What is the Difference Between the FixMeStick and the StartMeStick?

Since the release of StartMeStick last year, many of our FixMeStick customers have been asking ‘what is the difference between the FixMeStick and the StartMeStick, and do I need both?’

In this article, we will outline the functions of both the FixMeStick and the StartMeStick as well as the difference between the two. This article will help you determine which will best help your computer – you might even want both!

Image of the FixMeStick and StartMeStick USBs.

What is the FixMeStick?

The FixMeStick is the world’s leading virus removal device. With a FixMeStick, you can avoid having to replace a computer that is bogged down with viruses.

Unlike antivirus software, which works only while your system is running, the FixMeStick reboots your computer using a system on the stick, so it’s able to remove the viruses and malware that other antivirus and security programs can’t detect.

By using FixMeStick once a month, you keep your computer, files, and keep your privacy. The FixMeStick finds malware on more than 80% of the computers it scans, even though 99% of our customers run antivirus software as well!

The FixMeStick plugged into a computer.

What does the FixMeStick really do?

  • Scans your computer’s files using an embedded multi-scanner and connects to more in the cloud for up-to-the-second detection and removal of the latest threats.
  • Finds and removes infections that got past your antivirus software.
  • Starts before your system boots to remove infections that won’t come off while your system is running.
  • Does not replace or conflict with antivirus software.

Have more questions about FixMeStick? Check out our FAQ page for more answers!

What is the StartMeStick?

The StartMeStick is a fast, private, and secure operating system on a USB stick. As long as your computer is able to turn on, you can use the StartMeStick to give your computer a second life.

Plug it into a computer that is not functioning as expected, PC or Mac, and it turns it into a fast, secure, and private one for everything you do online e.g. social networks, search, email, video, music, games, business apps, Zoom, etc. Once you’re done, you can pull it out and use it on as many computers as you’d like.

The StartMeStick plugged in. This article explains the difference between the FixMestick and the StartMeStick.

The StartMeStick revives old computers with its fast, private, and secure operating system on a stick by temporarily replacing your computer’s original operating system. The data is never stored anywhere, it exists only in RAM, and RAM is reset each time the computer is rebooted, so it never slows down your computer with unnecessary clutter! It comes loaded with everything you might need to surf the web on a regular computer:

  1. An Internet browser
  2. A text editor
  3. A Solitaire card game

What does the StartMeStick really do?

  • StartMeStick boots your computer into a separate, fast, secure, and private operating system.
  • Gives new life to a computer that is not booting your original operating system, or is extremely slow.
  • Allows you to browse the web safely without storing any personal data.
  • Saves your computer from being slowed down by unnecessary clutter as it never stores any data on the StartMeStick.

StartMeTip: The StartMeStick does not scan your computer for viruses. If you are concerned about viruses on your computer, definitely check out the FixMeStick!

Have more questions about StartMeStick? Check out our FAQ page for more answers!

Do I Need a FixMeStick or a StartMeStick?

Here are some scenarios for you to determine whether you need the StartMeStick or the FixMeStick to save you from your computer problems.

An image of both the FixMeStick and the StartMeStick plugged into to explain the difference between the FixMeStick and the StartMeStick.
  • ‘I think my computer has viruses that are making my computer difficult to use’ – Use a FixMeStick to scan your computer and remove unwanted viruses! FixMeStick can save you from replacing that computer, and speed up your computer in the process.
  • ‘My FixMeStick scan said my computer is clean, but my computer is still not working properly and crashes all the time!’ Use a StartMeStick to revive an old computer not working properly! It will allow you to boot into the StartMeStick operating system where you can do everything you normally do online!
  • ‘I have antivirus software, but I still think there are viruses on my computer.’ – Use the FixMeStick to remove viruses that slip past your antivirus! FixMeStick removes viruses and malware that other antivirus and security programs can’t detect. It finds malware on more than 80% of the computers it scans, even though 99% of our customers run antivirus software as well!
  • ‘My old computer turns on, but is stuck on a blue screen and I can’t log in.’ – As long as your computer gets power, you can use StartMeStick to breathe new life into it. The StartMeStick allows you to boot into an operating system separate from your corrupted one. You can do everything you need to online, and save yourself from buying a new computer!

We hope this answered any of your FixMeStick and StartMeStick questions! If you still have questions, please contact our support team HERE or leave a comment below!


  1. Anonymous - Reply

    I’m sorry to tell you that l am very disappointed not so much in the fixmestick but in your support. To explain, l purchased a new computer a year ago, had some problems with the hard drive which has been replaced by the store and is working great. l have tried many times with instructions from your support to get it to work on this computer with no results consequently am unable to use my fixmestick and according to our records l am paid up until l believe August of this year without being able to use of it. Because of this l have canceled the automatic renewal feature that was in place. You may respond if you wish. Thank you Teddy Cheryk.

    • Jonathan - Reply

      Hi Ted,

      Thank you for reaching out to us today!

      I’m sorry to hear that you’ve been running into issues getting your FixMeStick up and running. We pride ourselves on offering valuable support for our customers, so we’d like to make sure that you’re getting the most of your FixMeStick.

      I’ve gone ahead and sent you a follow-up email where we can look into troubleshooting steps!

      Let us know if there’s anything else we can do for you.

    • Jonathan - Reply

      Hi Linda,

      Good question!

      Unfortunately the current version of the FixMeStick isn’t designed to support tablet use, however creating a version for tablets is definitely something we have on our to-do list.

      Currently the FixMeStick for PC works on Windows® XP, Vista, 7, 8, 8.1, 10 (10S see Getting Started Guide: Start from BIOS), while
      the FixMeStick for Mac works on Intel-Based Macs from 2006 to 2017.

      Feel free to let us know if you have any other questions!

    • Jonathan - Reply

      Hi Gregory,

      Good question!

      Both devices require to be plugged in for use. For the FixMeStick, you only need to have it plugged it when you’re launching a scan, so it really only needs to be plugged in once in a while.
      As for the StartMeStick, to get the most use out of it we recommend using it more consistently. So in this case, you’d likely need the StartMeStick to be plugged in constantly.

      Let us know if you have any other questions!

  2. Anonymous - Reply

    i have an older fix-me-stick i ordered from-hsn shopping network several years and when i used it it was always the same no problem noted and only runs about 15 minutes at the maximum, my computer went crazy when trying to upload the latest updates to my computer and had to take it to the shop and have everything erased and the technician told me not use the fix-me-stick anymore that this was my problem.

    • Jonathan - Reply

      Hi there,

      Thank you for reaching out to us!

      I’m sorry to hear that you encountered issues while running your FixMeStick. However, while the FixMeStick is a great virus removal tool, it doesn’t make any changes to your computers original settings. If the computer ran into an error while going through an update, it’s typically a sign of hardware failure, a problem which typically comes with having an old computer.

      If you have any other questions, or would like some clarification regarding a certain issue, you can always email us at support@fixmestick.com where one of our support agents can help you!

    • Jonathan - Reply

      Hi Sandy,

      Thanks for reaching out to us!

      When purchased through our online store, our products are typically linked to subscriptions. After the trial runs out, the orders will renew for a yearly subscription.

      However, if need be you can cancel at any point in time by contacting us at support@fixmestick.com with any question or concern you have!

  3. Robert - Reply

    Confused with the new StartMeStick…. if I have a VPN now, can I discontinue it when I purchase a StartMeStick?

    Can I add a StartMeStick to an android TV box and will it work the same as a VPN and protect me from tracking?

    • Jonathan - Reply

      Hi Robert,

      Thanks for reaching out to us!

      The StartMeStick is a bit different than your VPN. A VPN is used to protect your IP address while browsing online, while the StartMeStick revives old computers with its fast, private, and secure operating system on a stick. If anything, we recommend using both a VPN and your StartMeStick for maximum security online!

      Unfortunately the StartMeStick is only compatible with Mac and PC – it won’t be able to run on your Android TV Box.

      Feel free to let us know if you have any other questions! We’re always happy to help.

    • Jonathan - Reply

      Hi there,

      Thank you for reaching out to us!

      Yes – the FixMeStick is compatible with both laptops and desktops, essentially all PCs using Windows® XP, Vista, 7, 8, 8.1, and 10!

  4. Murray Stephenson - Reply

    I tried your start me stick but did not like it. Forget why. what does thefix-me-stick cost?Is this an annual fee? Is it easy to use? I seem to remember the start-me-stick was not easy to use.

    • Jonathan - Reply

      Hi Murray,

      Thank you for reaching out to us today!

      The pricing for the FixMeStick is as follows:
      $9.95 for the 30 day trial
      $59.99 for the 1 year subscription
      $89.99 for the 2 year subscription

      When purchased through our online store, the device is linked to a subscription based service! It’s relatively easy to use, simply plug the USB in, and follow the simple instructions included in the packet to launch the scan!

  5. Judy Myles - Reply

    Sent an email in regards to not being able to use fix me stick because I have a password and it will not reboot.. didn’t make a difference the first time.
    Still no reply

  6. TONIOB MUA - Reply

    I read somewhere the StartMeStick (SMS) runs Linux so if I plug it into my old Window XP computers, I won’t be able to use the SW I have on my old Windows computers.

    Also don’t understand why antivirus is not included.
    This is recommended when online, so my computer could be infected.
    It no longer has current antivirus since I stopped logging on w/ an XP computer ages ago.
    Can one use both the FixMeStick (FMS) w/ the SMS?

    Using both sticks would be hard.
    I don’t have a desk & usually have my laptop on my lap!
    I’d probably have to get USB extension cords.

    • Jonathan - Reply

      Hi Toniob,

      Thank you for reaching out to us!

      Yes, both the StartMeStick (SMS)and the FixMeStick (FMS) used a Linux-based operating system. This does mean that while using the SMS, you won’t have access to your previous Windows based applications.

      However, in regards to your concerns about SMS’s antivirus, because SMS is run on Linux, it also means that the number in the wild threats are greatly reduced. With that being said, it’s 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.

      Going further, the StartMeStick resets upon each session, effectively ridding itself of any potential malicious files. 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.

      Hopefully I answered your questions fully! Feel free to let us know if you need anything else.

    • Jonathan - Reply

      Hi Sidney,

      Thank you for reaching out to us!

      The FixMeStick and StartMeStick are only compatible with PC and Mac systems, unfortunately we are not compatible with Kindle.

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