xPud: Quickly gain access to your files and/or the Internet by booting up in under 10 seconds

Typically, it can take anywhere from 30 seconds to 3 minutes for someone’s computer to cold start. Have you ever been in a hurry and wished your computer would boot up more quickly, say in like 10 seconds? Well you know what they say – be careful what you wish for because you might just get it.

xPud is a Linux distro that boasts cold boot times of under 10 seconds. Yes, I know, I know; you must be thinking “I am a Windows user, why are you talking about Linux?” Truth of the matter is, it really doesn’t matter if you are a Linux, Windows, or Mac OS user. xPud is not intended to “replace” your main operating system (it couldn’t even if it wanted to – it only has a skeleton amount of features); if you decide to install xPud on your PC, chances are you will be dual booting with another OS. Rather, xPud is meant to serve as a quick-booting alternative whenever you need/want, well, quick boots.

As I already mentioned, in terms of operating systems, xPud can barely be considered a skeleton – xPud comes with the ability to surf the Internet (via Firefox) and access your files, and comes with a media player:

(As part of surfing the Internet, xPud includes quick-access buttons for Facebook, Youtube, Google Calendar, and Meebo.)

You can optionally install other programs such as Skype, and OpenOffice:

Via the “Setting” tab, you can do some housekeeping, such as changing the screen resolution:

Other than that, there isn’t much to xPud. However, the lack of complexity is exactly what makes xPud such an attractive package. Being so skinny, xPud boots very quickly (as I already said, under 10 seconds) and focuses on providing the user quick access to files/the Internet as opposed to providing a bunch of features. While most desktop users probably won’t find xPud too useful, people on-the-go that carry their laptops with them a lot will definitely appreciate the simplicity and speed of xPud.

What makes xPud even better is the fact that it can be used/installed multiple different ways depending on your needs/desires:

  • Create a LiveCD/Run xPud on an VM

  • Run xPud from a USB/flash drive

  • Install xPud on your hard drive and dual boot with Windows or Linux

When installing xPud as a Windows user, keep in mind that xPud behaves like a second operating system but installs like a program. So, you can uninstall xPud whenever you want by running its uninstall (found in C:/xpud).

Take note that there seems to be a problem with installing xPud if you are running Windows 7. xPud installs just fine, but it is unable to edit the boot menu so when you start your computer, you may not be given a choice to boot xPud as opposed to Win7. The odd thing is that I have faced this problem but other people have been able to install xPud alongside Win 7 just fine; so YMMV. If you are a boot menu guru, you can always manually add xPud into the boot menu after installing it if you do face the problem.

In all honesty, while I really like xPud, there is one complaint I do have against it. When surfing the Internet, the menu on the left hand side (Home, Menu, File, Setting) still appears. I want to be able to “maximize” while surfing the Internet so that the only thing I see if the website I am surfing. In other words, I want to be able to hide/show the left hand side menu at will. I hope the developer adds this ability in the near future.

All in all, I do believe xPud is a great option for those who want to be able to have quick access to their computer. You may get started with xPud by following the links below:

Version reviewed: v0.9.2

System requirements: 256MB RAM and 64MB free hard drive space

xPud homepage [xPud download page]

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20 comments

  1. Kimbe

    Hi.. Forgive this newbie question..I have a couple of flashdrives that I have used to make bootable with Paragon programs ie. Paragon Drive Backup and Paragon Backup and Recovery. Can each flashdrive store only one bootable program or can it store more than one? If the former, I’ll have to go out and buy another flashdrive specially for Xpud. Thank you for anyone who can throw some light on this…

  2. Hugh Kent Touched This

    hi ashraf. this is a great tool if it would save me boot time for some simple tasks. i do have a problem though.

    i chose the boot with xpud cd option, so i downloaded it and burned it on cd, and set my boot sequence to attempt a dvd rom boot before doing a harddisk boot. xpud was able to show a splash screen and then the monitor went “out of range.” i have no clue how to fix that without screwing up my graphics settings (specif., modifying screen resolution would supersize the desktop icons and everything else). what can i do about this? your help is much appreciated! thanks!

  3. normofthenorth

    Installed just fine, and seems to work fine — at least on the “multimedia” setting. When I tried to start it on the “just go online” setting (the default) on my Thinkpad T40, it just hung up there for some reason.

    The menu only mentions wireless connections, but it had no trouble getting to the Internet through my wired connection. (Some other Linux distros have struggled with that.)

    The shutdown is even more instant than the startup, so this may be really handy for “quick checks” on the computer, online and not!

    Great catch!

  4. RobCr

    @Jeff Rausch:
    If the title bar appears, you can just double click that.
    That is a trick that you can use in practically all programs.
    Double clicking the tile bar alternates between Maximized and ‘Mediumized’

    Rob
    PS ‘Mediumized’ is a new word that I have copyrighted.

  5. Jeff Rausch

    Ashraf,

    You are able to maximize the browser and use the full screen getting rid of the menu. When you’re in Firefox run the curser over the upper right hand side of the brower. When you do the Minimize, Maximize and close icons are visable. Click on the maximize and viola you’re browsing in full screen with no menu.

  6. Someguy

    @Ashraf:

    It is a copy of Linux that is installed on the motherboard(I saw Asus Express Gate written on the motherboard). It comes with 4 applications : Web Browser, Skype, Chat, and Online Games(a shortcut to there websites games). The web browser is a copy of Firefox 2.0, Skype is obviously Skype. Chat is a program that works with several chat clients(Gtalk,MSN,etc.)And online games is a shortcut. It boots in around 8 seconds and it boots before the bios screen. You can’t change the desktop background. It has two buttons power on, power off buttons(go to main OS and shutdown). It has a clock. And the most important thing of all! How much more do I need to write, this is hard work. Lol. That’s basically Asus Express Gate

  7. Beverly

    I’ve recently installed Linux on my ‘play’ computer and the os is Ubuntu. It’s all open source software. Ubuntu comes with Firefox and OpenOffice and a fair amount of other stuff too. Whilst I don’t have much in the way of data stored on it at the moment, it is a secondhand entry level Acer Aspire mini netbook so it doesn’t have the speediest processor – but it always boots up in 20-30 seconds. It’s helped by the lack of any security software, I don’t really see much point as the risks of infection are practically non-existent. If you’re not too attached to Windows then it’s worth giving it a go.

  8. Refpeuk

    Hey Ashraf. Just so you know, you CAN maximize the web browser. Just go to the top right-hand corner and it should curl down like a page corner. The close, minimize, and maximize buttons are under that.

  9. Epsilon222

    Hello All.

    DLed and installed (with AV disabled) to HDD for dual boot on XP Pro SP3 (P4 2.8E 1GB 3200 RAM).

    I use a VM install of a Linux distro on this machine regularly, so I was hopeful.

    Upon restart, the boot option screen came up, and in addition to the XP Pro, there were 2 choices for xPUD: Browser only (Cloud), and a multi-media install.

    When the browser-only option was chosen, my HDD went into a violent spasm for the very first time. A little scary, sounded like carpenter ants with nail guns. Ensuing error message:

    “Find set-root. /xpud/bzImage
    Error 15: File not found”

    A second restart attempt yielded the same cacophonous result.

    I tried a fresh download and re-installed. Again, the exact same error code.

    When I tried the “multi media” option at boot, there was a screen full of error codes which left me at a BASH/ command line prompt….and reaching for the reset button.

    Any similar experiences out there? Perhaps I missed something basic?

  10. Conn09

    Thanks Ashraf, i was in fact reading the forum thread about Linux Distros, where you mentioned xPud, after doing some research and fiddleing about i finally tried it and was amazed by the Speed of the machine!

    I notice that when i run any Linux Distro on my Laptop, they are never the right screen resolution and are too big for the screen, but when i change the screen resolution it blurs the screen out completely so i cant even see the controls to change it back, meaning that i have to restart. Is there any easy fix for this?

    P.S they all work fine on my desktop.

  11. JT

    Very informative. Thanks Ashraf, I definitely plan on trying this one out. So many times all I need the computer for is to surf the net and this looks like a great app. I like the USB and CD function to save from having to mess with a dual boot too. Very nice find and thanks again!!!

  12. RobCr

    It is good that there are a variety of ways of ‘installing’ (using) it.
    Say one (this one) was leaning towards the live CD.
    I assume that there would be alternative Linux OS that could provide a similar ability (perhaps a bit slower to boot), AND would also provide Recovery abilities EG –
    – Could see all your drives (partitions)
    – Could see external USB cased/docked drives
    – Allow ability to copy files from internal to external drives

    Any suggestions on the best choice ?

  13. Giovanni (King of Freebies...LOL!)

    Great find man!!

    Honestly didn’t know this program!!

    Till now I used a cool freeware called “startup delayer” that actually speeds up Windows boot time by delaying the loading of specific services at startup!!

    http://www.online-tech-tips.com/free-software-downloads/speed-up-windows-startup/

    For example, with this tool you can set your antivirus and firewall to start first, and all other applications 1 or 2 minutes after that in 10 or 20 seconds interval.

    Very COOL, isn’t it?

    So if your main goal is to speeding up your luggish boot up system you can also give this FREE tool a try: what do you make of it, Ashraf?

    To quickly gain access to your files and reduce the mouse usage to minimum terms, saying goodbye to the Windows start menu, take a look at this free tool:

    http://download.cnet.com/Executor/3000-2344_4-10876916.html

    Enjoy!!

  14. Ashraf
    Author/Mr. Boss

    @Someguy: I have heard about ASUS Express Gate before but never really found out what it is exactly. Mind explaining?

    @WobblyWombat: One of the beauties about Linux is the fact that 1) by design it is a bit more safe than Windows and 2) Most (by most I mean 99.99999%) of malware is aimed at Windows users, so even if you happen to visit a malware infested website or download some malware, it won’t do anything to your computer if you are running Linux.

    However, at the same time, I am not exactly how the data storage for xPud works, so there may be a security hole there – I don’t know.

    In the end, though, as far as I am concerned, you are relatively safe on xPud and don’t need security software.

    Oh and I don’t think you can install anything on xPud other than what comes with it, or what you can access under Setting -> Apt-Get.

  15. WobblyWombat

    Thanks for the heads up and review,I do like the idea for those times when I just want to grab a file and put it on a flash drive or whatever.
    I am curious though: if going online with a ‘skeletal’ OS, wouldn’t one be more vulnerable to malware? Part of the reason my ‘puter takes some time to boot up is that it’s loading resident AV protection, AnVir, firewall etc. Can these still be loaded? If so would that significantly increase load times to the point that one may as well not bother?