Barb just saw a commercial for something that seems a little too good to be true.

“I just saw a commercial for XtraPC. What are your thoughts on this USB port equipment. It runs on Linux. I have a Dell XPS tower that is slow. Would this product help me or would it give me more problems than I need right now.  In the YouTube commercial, it says that it’s for laptops. Would that not cover a tower chassis?”

The folks at XtraPC say their product can make your old computer new again for a price ranging between $35 and $80. While I wouldn’t say this is a scam, it is a little misleading.

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From the commercials, you might think it’s going to get your Windows or Mac system running again or improve performance. But that’s not the case. This device is actually a flash drive with a Linux operating system loaded onto it. Your computer will boot up using the Linux operating system and your computer’s hardware (CPU, GPU, and RAM, but not your hard drive)

While the operating system, programs, and files on your hard drive won’t be affected by running Linux from a flash drive, you won’t be able to access them while running the Linux OS.  And you will be limited to running programs available for your Linux-based OS.  The programs they offer on the flash drive are free and easy to download yourself. You will have to learn a new operating system.

You could easily do the same thing yourself by taking a flash drive you have around the house or by purchasing one (I found several 64 GB flash drives on Amazon in the $15 range.)

Then all you have to is download a free Linux operating system to a flash drive. I think I’ll walk everyone through the process in an upcoming article.

A better solution might be to figure out why your desktop is running so slow. If you’d care to share your operating system and where you’re seeing a slow-down, we might be able to troubleshoot it.

And there’s no reason this wouldn’t work with a desktop PC.

If it’s worth it to you to spend more money to have someone else do the work, XtraPC  should give you a working Linux computer. It may or may not be faster. If the speed issues are with your operating system or a hard drive problem, it could help. If the issue is hardware or Internet connectivity, it won’t.

In the meantime, Barb, shoot me an email with details of your PC problems. We’ll see if we can’t troubleshoot them.