Xperf for the layman, performance analysis unchained, Windows Assessment Toolkit revealed.

If you have been following along in performance land the last year or three, you’d hear about xperf and the WPT (Windows Performance Toolkit).  Mayhap you’ve had some time to practice and you know what you are doing.  Cool.  This tool might still interest you.

If you, on the other hand, haven’t heard of these, or haven’t had the time to spend to get good at them, then this tool will definitely interest you.

It is the Windows Assessment Toolkit.  Unlike the Windows Assessment Server, which I’ll speak to later, Windows Assessment Toolkit it a stand alone, infrastructure-less toolkit designed to help layman and skilled professional alike with client performance analysis. 

This is an option for both Windows 7 and Windows 8 by the way.

So without further ado, lets get rolling…

Step 1 – Get the tool

Go here and run the web installer for the ADK.  Cycle through the installer until you get to the checkbox list of tools and pick 2 as seen below:



Let it install.

Step 2 – Use the tool (data collection and review)

Launch the Windows Assessment Console for the Toolkit like so:


So here we have the Console Launching…and then, the console:





So, browser running slow can’t figure out why?  Want to see how long the battery will really last?  Does it take forever to startup and you want to know why?  Just some of the test cases at your finger tips.  Note all these in the default pane run only on Windows 8 or Windows RT.  But when you select “Run Individual Assessments”:


A fair amount of them can be run on Windows 7 as well as 8.  So if you don’t want to stand up the infrastructure of a Windows Assessment Server, use this to vet out the performance of hardware, your build, third party filter drivers like AV, DLP, NAC, etc.

The key to this UI though is to click “Configure” down at the bottom next to the Run button, because that’s what you can use to determine which of these ad-hoc test cases can be run against Windows 7 as well.


Note this test case can run on Windows 7.  If you wanted to make a test case to give to someone or to place on another machine, just click “Package…”


And then you can run it on a machine without having to install any console.

So click Run to do a test case.



And then it dumps you into a report view when it is complete.  All the items are clickable, and can take you into the ETW trace files if need be.  For example:


See below, we’re selected on one of the found issues and on the right hand pane we get an explanation of what the problem and recommendation are to remediate, along with a link to TechNet on what the ‘deal’ is.


Take the time to use this in your environment on workstations….why you are going to ask?  What does it get me?


Well, the driver certification and verification jobs will identify problem drivers in your build that could cause BSODs or other problems…

The File Handling test case will give you a crystal clear idea of DLP or AV’s ‘cost’ to performance in terms of file io.

Boot up is a general holistic view of the boot up process and the impact of everything on it.

Internet Explorer browsing experience is a collection of pages the job will hit locally for graphics rendering.  It’s pretty slick.  Run it and see.  How good is your GPU and GPU driver at hardware rendering?  Find out.

Check this out, see how it works, and it’ll even point you to issues in the ETW files and you can use this as a jump start to real ETW trace analysis on your own.

Hope you liked this post!

The Dude…