Xtra-PC: Education about the "PC miracle" and instructions on how to do it yourself

Do you want to make your Mac or PC faster with the Xtra PC “miracle”? You found the USB stick for € 31,12 on a website and now think you can use it to buy a new one, repair it or something similar? Well, then we unfortunately have to disenchant you. Because Xtra-PC, the USB stick that computer manufacturers and computer stores supposedly hate, is simply a Linux boot stick. This means that a Linux operating system is started from the stick. This has advantages, but also some disadvantages. Here you can find out more - including how you can build the Xtra-PC yourself for free.

Is Xtra-PC a Scam or an Expensive Service? You can use the instructions here to make an Xtra-PC stick yourself, if you have a USB stick even free of charge!

Is Xtra-PC a Scam or an Expensive Service? You can use the instructions here to make an Xtra-PC stick yourself, if you have a USB stick even free of charge!

What is Xtra-PC?

Both on the Xtra PC shop page from the USA and via affiliate advertisers from Germany you can easily find content in which the USB stick with free Linux distribution is presented as “miracles” and “magic”. Some German sites also report nameless testers who are enthusiastic. In addition, nameless retailers from computer shops with no name or location are quoted, who will "lose millions" but "admit" that "this product can save consumers a lot of money".

It borders on fraud, what is deducted with Xtra-PC and the promotion of the USB sticks. Because of course it does not replace any new hardware (CPU, graphics card, hard drive, mainboard or anything else). It only serves as a storage medium from which an operating system is started that works a little more efficiently than Windows. And this is important to know: you don't get Windows, and with it you lose the ability to run Windows apps, play most video games, and the like. Retrieving e-mails, using a web browser, listening to music, watching films, etc. is of course also possible under Linux.

Is Xtra-PC a scam?

The question naturally arises: Is Xtra-PC a fraud or just an exuberantly presented service? When it comes to the pure offer of a preset boot stick for Linux, then the offer is okay. With regard to the promotion of the product as well as some (also and above all German) affiliate sites on the topic, one can speak of deception. It is exaggerated, presumably lied with regard to the statements of users and experts, and the like. The attempt is obviously being made here to dupe a technically unenlightened target group.

If you look around in the US shop of Xtra-PC, the three versions with 16GB, 32GB and 64GB memory are offered for sale there. If you search the start page, the “How it Works” page and the FAQ page, you will only find the word “Linux” once; the distribution name "Lubuntu" does not appear at all. It does show that it is bypassing Windows and running an alternate operating system. However, the cloak of silence is wrapped about the sometimes massive differences and restrictions or changes that this entails. So is Xtra-PC fake? Not quite. Is Xtra-PC a scam? Just over there.

Make your own Xtra-PC stick: this is how it works!

If you know what Linux is and if you want to equip an old PC or Mac with standard tools for the virtual world, then you can make an Xtra-PC stick yourself. It costs less or - if you have a USB stick with 16GB, 32GB, 64GB or more lying around - free of charge. Just like the product described above for ignorant people who could fall for technical magic solutions, the stick with its own memory means that it can also be used on computers and laptops without a hard drive.

Step 1 - Download Lubuntu

Lubuntu is a lean, resource-saving and easy-to-use Linux distribution with visual similarities to Windows. There are versions for 32-bit and 64-bit systems. There is also a PowerPC version for old Apple computers and a version for Raspberry Pi 2 and 3. The download for your Mac or PC is completely free here: https://lubuntu.net/downloads/ 

Step 2 - Download Rufus or Etcher

On the Windows PC you can use the free Rufus program to mount Lubuntu on your USB stick. The Etcher app, which is also available for Windows and Linux, is ideal for this on the Apple Mac with macOS. Both programs ensure that your USB stick and the downloaded Lubuntu version are merged into a boot stick.

Step 3 - Mount Lubuntu and create a boot stick

And that is exactly the third of three simple steps with which you can build your own Xtra-PC cheaply or for free. Insert the USB stick, start Rufus or Etcher, set the necessary parameters (or leave them on the default settings) and install a fully functional operating system on the mobile memory. To use it on the Mac, hold down the Option key (Alt) and then select the stick as the start medium in the Startup Manager.

Make the old PC "faster" with a Linux stick - pros and cons

You can't make a computer faster or better with an Xtra PC or other Lubuntu boot stick. All that is running is a slim OS that uses the built-in hardware components a little more efficiently. In addition, nothing changes in the outdated version of Windows or Mac OS X. Nevertheless: If you only want to surf the web, write and receive e-mails, watch pictures, videos and films, listen to music and indulge in word processing, you can also use Linux befriend.

Use Linux boot stick

Advantages

  • Old computers can be used a bit faster
  • You can even use computers without a hard drive
  • You can make the boot stick yourself cheaply
  • Many standard computer use functions are possible
  • More and more (professional) programs are also available for Linux

Disadvantages

  • The computer is not being repaired "faster" or by magic
  • Apps that only run under Windows / macOS cannot be used
  • A change in the use of individual functions is necessary
  • A few functions and conveniences can and will be eliminated
  • There is no magic solution for technically inexperienced people


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10 comments

  1. Scheler says:

    Hello, dear Johannes,

    How good that there are people like you who unselfishly pass on their knowledge to old boys (72) who are ignorant or not very knowledgeable. I would like to thank you very much for that. May God protect you.

    Sincerely
    Klaus-Dieter

    • Jens Kleinholz says:

      Hello Klaus-Dieter! I'll answer on behalf of Johannes. We are very happy that the articles have been well received and helped you. Lg, Jens

      • Franz says:

        Thanks for the good description and instructions.
        I already thought that there was something fishy.
        I will try it out right away, because I have several laptops and PCs that are already out of date

        LG
        Franz

  2. Benjamin says:

    It was already clear to me from the first few sentences that this was a simple boot stick with a linux on it, as I have been working and developing on linux for years.

    The fact that windows programs cannot run is not entirely correct. Wine or Lutris are programs for running windows programs. The majority of all windows file formats are also supported in most distros and there are suitable programs for them. it may be that you cannot start a windows program with just one click, but if the makers of the stick were behind it, they could do that too.

    I once bought such a stick out of interest. I wanted to know whether the thing is really suitable for the target group of the ignorant and how it is implemented.

    my conclusion is that the usb sick used is a top product from the brand CnMemory which is characterized by its aluminum housing and a long-life flash memory. I own such sticks myself and am convinced of them. But as far as the user-friendliness is concerned, it's more of a mehh. The first point is to get the pc to start from the usb. Laptops in particular tend not to do this or do not have the option due to the secured bios. Then the mentioned linux distro is a more or less standard lubuntu with the xtrapc logo and a few helpers placed on the desktop.
    in short, the thing is more than operating system replacement in order to at least be able to do something with the pc again, but repairs are not possible.

    I think the price is only partially justified but the same applies to a Windows license in my opinion.
    if you are only interested in saving your data, you should buy a cheap stick, put any Linux on it and start working, but if you really want to work with it, you can buy it, you just have to cut back and adapt. but in my opinion simply save data and then install linux on the internal hdd sshdd or ssd and then work with it.

    • Jens Kleinholz says:

      Hello Benjamin! Thank you for your detailed feedback. Nice to get feedback from someone who is familiar with Linux and who has also tried the XtraPC thing. This is a nice addition to the article that will surely help many readers. LG, Jens

  3. BL says:

    A clear and beginner-friendly guide, thank you very much. Benjamin's addition is also very useful. However, it was probably written very quickly. I took the liberty of making a version that is easier to read, maybe someone will be interested:

    "It was clear to me from the first few sentences that this was a simple boot stick with Linux on it, since I've been working and developing on Linux for years.
    The fact that Windows programs cannot be executed is not entirely correct. Wine or Lutris are programs for running Windows programs. The majority of all Windows file formats are also supported in most Linux distros and there are suitable programs for them. It may be that you can't start a Windows program with one click, but if the makers of the stick were behind it, they could do that too.
    I bought such a stick out of interest. I wanted to know whether the thing is really suitable for the target group of the ignorant, and how it is implemented.
    My conclusion from this is: The USB stick used is a top product from the CnMemory brand, which is characterized by its aluminum housing and durable flash memory. I own such sticks myself and I am convinced of them. But in terms of usability, it's more of a flop. The first point is to get the PC to boot from USB. Laptops in particular tend not to do this or do not have the option due to the secure bios. Then the mentioned Linux distro: It is more or less a standard Lubuntu with the Xtra-PC logo and a few helpers that are placed on the desktop.

    In short, the thing is intended more as an operating system replacement in order to at least be able to do something with a PC again, but repairs are not possible.
    I think the price is only partially justified, but the same goes for a Windows license in my opinion.
    If you are only interested in saving your data, you should better buy a cheap stick, any Linux on it, and you can start, but if you really want to work with it, you can buy it - you just have to make cuts and adapt . But in my opinion it can save data and then Linux can be installed on the internal HDD or SSD to work with. "

  4. vera network says:

    Thank you for this contribution. That helped me alot.
    Actually, I was looking for instructions on how to make a backup copy on a stick
    can make.
    I am 66 years old and always try to do everything myself.
    Greetings Vera

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