Asus Express Gate – fast OS or useless toy?

splashtop_icon Took me a while to get to it (says something about how appealing idea is) but today I tried Express Gate function on my newish Asus motherboard.

Express Gate (aka Splashtop) is light Linux distribution integrated with hardware to provide fast boot into light shell with basic networking functions.



What it does

Express Gate is Linux based OS with limited functionality:

  • web browser (Firefox based);
  • some games (online, probably Flash based);
  • image viewer;
  • instant messaging (Pidgin);
  • VOIP (Skype).

Unlike usual OS distributions it requires some degree of hardware support so mostly comes bundled with such.

As I remember early versions were running from flash chip integrated on motherboard, but that was later changed (probably to cut costs) to hard drive installation. By the way installation is Windows-only but at least manual mentions option of installing on flash drive.



Express gate does boot quite fast comparing to average Windows installation. Still do not expect anything instantly - it takes quite a few seconds to boot shell itself and (subjectively) even longer for browser.

Network support is good, connection to my D-Link wireless router was properly detected and worked automatically.

Biggest downside turned out to be poor screen resolution support. There was no 1440x900 to choose and even switching to 1280x800 of same proportion asked for reboot but came up at default low resolution anyway.


Express Gate does more or less what it promises - fast boot with basic browsing and communication. While this might be nice option on netbooks and notebooks, for desktops it is solution in search of a problem.

Short of setting up dedicated PC in kiosk mode I see no advantage of using it over simply booting into Windows.

Link www.splashtop.com/

Related Posts


  • Donace #

    I suppose it would be a good thing to have if somehow you mess up the windows installation. I.e virus scans etc. I mean right now I use windows 'live' (ie boot of a dvd) but this could be useful for troubleshooting.
  • Rarst #

    @Donace Yep, if it actually had virus scan, etc. Which it sadly doesn't as well as no option to add any software to it.
  • p1ague #

    I am reading this in the splashtop browser on a laptop, and I agree, can't imagine any use for it on a desktop, it seems to me a handy thing for when I pick up my laptop just to look something up on IMDB or something, which happens often enough that I like the idea of it. EXCEPT - in my experience the touchpad is by far the worst functionality I've ever seen. It's not the touchpad itself, it works great in windows, but something about splashtop can't do it right, the mouse pointer jumps around randomly clicking things every time you touch it. As long as you KEEP your finger on the pad you can move it smoothly, but every time you lift up (like when you reach the edge of the pad, which happens constantly with touchpads) it jumps and clicks everything between where it is and where it teleported to. For me, that makes it very nearly broken. If I have to get out an external mouse every time I want to use the quick-boot functionality, it kinda defeats the purpose.
  • Rarst #

    @p1ague Yeah, it seems to have crappy hardware support. And updates doesn't seem to be frequent either so these issues stick. :(
  • The DataRat #

    "solution in search of a problem" To the extent a problem exists, the solution is called "Sleep Mode". Why completely shut down your PC ? Even with a laptop, how often do we ~really~ carry it around ? Most of the time, laptops are actually utilized as PORTABLE COMPUTERS. Very few folks transport the thing more than one place on a typical day. [ Notable exceptions: Salesmen, etc. ] Even battery endurance represents a non-issue most of the time. Typical usage patterns are transporting the laptop to one locale, plugging it in, and working all day from there. For 90%+ of us, sleep mode is the quick-start option ! The DataRat .
  • Rarst #

    @DataRat Another thing I never got used to is sleep mode. :) On other had I am primarily desktop user and its easier (and better for reliability) to let it be on.
  • p1ague #

    Sleep mode is good for when you want to turn it quickly BACK on, but if I want quick access to a single piece of information from the internet when I am not and haven't been using it lately, the solution, short of having an iPhone or any of the numerous better devices handy, requires a quick cold start. I do use hibernation far more frequently on the notebook, so that speeds up access a bit anyway, but with hybrid sleep, putting it into sleep mode would have the same effect (plus eat up some of the battery--I don't leave the cord trailing to where I store my computer, I instead keep the cord near where I sit to use it). It's admittedly not much of a solution, because I think the last time I used it, I posted that last message :P
  • Michael L #

    Its not for everyday use, but I have found a unique use for it, internet banking! Yes that's right, since its a read only linux dist, it has to be secure. Since you can't install any apps on it, its unlikely you'll ever get your internet account details hacked while using it. Theoretically it might come in handy if I accidentally wipe out windows, or the HDD crashes, then perhaps I could use it as a temp very basic communication tool. IMO what would have been better is a little bit of SSD on the mobo, the really quick type, able to load an OS from, or if not that then at least a place to store apps like firefox, which take ages to start up.
  • Rarst #

    @Michael L since its a read only linux dist, it has to be secure. Since you can’t install any apps on it, its unlikely you’ll ever get your internet account details hacked while using it. I wouldn't be so sure. First it runs from regular hard drive and I suspect it can write to it just fine. Second some types of attacks won't care about write access at all - they only need to steal cookie or something. And since browser is bundled - it is very unlikely to get fast and easy security updates in line with main releases. It might look like good idea for security, but personally I will take regular OS with up-to-date browser and antivirus+firewall over it. if I accidentally wipe out windows, or the HDD crashes, then perhaps I could use it as a temp very basic communication tool. Don't know about Windows but it clearly won't survive HDD crash since it runs from it. :) IMO what would have been better is a little bit of SSD on the mobo Intel had pushed for years to implement such feature, but it seems they gave up. It's too much hassle for motherboard manufacturers to implement non-essential components (on already freakishly complex thing). What can I say, large bit of SSD works wonders to Firefox performance. It becomes almost usable. :)
  • JEREMY #

    Personally I've had my laptop about 6 months and just started using the splashtop. Since most of what I do is internet based anyway, without the system hog of windows my battery life is hugely increased. The only issue I have is an occasional website that is more updated and it refuses to let me on without firefox being updated.(which cant be done if no new updates for spalshtop exist)
  • Rarst #

    @Jeremy More like web rather than Internet. I use quite a few programs that use Internet but aren't browsers. :) As above - it is indeed better fit for a notebook rather than desktop.
  • Tony #

    Express Gate is running without my hard drive and without any Windows. I'm using it right now on a P5Q Deluxe from boot up since I'm waiting for a new hard drive to arrive and it's a handy feature.
  • Rarst #

    @Tony Some motherboards do run it from onboard flash chip, I believe I had mentioned that in post. :) But I think hard drive installation is cheaper to implement and so more used.
  • Glen #

    Express Gate is the single most annoying feature in the history of computers. It's one of those stupid gadgety type things that some middle-age executive thought would appeal to the "young tech savvy" user base. It's totally daft. I rate it just ahead of Windows' "Sticky Keys" feature in terms of annoyance. Sure, it can be disabled, but it shouldn't have been there in the first place.
  • Rarst #

    @Glen I won't really call annoying something that can be ignored as easily. :) But I do agree that there seems much more marketing behind this than sane and useful tech.
  • MrHenderson #

    I bought an Asus motherboard with Express Gate thinking it sounded useful (I sometimes like to check the weather forecast online before I leave the house) but turns out it has no drivers for wireless cards. Something Asus says nothing about. Couldn't quite believe it so checked with Asus. The main thing I've learned is that Asus customer support is there to insult the intelligence of the customer.
  • Rarst #

    @MrHenderson Yep, that seems to be pretty much common story with it. Told to sound useful, made to be useless.
  • The DataRat #

    . "The main thing I’ve learned is that Asus customer support is there to insult the intelligence of the customer" . Yeah, ~that~ would characterize my experience with Asus customer support too. . The DataRat .
  • Jeff #

    “solution in search of a problem” The other way around that for me was turn on PC, go make a cup of tea/go check the mail at the end of the driveway/feed the cat... and come back to the Windows desktop. I see a bigger problem created with this ExpressGate feature such as: I want to quickly look at my email therefor I use the built in Firefox in ExpressGate, sign into webmail. Unfortunately my friend has sent me a link to a HD Youtube video that I must see. Poor driver support means I can't watch the video and ultimately would have saved more time by booting up Windows in the first place. The one primary use I think there is a place for small Linux installs like this is a lightweight media player that would hopefully use less battery power than a full boot. Could use your notebook as a portable DVD player for example.
  • Rarst #

    @Jeff For media scenario OS doesn't matter comparing to resources media itself requires. Also there are some interesting solutions like boot directly in XBMC that would totally own Express Gate in functionality and convenience for media viewing. Execution beats idea.
  • Michelm #

    ha ha ha, I hit that button by mistake and wanted to know a little more about it, the manual is rather thrifty in this area. I have not been asked to sign or join anything here and if this how it is I compliment you. Email and name should be enough for forum fora! but let's see! So this quick gate is not very useful may be I'll tape over my EeePC. I'd like the dvd player, but note books, at least mine don't have one! I feel a little lucky with Assus, my notebook went with a grey screen (hinges problem?) and they fix it straight away. I live within 10min from them. I may try a few things with this fast gate and see if it's on the HD or MB.
  • Michelm #

    well thank you it went through I wish other fora (doesn't like fora so I read about it and will drop it) yes other forum will follow suite! Just waiting for moderator!
  • Rarst #

    @Michelm This isn't really a forum, just blog with comments. :) No reason to demand registration and known commenters (which you are now that I approved your first comments) don't even require moderation. "Not very useful" pretty much sums up Express Gate. It is one of those cases where feature just doesn't make sense to me.
  • Michelm #

    Ok, I'm not too familiar with blogs although I've heard the word quite a lot! Actually my Australian ISP Telstra decided to swap our free web site allocation to a blog, in the process I lost the whole content of mine, and never bother about their blog. But I like this, simple and straight forward for simple comment. Yes I did looked at my notebook and it's not crash hot! I would have expected a simple agenda and notepad or something like wordpad, to write a simple diary when travelling, Instead they got online games! And yes the graphics are quite poor. I have windows 7 stater on mine I quite like the size not to small and not as big as my 14"laptop. problably miss the dvd side of it, but it's ok!
  • jake #

    hey i don't know much about computers and i found some software that came with my motherboard for overclocking i tryed it failed hard and now my computer will not start in W7 only this so what should i do?
  • Rarst #

    @jake Hard to say, there are too many reasons that can break Windows startup. Express Gate is no recovery tool so being able to boot it won't help much. See system repair and recovery for Microsoft's guides at restoring broken Win7 installation. But really if you are not confident about this it is better to find some techie who will take a look.
  • Michelm #

    What about safe mode start and use a restore to a previous date? Good luck, let's hope you did not introduced a virus
  • jake #

    @Rarst i ran the system repair and recovery and nothing. Two questions 1) if i damaged my hardware would i still be able to use express gate? 2)would reformatting my computer help?
  • Rarst #

    @jake 1) Express Gate is feature of motherboard. If you busted motherboard to the point Express Gate won't work - probably nothing else shall. 2) No idea without knowing the root issue. I stick to my advice from above - this seems serious enough to find some techie to take a proper look. It is moot to guess about such issues online.
  • p1ague #

    That actually brings us back to the discussion at hand, though. Evidently, one tiny niche of usefulness for expressgate is that even if you completely screw up your computer, you can still use it to go on the internet and read about what you might have done to screw it up. Possibly, though this is not confirmed here so far, even if you have physically damaged the hardware to the point that it is no longer possible to install an operating system, meaning that the machine with expressgate may have an extended lifetime of limited usefulness beyond its death as a fully functioning computer. @Jake Yes, reformatting and reinstalling Windows will probably help in almost any recoverable case, though the other possibility is that this "overclocking tool" changed your actual system settings to the point that it's not stable enough for windows.. if you don't know enough about computers to get into the BIOS and restore system defaults, you should find someone who does, because this problem can't be solved without physically looking at the machine with enough knowledge to understand what's going wrong.
  • Anton #

    Some of you have talked about using ExpressGate as a way to conserve the battery - time to think again. The drivers required to 'sleep' parts of the hardware whilst not in use is no where near as advanced on Linux (any version) as on Windows 7 right now as very few people have time to create drivers for Linux that are optimised for a particular device. In my case I used my Asus VX6 for 5h 12m on a single charge when surfing, but got only 2h 4m when doing the same with ExpressGate. Except for a few very common devices (Nvidia products) which have optimised drivers Linux tends to rely on Generic drivers for most devices. Anyway - I recommend FreeBSD or any other BSD over Linux, but even that has exactly the same driver issue.
  • Rarst #

    @Anton Those practical battery usage figures are really discouraging towards Express Gate, thank you for sharing them! I rarely work with Linux machines, but drivers had been an issue for as many years back as I can remember. Linux simply doesn't have enough traction to be treated like Windows by manufacturers (sadly many of whom cannot even put together Windows driver properly).
  • Pieter #

    I think many of you miss the point. 1. It is NOT a Linux distro. Rather GTK based on FreeBSD from the Free Softwaree Foundation. 2. It is NOT a replacement for a Desktop Operating Environment 3. It is a minimum but complete OS for Multi Media Centres or Kiosk. - You DO not need any harddisk for an internet Kiosk, Simply use your USB stick. - It is secure. No Disk means it cleanly boots from default each time. - VERY affordable - It works with the wireless (or network) embedded onto the Motherboard. - The Apps (Browser, Media, Chat, Disk Dup facilities is ALL that is really needed) 4. For a Multi Media Centre: - I used the motherboard and built it into an elegant Media Centre chassis/cabinet. - Added a NVidia GPU to drive real high display - Added 2x 3TB Seagate raidable SATA disks and mirrored them - Added the Logitech wireless Home Theatre remote control TV - Hooked it to my 63" Samsung (new) Plasma TV set (1092x1080) - Configured it to use RedEye Remote Controller from my iPhone - added software to frequently download my iTunes content >VOILA / EUREKA ... I have a very very FAST multimedia centre .. Excuse me, what part did you miss. (Or perhaps so very pre-occupied on trying to fit Windows in EVERYWhere that you missed the entire point of this software ) What is of course great, is that since it is based on a proper Unix Kernel (FreeBSD), it is not that diffult to get the drivers you will be needing for all the Multimedia components) Lastly, I don't know what I did right. but my system boots within 4 second, not 5. Try beating that for a Media Centre !!
  • Rarst #

    2. It is NOT a replacement for a Desktop Operating Environment
    Not a replacement, but definitely a... contender I guess? You have to make a choice every time - if you boot into Express Gate or full-featured OS.
    3. It is a minimum but complete OS for Multi Media Centres or Kiosk.
    I kinda doubt complete part. There are plenty of minimalistic Linux distributions around that will totally own Express Gate as for feature set. Overall I do not doubt that there can be use found for Express Gate. But as for me it's likely that there are ways to get what it offers and more without hardware dependency. Basically Express Gate doesn't solve anything other than artificially adding supposed value and increasing cost of motherboard. If it hadn't come bundled and was available as free brand-independent distribution - do you think it would be in high demand? I don't see that.
  • Pieter #

    I have no problem with it being a separately downloadable distro with a nice installer which will add more configurability and flexibility. The only use that I see for it on my laptop, is that I can switch on the laptop (HP Elitebook 8740W) and instantly browse the internet or my mail, without having to go through a lengthy login. Apart from this, I only use it separately as I described. Keep in mind, I want it to be totally lightweight, in ROM preferably, and available instantly on power on! I have to agree with the part that I do not see it as a "Value" which the motherboard manufacturer must charge for!
  • Glen #

    @ Pieter I've got an enthusiast level motherboard, inteded for mid- to high-end home computers. It comes with ExpressGate as a "big name on box" feature. And so far, I've yet to see any use what so ever for it on a desktop. For a media center, it is totally useless, as it's all stored in ROM, and hence, I can't add any drivers or functionality to it, and trust me, as it is, it does not offer any of the things I'd expect in a Media Center. It runs generic drivers, that allows me to surf the internet, but I can't even get my screens native resolution. The "useful for quickly looking something up on IMDB" argument, is of no value as far as I see it. Because no matter how fast it boots, you still have to go through normal POST, which will be the same no matter if you intend to boot Splashtop or Windows, so it evens out boot times quite a bit. By the time I've checked out who was playing "henchman number 2", I would just leave the computer on anyway, knowing I'd most likely wanna look who was playing "man at airport" as well. I could to some extent see Splashtop as a minor feature for laptops, for saving battery while at an airport or such, if you only need to look up the bus or train times or some such. But lo and behold... They've invented the smartphone. Most of the time, these little "I just had to look up that one thing on imdb" or "I just need to check when the train leaves", will be done much more conveniently on any modern smartphone anyway. I don't think I know anyone, who would be likely to look anything up online, that doesn't own a mobile phone capable of doing that much more conveniently than a PC with Splashtop. The whole thing is a travesty and an insult.
  • Thryn #

    I think I'm late to the party, but... @The DataRat I'm a student in a computer-friendly program - they post pdfs of the presentations for the next day, so it's handy to take notes on the computer, and in some classes it's nice to be able to use Google or try out things they demonstrate. And most of the classrooms have very few plugs. Granted, very few students bring their computers each day, but I end up running off of the battery anyway while I'm in class or just sitting around. Sometimes we go to the computer lab though, and there are plenty of free outlets over by the empty tables. As to the battery life - it is possible to get good battery life (~8-10 hours, the same as on Windows 7 with low settings) on GNU/Linux (I use Ubuntu) on my UL30 series. That said, ExpressGate doesn't do this, and even on Ubuntu it takes some fiddling. Between that, its very minimal software, and the fact that I haven't figured out how to get it to use the right resolution, I don't use it much. It might come in handy to access forums the next time I screw up... it's faster than a LiveCD or LiveUSB.
  • HAV #

    @Donace I find it very useful if I just want to log in quickly to browse, or to play music from a usb device. Have not used the image viewer much. Games are better than the vista games except chess.
  • Marcus #

    @Glen You're the type who always complains about something. Guess what, nobody needs your opinion so get a life! I find the Express Gate quite useful and I'm using it right now. So, don't get fooled by geeks who think they are smart if they rant on everything, everywhere. Express Gate does exactly what was supposed to do and you'll find out when you will really need a quick peek to your webmail or something without loading a real OS, something like I bet Glen is using. Now, dear Glen, how about some rant about my poor english? Huh?
  • Rarst #

    Guess what, nobody needs your opinion so get a life!
    But apparently your opinion is needed? First and last warning - personal attack are not tolerated here. If you have something to say or correct about Express Gate downsides, covered in post and comments (poor video support, poor battery life, not useful to be big feature on the box), - that is what comments are for.
  • Jon #

    I've just built my PC from scratch (first time....loadsa fun) however, i don't really want this application as a part of my boot up process, could anyone tell me how to remove it please? Thanks Jon
  • Rarst #

    @Jon There should be setting in BIOS that allows to set how long to show Express Gate prompt or disable it. Can't tell exactly where, I had since moved to another motherboard.
  • markus #

    @p1ague hey i agree NORMALLY express gate is just a semi shiny toy BUT i am now in the position of windows is screwed due to nvidia updates for my mobo which send the ide drivers and graphics mental (constant hangs plus blue screens) which leaves me with nothing to acces the internet apart from this to check error codes and download files i need to either create linux partition or repair windows outrite not the most versatile quick boot i own but probably simplest for the "average" user to grasp quickly eg very easy to use this if you can use windows unlike somne of the more techy linux's i use most windows users would fail at the boot menu so problem= windows and/or other companies screw driver compatabilties up or generaly throwe the usual hissy fits at you solution 5- 10 seconds for me to check google and yes i do load express gate in about 8 seconds due to having built a quad core 4 GB RAM machine
  • Glen #

    @markus The problem is, the average user won't try to sort out his system himself, or check error codes. He'll phone the tech support of the store where he bought his computer and say "my computer won't start, please help me!!". So having Splashtop/Express Gate wouldn't really help them much. On the other hand, they probably wouldn't really notice the difference between Windows and Splashtop/Express Gate, so who knows, they might never have gotten around to using Windows in the first place.
  • Henry #

    Glen - I assume you are in IT, as am I - but you have to give the average user a LITTLE bit of credit! I know we are taught in HCI and so on the average user will do this, but I think it is something thet people will figure out eventually - I did not even realise the OS was there for a few months, and that was because I hit the splashtop button rather than on....then it took time to suss it out. You are right: people do not read the documentaion, and so I believe that if the PC salesman informs the buyer about this feature at purchase, he is doing a much metter job. I do not agree that average users would not notice the difference between the OS's however.
  • CrashOverride #

    Splashtop seems to be a waste of time for most people. I see the only people that like it are ones who have netbooks, or arent very computer savvy. I personally HATE the idea of locked software and not beign able to even add programs to it. Thats a really big downer as it would be a really nice pc auto fixer tool. I agree that windows sleep is more efficient than booting to SplashOS, and you get more functionality. And to comment on the "lloking up whats wrong and fixing it problem" it would be a lot better if it had tools to access other partitions/drives and be able to copy files and edit registry values or whatever. It also doesnt seem very efficient without modding support so you cant add scripts or other fix tools, so thats kind of out of the question. My final thought is that SplashOS is just a shiny toy, if at best, that is sold a suseful, but it isnt. And it also gets pretty bad battery life, compared to just sleeping windows and putting it into low power mode and dimming the screen. I got 3 hrs with windows and ALMOST 2 with SplashtopOS.
  • Pieter #

    Intelligent people cannot possibly be wasting so much time debating the totally wrong thing. Comparing Windows with SplashOS ??????
  • Rarst #

    Comparing Windows with SplashOS ??????
    That of course makes no sense. :) However if ExpressGate is good additional option to have for computer with Windows (or whatever) is actually interesting. Unfortunately my personal opinion is that it is marketing gimmick first and viable attempt at fast, convenient and useful shell... Well, not second. And maybe not even third.
  • Richard #

    While I can see it as a gimmick for many, I have found the Express Gate very useful for me. I may be in the minority, which explains why Asus does not appear to be pushing many motherboard models with the feature. Express Gate, for me, has been greatly useful for the following reasons: 1) Many times I've needed to get some information quickly from a website or change a router setting. I can do this within 1/3 of the time. 2) When building a new system, and your OS installation disk has not arrived yet, you could use the little kernel system until the OS installation is done. 3) Computer system could be used by your kids without the risk of them ruining the installation. 4) Skype 5) Chat 6) Some flash games 7) Web browsing
  • Mike #

    it's up and running skype or the web within 10 seconds but not something I use for more than that. I don't think my netbook is going to run Photshop or be useful for gaming better than a laptop yet it is useful. I've got 4GB of ram installed, don't know if all of it will be used but it's good to know it's there
  • Loki #

    At first when I used this thing I was kind of impressed. After the 3rd time rebooting on my dual boot system.. it just added more time to the boot of whatever O/S i was trying to get to. Dunno personally if I see any value in it whatsoever due to the ROM only part. Running an I3-530 with 8 gigs of ram overclocked to 3.9ghz... as needing something to boot fast.. I somehow think they missed the mark with the motherboards they offer express gate with. This would have been much more useful on a E-machine not a motherboard that's designed to handle 16 gigs of ram and an I-7. Neat idea though, fails in execution. Nix the ROM add a package handler or at least a terminal, and put it on a board where it wouldn't be wasted on. I mean on my laptop even I would find it useful. Nice try at anyrate.
  • Jan #

    The debate here is interesting but seems to wander about. I can see that Express Gate isn't likely to be useful on a desktop and, if you're forced to make a choice at every boot cycle, it could be annoying as well as unnecessary. For my netbook, however, it saved me from being completely out of touch while on the road when my Windows OS installation got a virus and refused to boot. The browser allows video using Flash and accomplishes all that I need to in managing email and other communication. For my netbook it has been very useful and, it boots from a separate power switch, is easily ignored when not needed (most of the first 2 years I've had the computer).
  • Henry #

    ...it has a seperate button for the splashtop. i think if the debate is whether its a good thing then the answer is still yes for me - especially considering the amount of libs IE loads up on top of Windows, if all I need is a browser and security is not a major factor I'll always hit the button with the running man on it!
  • Rarst #

    especially considering the amount of libs IE loads up on top of Windows
    I think this is bit of a moot point nowadays. Hardware resources are abundant (even on relatively low-powered netbooks) and any modern browser likes to consume massive resources to provide better speed rather than sacrifice speed for resources.
  • Glen #

    The only ones here who say that they find it useful, are people using laptops and netbooks. The funny thing then, is that Asus, at least for a time, was implementing this feature, mainly, on their higher end motherboards for stationary computers. So, while it seems to be a feature of some usefulness on a portable system, Asus seems to feel that it should mainly be featured on high end non-portable systems.
  • Mike #

    Hey, why not write a modified version of the old DOS system? That would 'fly' on a modern machine, and as I remember was very versatile...
  • Rarst #

    @Mike Actually some computers come with FreeDOS. :) However it's not really sane choice for modern desktop computing. Command line is so not mainstream interface. Linux is much better choice to build very light OS distribution and there are quite a few of such around.
  • Solar #

    Accidentally hit my Express Gate boot button on my laptop and discovered what this thing is. Other than playing with the web quickly, it seems mostly useless. I can't save files to anything other than some random directory called "media" and it doesn't seem to have access to my hard drive in this case. I'm assuming "media" is a ram disk that will disappear when I boot into Windows. The picture viewer can load images from said hard drive, however, so reading NTFS IS available on the system. Why can't the browser access it? Next issue is the useless games from oberon media that require impossible installation to work properly. The equally useless Trend Micro security window. Best part is that I cannot access the express gate site because it says I don't have flash! Seriously! Not being able to access the express gate website from within express gate. Next of course is the fact that my screen is stretched. This makes viewing of pictures and videos quite annoying, and therefore defeating the point of quick-booting to view them. If you build an OS into a computer with a built in screen, you should be able to easily provide the proper drivers to have it work at the proper resolution by default! .... I could go on, but I think I'll stop here and go back to Windows.
  • Nihal #

    Does anybody know how to browse the local drives using the Splashtop BIOS OS? I want to be able to fix my Windows 7 Boot error. Thanks.
  • Aaron #

    @Rarst No it doesn't run from the hard drive, and no it can't write to your hard drive, so it in fact is the most secure way of web surfing there is. not to mention that since its linux, you really don't need an up to date browser or even a firewall.
  • Aaron #

    it's great on battery, it's super secure, it's a really quick boot. It's perfect for quick web surfing at school and what not, and online shopping/banking. The only problem i have with it is that there is no way to disable certain touchpad functions, so every time I tap, I click something, which i hate.
  • Rarst #

    No it doesn’t run from the hard drive, and no it can’t write to your hard drive
    It does (in some versions, as in the one I had) and it can (another issue if it is exposed to the user).
    so it in fact is the most secure way of web surfing there is. not to mention that since its linux, you really don’t need an up to date browser or even a firewall.
    Linux does not magically fix issues that outdated browser might have. Browsers should be updated on any OS.
  • henry #

    i am more interested in the fact that net banking could be fast and secure on a (potentially) compromised windows account. especially if the splash top distro is loaded from a flash chip. this is only going to be of use to laptop expressgate users as driver support lacking in areas like external wifI and SSD etc, but dor those of us with laptops that boot into a browser successfully : 1. how can i quickly find out if its on my hard disk or flash (without hd disconnection)? 2. yes there are no firefox add ons so does anyone know if there are any major security concerns with the distro's version? 3. under what circumstances would it be safer (or not) to say use net banking in expressgate over windows? yeah your mac address is showing but considering that any of the growing train of user id most windows users constantly transmit (from youtube to google to IM etc) will not be traffic each side of your banking this has to be in expressgate's favour doesn't it? regards. henry
  • henry #

    ps I'm talking about saved passwords yes they are encrypted but that if a trojan/keystroke logger is operating under windows but cannot with a flash distro? the other potential safety of flash linux is if anyone is sniffing you their interest might be more piqued by the myriad auto logins to potentially risky web sites when you only want to login just to do one banking transaction - hope that makes my previous (unread before sent ~ d'oh!) post less nonsensical :)
  • Rarst #

    @henry The best thing for banking (and other secure things) is two-(or more)factor authentication. Setting up special environment adds more hassle then increases security (as for me).
  • Stu #

    I sam using the express gate now as I need to check email and its telling me that firefox is now out of date and GMail wont run properly. Now I enjoy the Gmail experience but if I cant use it fully then I cant say its going to work for me anymore I actually find it very easy when working away in strange environments to quickly get it working. If the image was updated regular and skype was installed I would be well happy. the other thing is from a business point of view I like it as I can really screw windows 7 down from a domain point of view so the guys can run 3-4 apps that they need and only browse the company websites where as the have a little more freedom through the express gate and can do their own thing in a browser. I am on the fence right now but would be convinced by a nice quick release schedule. I was keen on an open source version coming out but that seems not to be the path that they've chosen to take
  • thom #

    Glad to have come across this article. I just had to replace my old 1005hab today and I was debating on keeping the splash gate option. From the information and opinions I have been reading here, I think I will just go with a full wipe of win/splash and do a Linux upgrade. Thanks all
  • Ewan #

    The Express Gate has been extremely useful. I'm glad to have it to hand. I use it to very quickly check something on the internet (usually an email or bus / train times), not sit down and have an all day session. I also run my catchuptv account from it, and watch DVD's connected to my 25" LED screen. There is no difference in the quality viewing catchuptv or a DVD between W7 OS or Express Gate. Is very useful, and Im glad its there! As with everything in life, there are lovers and haters. Leave the lovers to love, and the haters to fill with rage and torture themselves ;)
  • karim #

    on asus express gate right now, i guess its ok to use if you;re about to leave you home and you need to quickly check something online and you;re in a big hurry. (but these days you;ll probably just use an iphone for this, as you go), So quite useless still. poor concept, peeps just buy a SSD boot into windows faster problem solved.
  • Robert #

    @Donace But... there<s a But and it's big no acces to your hard drives other than attached usb drives or key's a live cd is more usefull and has all features to deal with different scenarios
  • Mark Mewerds #

    @Rarst Not talking from any actual experience is making total jokes out of the vast majority. Armchair software analists you are, because the real article too busy to blab away in a sewer like this all day long. Not a misspelling; yes, I did mean anal-ists. It seems the only peter here will any common sense is Pieter. Small brains that load up on too much PC tech info must have their brain cells that store any common sense overwritten, right? -- this much is obvious. You'd rather pull out that dirty, greasy, germ farm of a smartphone that's been next to your ass in a pocket all day than to take the 10 seconds only and using a welcoming much larger screen to search a quick question on the Net. This lite Linux Express doesn't worry about virus protection 'cause none of you geeks could ever write one for it. There are about a dozen other good reasons to use it, not the least being keeping it separate from all the pro audio software I have on Win7 that I don't want coming anywhere near the Net, thank you very much. Don't like what you see? Shut up whiny geniuses and fix up a better graphics situation and then it will be as handsome and charming as you are not. What a bunch of waste cases I've somehow stumbled into here. You'd all stop your childish behavior and complaining if any of you had a life. This blog is an example of the worst of the Net in this category. More bloat here than any Windows OS. Another great reason is simply because it exists -- and came essentially free on my ASUS motherboard. When your HD breaks or your PC breaks down from having to endure your posts, or the weather is nasty and you can't go to the shop to replace the very PC that is your other best friend besides your hand, you will wish you could simply click another button, go back online, and continue trying to make people think you are intelligent because you diss everything. You criticize some designer's driver to make it sound like you build much better ones, but we all know that you never design anything, except sour, depressing rants in your posts. Now that I think of it, some of you are also what's wrong with the culture in the 'developed' nations where the rest of us live and enjoy most of the new we discover. From what I see here, I begin to wonder when our species will go extinct, or if our cultures can ever be redeemed to maturity ever again. What a waste of blog. This is not a personal attack, as I only mentioned Pieter's name to give him good credit. No matter, though, because I don't think someone has the balls to post anything direct and what really needs reading here anyway. But it gets read -- here, and maybe somewhere else with your site as a link?
  • Rarst #

    @Mark Mewerds
    Another great reason is simply because it exists — and came essentially free on my ASUS motherboard.
    There was nothing "essentially free" about it, just like every other physical or software bit of motherboard - you paid for it. And collectively a lot of people paid for half-assed feature.
  • João #

    @Solar You say "I can’t save files to anything other than some random directory called “media” and it doesn’t seem to have access to my hard drive in this case. I’m assuming “media” is a ram disk that will disappear when I boot into Windows." media is not a ram disk, is the list of media devices plugged in, so if you plug an usb pen, formatted for windows fat filesystem, it will appear a folder in the media folder, like, "usb1", and if you click this usb1 folder, all folders in usb pen will appear, and you can choose where to store downloaded files... You can also see the photos stored in the media devices list, just go to photo tab, click browse, and then click back, then go bottom, the media devices should be there, just click in the bottom, to appear the one you want...
  • aravinth #

    Can change express gate os to Windows?
  • Solar #

    @João Regardless, I could save files to /media and they all disapeared. Clearly a ram disk. The fact that USB drives could be mounted there was not mentioned anywhere. Regardless, it was full of useless (also, I had a 'lite' version - didn't have Skype. Mostly just a bunch of useless browser links, including to windows-only software/games). The total lack of updates made it even more useless. Great idea, horrible implementation.
  • Rarst #

    @aravinth Depends on what you mean. Any motherboard should be able to run Windows - ExpressGate is hardly a replacement for proper OS.
  • marshallar #

    @aravinth Depends on what you mean. Any motherboard should be able to run Windows – ExpressGate is hardly a replacement for proper OS.
    On my windows 7 desktop, I have the option to boot into express gate. I would like to try it as my netbook can be sluggish at times - windows7 starter. Is it simple enough to get back to windows, ie will I get the choice at boot of both os's
  • Rarst #

    On my windows 7 desktop, I have the option to boot into express gate. I would like to try it as my netbook can be sluggish at times – windows7 starter. Is it simple enough to get back to windows, ie will I get the choice at boot of both os’s
    Do you mean that you want to try Express Gate on your netbook, but it doesn't have such option natively? I am not sure it is possible (since Express Gate is specific bundled Asus tech). It would probably make much more sense to try proper and fully functional distribution of Linux instead. You can try setting up for dual boot or look up if your netbook has option to restore Windows later (from disc or hidden drive partition).