Dreamscene and Windows System Assessment Tool Vista Functionality in XP
Article by George Norman
On 05 Dec 2008
When it comes to the Windows operating system, the simple truth of the matter is that a rather large number of users have decided to stick with XP, or even downgrade (upgrade to a previous, more familiar product version). The purpose of this article is to show you how to use the Dreamscene and the Windows System Assessment Tool in Windows XP. There is no reason to miss out on them just because you decided not to switch to Vista.

If you are running your machine on Windows XP, chances are that you do not know what Dreamscene is, so an explanation is in order. In Windows XP you can only set up static pictures as your desktop background; in Windows Vista, you can use animations and even videos thanks to Dreamscene technology. You too can achieve this as long as you get the XP Scene software and turn videos and animations into Windows Media Player control embedded .html files.


The explication presented above may sound rather complicated, but using XP Scene is a pretty straightforward process, involving three simple steps: select the video file you would like to use as a desktop background, select the location where you would like to save said background, convert (create the .html file with embedded Windows Media Player control). Once the software finishes this task, all you have to do is right click on the desktop -> Properties -> Desktop -> Browse -> access the folder where you stored the converted file and select it. You will have an animated desktop, but be warned that this can prove to be distracting, and can also drain some of your machine’s computing power.

Moving on to the Windows System Assessment Tool (winsat.exe), it must be said that this Vista specific application comes in handy when you have to benchmark component parts of your system and work out the Windows Experience Index. It is possible to run winsat.exe on XP, with one little catch: no Windows Experience Engine. Otherwise, the System Assessment Tool provides the same benchmarking functionality in XP as it does in Vista.

Here is what you have to do in order to run winsat.exe on your XP powered machine:
- Visit the Microsoft Download Center and get Vista Upgrade Advisor 1.0
- Use Extract Now and get that installation package out.
- With a simple command line you can then use winsat.exe on XP. For example if you want to benchmark your local drive’s read speed, the command line is “winsat disk -read -ran -drive c”.

“The basic parameter that is providing details about arguments is winsat -?. The main assessments are cpu, disk, mem, dwm, d3d, media and mfmedia which somethings require additional switches. The switches are not outlined in the help documentation. They are however available at the Technet Library page,” says gHacks.

If you are already running Windows Vista on your machine and are anxiously waiting for Microsoft to release Windows 7, here are a few software applications that will get your Vista OS to look like Windows 7. You might also want to know that Microsoft is releasing Vista Service Pack 2, and TechNet is already featuring SP2 Beta Standalone versions for several international languages.

Tags: Windows XP, Windows Vista, Dreamscene, Windows System Assessment Tool
About the author: George Norman
George is a news editor.
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