Windows 8.1 preview removes Windows Experience Index

Windows 8.1 may add a number of new features to Microsoft's latest OS, but it is also removing some features as well, such as the Messaging app. Now it appears the public preview of Windows 8.1 has put an end to a feature that was originally put into Windows Vista back in 2007.

As spotted by McAtkins Online, the preview build of Windows 8.1 does away with the Windows Experience Index, which was set up by Microsoft to give PC owners a quick way to determine the overall hardware performance on their computer. At the time of its introduction over six years ago, Microsoft indicated this would provide an easier method to find out if a software application would be able to run on an owner's PC.

In practice, however, there was very little use of the Windows Experience Index by outside software makers, who continued to use the typical hardware requirements labels to give consumers the info on their products. The Windows Experience Index was, in fact, not put into Windows RT when it was released in October 2012, but Windows 8 still had the feature. Now it looks like Microsoft has removed the index entirely with the Windows 8.1 public preview. We have emailed Microsoft to get a more concrete reason why the Windows Experience Index was not included in Windows 8.1.

Source: McAtkins Online | Image via McAtkins Online

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42 Comments

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really liked it.. they will probably release a benchmark app.. the whole index is a bit useless because it does not measure battery life which is the new most important factor for most tablets and laptops.. which is the majority of all computers now..

I assume it's because Microsoft wants to do hardware more and they may look bad if third parties "do Windows better" than those behind Windows itself. It's a different world now than the old, OEM dominated one.

Auditor said,
They did that intentionally as they don't want WEI to be 2 for their crappy Surface tablet.

Excellent logic except Windows RT did not have WEI as the article mentioned back in October 2012. Likewise, the Surface Pro has WEI score of about 5.6. The RT version (or any RT tablet) does not need WEI simply because they don't support desktop apps. All of the RT-based tablets use the WinRT APIs so they are almost guaranteed to work for all tablets.

Morons will always say feature X was useless because they didn't know how to use it or what it was used for. God help them.

funkydude said,
I hope they also removed it running WinSAT on a schedule.

WinSAT was never on a 'time based' schedule. It only fired when conditions were met, like new hardware, new drivers, and the system would be idle.

Unless you changed out your video card every day, it would not run again.

PS It also optimized settings in the OS, which beyond the WEI was important for how the OS would handle everything from video decoding to adjusting how the caches work with priority and latency adjustments for each of your hard drives. (As an example)

I now officially like Windows 8.1 more than Windows 8 :-)

I still hate the fact that:
- The development API are all for Full Screen
- There is no Aero Glass

but the rest of the OS looks pretty good, including the new start button and start screen.

Today when I was in the computer store, one person asked them to search for him if they have a laptop with Windows 7 and insisted on 7

john.smith_2084 said,
I now officially like Windows 8.1 more than Windows 8 :-)

I still hate the fact that:
- The development API are all for Full Screen
- There is no Aero Glass

but the rest of the OS looks pretty good, including the new start button and start screen.

Today when I was in the computer store, one person asked them to search for him if they have a laptop with Windows 7 and insisted on 7

Um, which development API(s)? Windows 8 supports all the same development APIs that Windows 7 does, and adds a lot of new frameworks and APIs to be utilized.

As for your shopping experience... I know people that still prefer a handwritten ledger for accounting too. It doesn't make the pen and paper method far superior to Excel.

The individual scores may have helped in some situations, but the overall score was meaningless since it wasn't an average. It was a nice idea to try and help people purchase the correct software, as I remember how difficult it can be to purchase PC software, especially games (which I almost never do now).

It wasn't meant to be an average. It was designed to show you which bits of your system were holding the others back.

It was not useful for telling anything except that component X wasn't fast enough for MS. The scale of WEI wasn't even from 0-10 but something like 0-7.9. Also it didn't give any good info as you can't tell that if a GPU with a score of 7.0 is all that much slower than one with 7.3.

It has largely become irrelevant due to hardware surpassing software. Nowadays I don't think you can even buy a new computer that is crappy enough that it won't run Win7/8 decently.

Northgrove said,
Exactly. Given Microsoft's entrance here, it's not that hard to come up with an explanation.

Well it wasn't accurate. The total score was the lowest score you had. So if a computer had a great CPU and graphics card but a hard drive it could score lower than a computer with a lesser CPU, graphics card that can't play a game, but is equipped with a SSD.

Or a computer with a great CPU and low GPU would score lower than a computer with a slightly worse CPU but a better GPU, even if the intended use of the PC was not for gaming but for CPU intensive workloads.

gamesfan9000 said,
WinSAT seems to still exist as a command line tool, although it is likely only for backwards compatibility.

WinSAT also optimized several settings, especially things like video decoding, etc.

It was horrible, it was pretty much meaningless. Non-techy users would use this score to decide which hardware to buy instead of researching proper specs and understanding them. Also the score is effected by drivers. I'm glad that they have removed this.

Excellent WEI representation my friend. (there is a rare showing of some good grammar. I'm a writer but when I am on places like Neowin don't really show it too much.)

theyarecomingforyou said,

Originality: 7.9
Relevance: 7.9
Excessive use of W's: 7.9
Punctuation: 1.0
-
Total score: 1.0

Well played, good sir.

By the way, just so you know, WEI has increased it's max score to 9.9 in Windows 8.0. It used to be 7.9 in Windows 7, but because hardware has advanced much since Windows 7, the highest is 9.9.

torrentthief said,
Also the score is effected by drivers. I'm glad that they have removed this.

Agree that it was for non technical people; however, the point of the score was to illustrate effective performance of the hardware with drivers.

Even if a user had the latest video card, but the drivers were crap or using the wrong generic SVGA driver, the score would properly identify a problem.

Also remember...
- It is hard to benchmark without considering drivers.
- Performance of hardware is dependent on good drivers to bring that speed to the user.

The removal is probably for the best as it has turned into more 'confusion' than help for most people. However in a casual remote tech scenario, one could ask a user what the hardware was, and then what the WEI number was to identify a discrepancy to solve problems.

torrentthief said,
Also the score is effected by drivers. I'm glad that they have removed this.

Why shouldn't it have been affected by drivers? It tested the raw performance of your hardware, not what it claims it could do. You could have the best graphics card available, but if you ran it with standard VGA drivers, you'd never get much in the way of performance out of it for example, so in this way, it was actually much more accurate.

Edit: What Mobius Enigma said.

Couldn't you use the Neowin forum as source? I thought this was one of the popular topics last week or something? :-)