Friday, January 28, 2011

Quick Disk Benchmark in Windows

If you need to quickly test disk performance of an individual drive in Windows Vista and 7 without downloading any 3rd party tools, use Windows System Assessment Tool (WinSAT) from an administrative command prompt, in the following format:

winsat disk -drive C:

Substitute "C:" with the drive letter you'd like to test. To run command prompt in administrative mode, click "Start", type "cmd" in the search box, wait till "cmd.exe" shows up in the results, right-click on it, click on "run as administrator":

A command prompt box will open:

Type: winsat disk -drive C:

Substitute "C:" with the drive letter you'd like to test; press "Enter".

The command will run a minute or two. Here is what the results will look like:

Highlighted are numbers that are most important: read and write transfer rates.

There might be a million of reasons why you may need to know your individual drives' transfer rates:
  • copying from one drive to another takes a long time, and you'd like to know which one is especially slow
  • monitoring system health
  • finding out if your drives are fast enough for a specific task, e.g. capture and playback uncompressed video.
There are also other tools for testing drive speeds, from benchmark software vendors and hardware manufacturers such as BlackMagic Design and AJA. WinSAT however is already included in a standard Windows installation and may be just the right tool to quickly assess disk transfer rates.

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