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The Asus Express Gate is a software application installed in the firmware of newer Asus motherboards. Express Gate acts as a mini operating system, offering the user access to mini-games, their photos, instant messenger programs, Skype, the Web, and more, within 5 seconds of powering on their PC. Express Gate loads immediately, prior to the computer entering the main operating system, be it Linux, Windows, or other.
Express gate is not a solution to a failed hard drive, as it still relies on roughly 500mb of stored files on your hard drive. However, if your main operating system installation is corrupted and will not boot, it is possible to get access to your photos, the web, and instant messenger services through Express Gate.
What exactly is the point of Express Gate? When I first saw it, I thought it was "neat" and proceeded to spend an hour or so playing through some of the flash-based minigames I could have very well accessed through my normal web browser once allowing my computer another 10 seconds to boot up.
In marketing materials, Asus pushes the idea that you can use Express Gate when you are low on time. To an extent, that makes sense. Slower computers (and ones so bogged down by third-party applications) can take as much as a minute or more to load into Windows and grant access to regular programs like Internet browsers or Instant Messengers.
Express Gate offers this in a matter of seconds, making it convenient for a last minute "I'm running out the door but need to send an email" situation. Granted, those don't arise very often, but it is nice to know the option is there if you absolutely need it.
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As mentioned in the outset of this article, Express Gate provides you with access to a variety of different commonly used software applications.
Web Browser - This fully equipped web browser can access just about any content found on the web, including Flash apps and videos. It is extremely fast and the quality is superb.
Photos - Express Gate also gives you instant access to the photos stored on your hard drive. Simply navigate to your photo folders and Express Gate will quickly load thumbnails of all of your photos in that folder. You'll then be able to choose which ones you want to view, or show off to your friends.
Games - Express Gate is loaded with Flash based mini-games. There are hundreds to choose from, in all different categories including Strategy, Board Games, Casino, Kids, and more!
Instant Messengers - Express Gate uses a universal Instant Messenger client called Pidgin, which can be configured to connect to several of your instant messengers at the same time. Within 5 seconds of powering on your PC, you can chat with friends on AOL, Yahoo!, and more, simultaneously.
Skype - Skype is fully supported by Express Gate, and is found in its own area of the software that you can access quickly and easily.
It's quick and easy to leave Express Gate and enter your main operating system, too. All you have to do is click the Shutdown button which will give you three options. Turn off computer, Standby mode, and Enter Operating System.