-down on the lower-right area of the window.
- Locate and open the file called Formal.Assessment (Recent).WinSAT.
- Hit CTRL+F and search for SystemScore. Here, you will see the score.
- Change the score to whatever your preference may be. 7.9 is the limit.
- You can also change the MemoryScore, CPUScore, CPUSubAggScore, VideoEncodeScore, GraphicScore, GamingScore, and DiskScore. All of these scores can be found in the same area.
- Save the file and check your score.
Here is a look at what the section of code should look like where the scores are located after you’ve switched them all to 7.9:
Keep in mind that the code may be a bit scrambled and difficult to read. This is because the file itself isn’t intended to be clean or easily legible to a human. Thankfully, you can isolate the WinSPR area by searching for the beginning and ending tag and hitting enter twice on either side to create a more legible workspace.
If you want to reverse this later on, all you need to do is run another assessment. This will create a new rating file with correct numbers.
Note: While this did work for me, others may need to delete the recent assessment file and run the assessment again for the numbers to change.
You should always double-check a WEI before making a purchase from anyone that you don’t implicitly trust. The score itself is relatively meaningless unless it’s been done in your presence, and often has no direct impact on overall experience. Personally, I’ve ignored the WEI rating for the past few Windows machines I’ve purchased and instead based my investment on the hardware, trustworthiness of the manufacturer, and state of the PC itself. Buying used computers can be a risk, no matter what the WEI rating is, so you should always approach these deals with a sense of caution.
So, the next time you see a WEI 7+ system on Craigslist or eBay, you might want to think twice before jumping on the deal. At the current moment, the chances of you getting your hands on a system that ranks close to a 7.9 in any category without some truly impressive high-end hardware is very, very slim.