How-To Geek

View Hidden 3D Benchmarks in Windows Vista

There’s really nothing useful about this tip, but it’s still pretty cool. There’s a utility built into Windows Vista used for benchmarking your system called the System Assessment Tool. What most people don’t know is that you can call this utility from the command line and view some cool 3D benchmarks.

You should be able to use a regular command prompt, but you’d have best luck using an administrator mode command prompt. (right-click and choose Run as Administrator). You should also note that it will temporarily disable Aero before running the test, but don’t worry, it will re-enable it after.

Here’s some mini screenshot examples for your enjoyment, the real thing will run fullscreen. Try the command right above each one to see it on your own computer. 

winsat aurora


winsat d3d -texshader -totalobj 15


winsat d3d -objs C(20) -texshader -totalobj 50


winsat d3d -totalobj 20 -objs C(20) -totaltex 10 -texpobj C(1) -alushader -noalpha -v -time 10


winsat d3d -totalobj 20 -objs C(20) -totaltex 10 -texpobj C(10) -alushader -v -time 10


You can adjust the commands on the prompt if you want to try to get different combinations.

Lowell Heddings, better known online as the How-To Geek, spends all his free time bringing you fresh geekery on a daily basis. You can follow him on if you'd like.

  • Published 06/18/07

Comments (18)

  1. LiveWings

    Cool… thanks… x)))

  2. Eek

    what are benchmarks?

  3. The Minstrel


    Benchmarks are tests you can run on your computer to test system performance and how well your hardware can hold up to stress levels etc.

    Aurora is damn nice.

  4. Elias

    It just pops up another command prompt but no animations in full screen. Just some stuff showing ram and video memory :S

  5. Khiem

    thank you very much…nice tweak

  6. Chahat

    Hi. I was just wondering if you could use a benchmark as a screensaver. Thanks.

  7. ph15h

    I wish I could have these as my Screensaver…

  8. BaBaBue

    I use them as a screensaver of sorts. Open notepad and copy the lines up until the -time part of the line or change the -time to number of seconds you want it to run. Paste into notepad and save as a .bat file. then just doubleclick the saved file to run.

  9. M56

    Do you think you can set the Aurora thing as a desktop background or a log on screen background?

  10. AssimilatorX

    I all ready killed the System Assessment Tool from my install dvd wth so many thing what i never used but nice work u did. :D

  11. car

    winsat is used to calculate the PC score in Windows Vista’s control panel.

  12. AssimilatorX

    I have not not mandatory 2 belive me just use WAIK and you’ll see.. Can take off any crap you want (can be found in MS web suite)
    Have a nice day!

  13. Matthew

    Heh heh. Cool.

  14. Mizta Insane

    how to make it a screen saver

    Click on Start, and in the Start Search field type “regedit” (with or without the quotes).
    If User Account Control prompts you for consent, click on Continue or provide the proper credentials.
    In the Registry Editor window in the left hand pane navigate to “HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Screensavers\Aurora”
    In the right hand pane, right click on an empty spot and click “New > DWORD (32-bit) Value”.
    Give the new DWORD value a name of “NumLayers” (without the quotes).
    Double click on the “NumLayers” DWORD value and next to “Base” on the right hand side select “Decimal”.
    Give the DWORD value a numerical value of your choice.
    Repeat these steps for the “Amplitude” and “Speed” REG_DWORD values outlined below if you wish, and when setting the value type choose “Decimal” under the “Base” settings in the value dialog.
    Right click on the Desktop and click on Personalize.
    In the Personalization Control Panel window click on “Screen Saver”.
    In the Screen Saver Settings window, under “Screen saver” select the “Aurora” screen saver and click the OK button, or click Preview to view your changes.
    Other settings and explainations:

    NumLayers is a REG_DWORD value (Decimal) that can be set to any number that you desire between 1 and 15. For a darker aurora effect I’d recommend using 2 or 3. For a strong aurora effect, choose 10 or 12. Do not set this value past 15.

    Amplitude is a REG_DWORD value (Decimal) that can be set to any number between 500000000 and 2000000000. The lower the value, the slower the screen saver is. This setting also seems to affect the amount of brightness in certain areas of the aurora effect. I’d recommend a value of 1073909999.

    Speed is a REG_DWORD value (Decimal) that can be set to any number between 1000000000 and 2000000000. For a slow aurora effect, I’d recommend using 1000000000.

    If you would like to return the screen saver to its default settings, simply delete any of the REG_DWORD values that you created from above in the Registry Editor.

    Mizta Insane

  15. Ivan

    cool. member it

  16. Dave

    Great fun. To run these quickly in Vista, set up 5 desktop shortcuts.

    1- copy one of the above commands to the clipboard

    2- right click on desktop and select New, shortcut the paste the command
    into the box ‘Type the location of the item’ – click Next

    -3 type a name, click Finish.


  17. Dave

    Correction, sorry.

    Great fun. To run these quickly in Vista, set up 5 desktop shortcuts.

    1. copy one of the above commands to the clipboard

    2. right click on the desktop, select New, Shortcut.

    3. paste the command into the box – ‘Type the location of the item’ – click Next

    4. type a name, click Finish.


  18. Bapin

    thanks for the great hidden features!

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