The StartMeStick is a fast, private, and secure operating system on a USB stick. Plug it into any computer regardless of whether the computer is working well or not. When you're finished with it, the StartMeStick goes back to its ‘fresh out of the box’ state.
What is it?
The StartMeStick is a fast, private, and secure operating system on a USB stick. Plug it into any computer regardless of whether the computer is working well or not. Use the StartMeStick to do whatever you like online. Pull the StartMeStick out and it leaves no trace on your computer, and, the StartMeStick goes back to its ‘fresh out of the box’ state.
What is the StartMeStick good for?
Use the StartMeStick anytime you want to use the Internet and don’t want to involve your computer’s regular host operating system, e.g. Windows, Mac OS, etc.
What makes the StartMeStick fast?
What makes the StartMeStick private?
What makes the StartMeStick secure?
How is it different from a virtual private network (VPN)?
How is it different from a FixMeStick?
What are the technical specs of the StartMeStick hardware?
Why are there renewals?
The StartMeStick and its programs require ongoing updates and support.
Do I need an internet connection to use StartMeStick?
No, you do not. However, without an Internet connection there is not much you can accomplish with a StartMeStick. After all, the StartMeStick’s purpose is to be fast, private, and secure so that you can do whatever you want online.
What computers are compatible with StartMeStick? Can I use it with my tablet/smartphone?
PCs: Windows® XP, Vista, 7, 8, 8.1, 10 (systems dating from 2001)
Macs: Intel Based Macs (systems dating from 2006 or later)
A minimum of 1 GB of RAM
Technical Note: You can also use your StartMeStick on a computer that has no operating system! After all, the StartMeStick doesn’t involve your computer’s regular host operating system.
Tablets: Works with Surface Pro 2, 3, and 4. If you are running a StartMeStick on a Surface Pro 4, you will need a wired mouse and keyboard.
Files and Programs
Can I save files onto my StartMeStick?
No and Yes.
No - one of the key design objectives of the StartMeStick is that it stores none of your files or data. This provides a most robust form of security: no files or data to infect, lose, or leak.
Yes - a user experienced with Linux operating systems will figure a way to save files onto their StartMeStick.
In a nutshell: the StartMeStick is designed to not save anything, however, if an advanced user really wants to save something to their StartMeStick, they will, even though this capability is not supported by StartMeStick.
Can I access my computer’s files from my StartMeStick?
Depending on the type of file system on your drive, you may be able to see (i.e. read-only) the files on your computer. You are able to copy these files to an external drive if you plug it in after you start your StartMeStick.
However, one of the key design objectives of the StartMeStick is that it never writes to the computer’s hard drive(s), e.g. you are prevented from accidentally changing or deleting anything from your computer, and the StartMeStick leaves no trace that it was used on your computer.
An experienced Linux user may be able to deliberately access their own computer's hard drive(s) in read-write (i.e. able to change and delete files), even though this capability is not supported by StartMeStick.
Does StartMeStick interfere with the host computer? Will it modify my friend’s computer or the library computer I use it on?
No, it will not.
What happens to the data on StartMeStick after each use if it is not stored?
It goes to data heaven, or the opposite... depending on its behavior while in RAM.
Are there any programs already on the StartMeStick? Which ones?
Everything you need:
Will I be able to stream Netflix? Amazon Prime? YouTube?
Yes, yes, and yes. We think all or essentially all online video and streaming sites work well with the StartMeStick. If you find one that does not, please let us know.
Can I print from my StartMeStick?
Yes! See how.
Can I connect my headphones, keyboard, mouse etc… to my StartMeStick?
Yes! However, The StartMeStick requires a non-Bluetooth keyboard and mouse to set up a Bluetooth keyboard and mouse. E.g. iMac owners that use the Bluetooth mouse and keyboard will need a USB mouse and keyboard to use the StartMeStick. StartMeStick fully supports wireless devices (with a USB wireless transmitter).
Can I use my computer programs while using my StartMeStick?
No - you cannot. The StartMeStick is designed for use while connected to the Internet and the use of Internet applications. You cannot install traditional applications such as word processing and instant messaging onto the StartMeStick, and you cannot use the traditional applications already installed on your computer while your StartMeStick is running.
How is StartMeStick different from Private browsing?
Does the StartMeStick work on newer PC models with SecureBoot?
Yes. In fact, the StartMeStick is the only device of its kind that we’re aware of that works correctly on PCs with Secure Boot (essentially every PC purchased since 2012 has Secure Boot). The StartMeStick does NOT require you to fiddle with UEFI settings, or, to turn off Secure Boot in order to boot your StartMeStick.
What if my computer’s hard drive is encrypted, like with Bitlocker?
Not a problem. The StartMeStick will work. Remember, the StartMeStick never touches your hard disk, so it doesn’t matter if your files are encrypted or not.
What if my hardware has been compromised?
For example, your adversary swaps out your keyboard for an identical looking one that has malicious firmware and captures your passwords. The StartMeStick can’t protect you in this scenario (nothing can).
What if my computer’s firmware has been compromised?
For example, your adversary infects the program that boots the operating system (this is the scenario that Secure Boot aims to prevent.): The StartMeStick can’t protect you in this scenario (nothing can).
Do I need a VPN to be private on the Internet when using the StartMeStick?
A VPN can add an additional layer of privacy to your online activities while running the StartMeStick. We’ve arranged a discount for StartMeStick/FixMeStick customers with NordVPN. If you install the NordVPN extension in Chrome on your regular host operating system, the extension will be there in Chromium when you run the StartMeStick if you sign into Chromium to sync.
Why doesn’t the StartMeStick include the Tor Browser?
We’re investigating including the Tor browser in future releases of the StartMeStick. For now, advanced users that would like to use the Tor browser can install it.
Does the StartMeStick make me private on Facebook?
The StartMeStick does not and cannot make any 3rd party web site or application more private or secure than it otherwise is, i.e. if you login to Facebook, post photos etc…, Facebook now has your private data to do with as they see fit. The StartMeStick ensures that all is private and secure on your endpoint, i.e. your computer, but it cannot ensure all is well and good on the endpoints you are connecting to.
How can I manage my passwords when using the StartMeStick?
There are at least 3 ways:
Can a StartMeStick become infected?
It is very, very, improbable (nothing is impossible in computer security, actually nothing in any field of security is impossible) that while using your StartMeStick it becomes infected with a malicious program, e.g. a computer virus. If you are ever concerned that your StartMeStick has somehow been compromised, you simply factory upgrade it from a known clean computer to get it back to its ‘fresh out of the box’ state.
If the FixMeStick is so good at fixing computers, why would I need a StartMeStick?
The FixMeStick is a virus removal device, and as such its purpose is to find and remove viruses, trojans, worms, rootkits, malware etc…
However, your computer may be behaving badly for non-virus related reasons, e.g. misconfigurations, Windows updates, incompatible software.
Alternatively, your computer may be functioning perfectly, but you still want to use a StartMeStick for any number of good reasons.
What if I lose it?
None of your data is stored on the StartMeStick. If you lose it, it is just like losing one that you’ve never taken out of the package. However, you will have to purchase a new StartMeStick.
Exception: if you use WiFi, the StartMeStick will remember the WiFi networks and passwords you’ve used. It does this for the same reason your other devices do this: so that you don’t have to type these in every time. You can choose to ‘forget’ your saved networks from within the StartMeStick.