Windows Tip Sheet

Assess for Success

Vista and Windows Server 2008 offer a way to assess your system for computer fitness.

By now, you’re probably familiar with the assessment tool in Vista that evaluates your system and derives an overall score that more or less represents how “good” your computer is. But there is also a command-line version of this tool called Winsat. To see the help screen, type C:\winsat -? from a command prompt.

Start out by running:

C:\winstat –features

You'll get a nice system summary, similar to this (formatted here for readability over accuracy):

> Operating System      : 6.0 Build-6000
> Processor             : Intel(R) Core(TM)2 CPU T5600
                          @ 1.83GHz
> TSC Frequency         : 1824200000
> Number of Processors  : 1
> Number of Cores       : 2
> Number of CPUs        : 2
> Number of Cores per Processor : 2
> Number of CPUs Per Core : 1
> Cores have logical CPUs : NO
> L1 Cache and line Size  : 32768 64
> L2 Cache and line Size  : 2097152 64
> Total physical mem available
  to the OS               : 1.98 GB (2,136,211,456 bytes)
> Adapter Description     : Mobile Intel(R) 945GM
                            Express Chipset Family
> Adapter Manufacturer    : Intel Corporation
> Adapter Driver Version  :
> Adapter Driver Date (yy/mm/dd) : 2006\12\12
> Has DX9 or better       : Yes
> Has Pixel shader 2.0 or better : Yes
> Has LDDM Driver                : Yes
> Dedicated (local) video memory : 0.00MB
> System memory dedicated as video memory : 32.00MB
> System memory shared as video memory    : 192.00MB
> Primary Monitor Size : 1280 X 1024 (1310720 total pixels)

If you want, you can save the information to an XML file:

C:\>winsat features -xml features.xml

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Winsat offers a number of subtests you can run as well such as cpu, mem, media and disk. The formal syntax can be a little complicated and unfortunately, the help screen doesn’t give you all the information you might need. You’ll need to check the documentation (click here to get it).

Here’s how you might get system information on your C: drive:

C:\>winsat disk -ran -read -drive C –v

This command will run a random read test on drive C:\. I only have room to give you a taste of this tool, but I hope you’ll investigate it further. It can only run locally and must be run with elevated privileges as an administrator. The Winsat tool is also available on Windows Server 2008.

About the Author

Jeffery Hicks is an IT veteran with over 25 years of experience, much of it spent as an IT infrastructure consultant specializing in Microsoft server technologies with an emphasis in automation and efficiency. He is a multi-year recipient of the Microsoft MVP Award in Windows PowerShell. He works today as an independent author, trainer and consultant. Jeff has written for numerous online sites and print publications, is a contributing editor at, and a frequent speaker at technology conferences and user groups.

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