OfficeBench 7: A cool new way to evaluate PC performance

New tool lets users compare how Microsoft Office runs on their PCs to what other users experience

Interested in PC performance? Looking for a way to benchmark Windows 7 versus Vista versus XP? Then check out OfficeBench 7, the latest incarnation of the OfficeBench family of benchmarking tools from InfoWorld's development partner, the

What is OfficeBench?
OfficeBench 7 is a cross-version test script that uses your existing installation of Microsoft Office to evaluate your PC's performance. Unlike other real-world application test tools -- which tend to break when run outside of pristine conditions -- OfficeBench 7 is designed to test your PC as is. It uses the Office COM interfaces (such as OLE Automation) to drive Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and Internet Explorer through a series of scripted knowledge-worker tasks, all the while measuring how long each application takes to complete its portion of the sequence.

[ Get OfficeBench 7 and the companion Windows Sentinel PC-monitoring tools from InfoWorld, at no cost. | Get InfoWorld's Windows 7 Deep Dive 21-page PDF report to prepare for the new Microsoft OS. ]

The net result is a simple score -- time to completion, in seconds -- that makes it easy to compare different Windows and Office versions and configurations. For example, you may be running Windows XP with Office 2003 today, but you plan to upgrade to Windows 7 and Office 2007 once the new OS ships. OfficeBench makes it easy to assess the impact that this transition will have on your PC's performance. Simply run OfficeBench before and after your upgrade, then compare the results. You may be surprised at what you find.

How OfficeBench works
Because OfficeBench 7 drives the Microsoft Office suite programmatically, it's immune to the kind of disruptive UI changes that break other scripts. As noted previously, this also means that OfficeBench can run unmodified across multiple generations of Office. The same script can be used to test test Office 2000, XP, 2003, and 2007, as well as the Office 2010 beta release. It's also OS version-independent, allowing you to test any of these suites on Windows 2000, XP, Vista, or Windows 7. OfficeBench 7 can even be used inside a Windows Terminal Services session. (To see how OfficeBench 7 works and what its options are, check out InfoWorld's OfficeBench 7 slideshow.)

The script's simple, self-contained design makes it perfect for evaluating multiuser server capacity and scalability. And, of course, OfficeBench runs great inside a VM. In fact, OfficeBench is compatible with all major VM monitors, and its core test engine can be adapted to run within most of the leading application virtualization environments, including App-V, ThinApp, SVS, XenApp, and XenoCode.

Where to get OfficeBench
InfoWorld is partnering with the to make OfficeBench 7 available for free to users of the Windows Sentinel performance monitoring service. With nearly 20,000 users, the maintains the world's largest repository of real-world system and application metrics. OfficeBench 7 users can tap into this repository, measuring their own PC's performance vs. the collective results from systems around the globe.

You can get your own copy of OfficeBench 7 by signing up for InfoWorld's free Windows Sentinel service. Once registered, you can download OfficeBench 7, along with Windows Sentinel, and receive a private Customer ID that you can use to save your OfficeBench results at the exo.repository site. You can also compare them to the average from the other systems that have uploaded their performance data.

If you're already a Windows Sentinel user, you'll want to download the new DMS Clarity Tracker 7 package and use it to upgrade any existing Clarity Tracker installations before installing OfficeBench. (If you've forgotten your Windows Sentinel Customer ID, which you'll need to download OfficeBench, you can get it by entering just your e-mail address at the Windows Sentinel page.) You can also get both OfficeBench and the updated Clarity Tracker (the tool that powers Windows Sentinel) from the Windows Sentinel page at

This story, "OfficeBench 7: A cool new way to evaluate PC performance," was originally published at Follow the latest developments in Windows and Microsoft Office at