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The Xtra-PC web-site describes a cheap USB device that can speed up old PCs:

Make everything fast again with Xtra-PC: browsing the Internet, writing emails, watching videos, playing games, and more!

It’s the quickest, most affordable way to get a new computer - even works on computers with bad or missing hard drives!

The How It Works explains that it is a USB flash drive, with a copy of Linux on it, to bypass the Windows operating system installed on your (post-2004) PC.

It looks like scam. Is this true?

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SUMMARY:

  • No, it does not make your computer hardware run any faster.
  • It may make the common software applications they provide for you run faster, depending on how your old machine is configured.

As indicated in their How It Works page, it is actually a USB key holding a Live USB Linux Distribution.

There is thus no hardware involved to make the computer faster (and they do not claim there is), except if your hard drive is slower than a flash USB stick. It is only a replacement for the software that is currently installed on your computer by (supposedly) lighter and faster software.

Your PC will thus remain as fast as it used to be (from a hardware point of view), and a benchmark would probably not show much difference between a clean system and Xtra-PC.

It might feel faster though, thanks to the alternate software Xtra-PC runs – the actual result will depend on how bloated your computer currently is, as stated in their FAQ. As they indicate too, you might not be able to run the same software you are used to, so you would not be able to compare the speed of those.

As to whether it is a scam, anyone can judge considering the following points:

  • They do not advertise what Xtra-PC actually does on the main and ordering pages;
  • You basically pay for a 8 to 128GB USB key, preloaded with a lightweight Live USB Linux Distribution;
  • They provide support and a money-back guarantee;
  • They indicate that they provide the source code on request, so it looks like they respect the GPL.

I could not find any actual performance tests online (only a blog post indicating a 29% boot speed improvement over Windows XP). It would be especially useful to compare the different models of Xtra-PC, as they claim some are faster.

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    @JanDvorak Nope. The $25 version is for the 8GB model. The 128 costs $80. You could get a 128 stick in the $25-30 range on Amazon though ;) – Is Begot Oct 10 '16 at 4:58
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    This answer seems to address a straw man. The Xtra-PC does not claim to make your hardware faster, rather make you 'PC' faster, therefore the rationale behind the 'no' is flawed. The correct answer should be 'yes' or 'maybe'. – NPSF3000 Oct 11 '16 at 2:34
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    @Didier "Well, a PC/computer is piece of hardware" Needs reference. In particular, is that what the audience of this advert believes. Read the quoted claim again: "Make everything fast again with Xtra-PC: browsing the Internet, writing emails, watching videos, playing games, and more!" To focus on the hardware is a straw man. – NPSF3000 Oct 11 '16 at 13:16
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    The purchaser might be a little disappointed to find that all the software installed on their "old" slow PC is missing from the "new" fast one. And depending on how well it recognises the original hard drive, all their files too! And just uninstalling everything would also make a PC faster, at the cost of some functionality. As it is marketed as a way to speed up a PC, but actually just launches a linux distro, it's a scam. The fact that the marketing doesn't outright lie just makes it borderline, almost, arguably, kind of, legal - ish. : ) – Grimm The Opiner Dec 30 '16 at 13:01
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    That it make everything fast again is a lie of sorts. My World of Warcraft won't run any faster on it ( it won't run at all, actually), so if I was buying this to make my old PC games run faster, I would be really disappointed. – T. Sar Oct 25 '17 at 8:50

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