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GramPi: RPI XP Look-a-Like

Last update: 11/14/2018

*GramPi V1 is up/working!  Page reorg in process*

Goal:  Replace a number of aged Windoze XP desktop machines for elderly friends and family

Motivation:  Simplify managing computers for my older friends (80-90+ years olds!).  Old desktop computers are beginning to fail. Very limited use (email, browsing, games), but they know how to use their systems and not interested in changing the way they do things....and on fixed incomes!


Stuff I bought or had on hand

  • OS:  Settled on Q4OS (arm) - Donate Here! 
  • XPQ4 Add-on:  "Windows look'n feel for your Q4OS desktop
  • Apps/Software
    • Browser: Firefox  Settled on Chromium (faster and flash support)
      // Required webapps include:  Facebook, streaming radio, CNN, AP News, Youtube, local newspaper //
    • eMail: Thunderbird
    • Office:  LibraOffice - but only required components to save space (e.g. writer only) 
    • Games:  AisleRiot Solitaire 

(in case I have to do this again!)

  1. Download latest Q4OS (500M download, 1.9G image) 
    and Etcher to flash sd card, if necessary
  2. Flash (Etcher) - Approx 5 mins
  3. Initial boot - Approx 5 mins
    • Automatically resizes file system
    • Detects WiFi but didn't seem to configure, will touch up below via raspi-config (note to self) 
    • Automatically sets language
    • Forces password change for user pi
  4. Some post-install cleanup - notes to self, season to taste
    • Raspi-config via Terminal session (Konsole) or ssh 
      • Network Options/Hostname - Set Hostname
      • Network Options/Wi-Fi - Set Country, SSID and passphrase because Q4OS NetMGR no workie
      • Boot Options/Wait for Network at Boot
        // Mostly to avoid confusing the 90+ year old users when system appears up/ready //
      • Interfacing Options/SSH Server on 
      • Advanced Options/Screen Resolution to 800x600 (for my mom!)
      • <reboot here>
    • Q4OS Config via notes Welcome Screen - User Manual
      • Run Desktop Profiler:  Select "Full featured Desktop, Office Suite ..."  (~25 mins)
      • <logoff/logon forced>
      • Run Install Proprietary Codecs
      • Enable Autologin 
      • Disable desktop effects
      • <time to reboot!>
    • Tweaks via Q4OS Control Panel 
      • Appearance&Themes/Screen Saver -> Uncheck "Require Password to Stop"
      • Peripherals/Display -> Set Power Control -> Standby/Power off timings
  5. Make it look like XP
    • Download latest xpq4 from
    • run setup_xpq4-free (or full - read license) setup wizard (5 mins)
    • Install via package manager
    • Control Panel->LookNFeel->XPQ4 Desktop Styles - Luna for me
    • <logoff/logon forced (I think)>
  6. Software install via Package manager
    • Chromium Browser
      // Firefox would not stream gramps radio station, also noticeably slower than chromium //
    • Microsoft Fonts aka "ttf-mscorefonts-installer" 
    • Games
      • sgt-puzzles - includes Blocks (aka "Same Game") 
      • Snood = xbubble
      • Aisleriot Solitaire
    • Install favorite editor (I like joe, many use inbuilt nano)
  7. Misc Cleanup
    • Turn off Welcome Screen at startup (checkbox on Q4OS welcome screen))
    • Eliminate unnecessary desktop icons - Right-Clock/move to trash
    • Config System Tray (Right click on left arrow) - hide all except Sound & NetworkManager
    • Favorites - Start/All Programs/Programs - Add to Favorites, Desktop, Panel ...
    • Classic XP theme w/ Kickstart Style menu seems best for these two (bad eyesight)  
    • Optional:  I change chromium desktop icon to firefox icon for my users, they are used to that path to internet 
    • Nobody seems to use OS default browser setting
    • Set DPMS for monitor via raspi config.txt - See Note
      • Carefully edit /boot/config.txt, add one line
      • <Reboot here>
  8. Aftermath
    • WiFi does not come up after reboot *or* controllable via NetworkManager gui - lots of fiddling
      Here's what I did, right/wrong - seems to work!
      • Add to /etc/network/interfaces (typically used for usb wifi, I think).  Attempt #2 - from
        auto lo
        iface lo inet loopback
        auto eth0
        allow-hotplug eth0
        iface eth0 inet dhcp
        auto wlan0
        allow-hotplug wlan0
        iface wlan0 inet manual
        wpa-roam /etc/wpa_supplicant/wpa_supplicant.conf
        iface default inet dhcp
      • Edit /etc/NetworkManager/NetworkManager.conf
        change the line managed=false to managed=true
    • Don't forget to export Thunderbird Address Book before you ditch old PC!  
    • Timezone did not get set during the config/tweaking - right click on taskbar/time

Stuff from project page to dig thru/delete


Nov 2018:  GramPI has been working like a champ!  Open issue is WiFi.  It does not connect when rebooted, NetworkManager GUI doesnt seem to work either.  For time being, I run raspi-config and re-setup wifi after a boot to get it rolling.  When connected, it has been running and performing fine!   

Oct 2018:  GramPI V1 Just replaced G&G's old desktop, will cleanup notes and post progress this month!
  • Back to GramPI!  Initial OS testing @
  • Running Q4OS 2.5, Trinity 14.05, XPQ4 2.4 - LOOKS GREAT!
  • Coming along MUCH better - mostly due to Raspbian Stretch (I think)
  • Wine is prob not answer for old win progs/games.  
    • Not much for youtube vids, but this one on the topic was good (5 minutes) - - see also:  youtube comments 
    • Will FIRST look for linux programs that are same as win - mostly games
    • Not sure what to do about garminmapupdater yet - x86 only
  • Testing GramPI on RPI 3 B+ ... Marginally better (as expected)
    • Using original rpi 3 (I have a few of these to use!)
      • FF startup = 11.1s, 20 secs w/ thunderbird on desktop, JT time
      • TB startup = 20 sec, including refresh/update 
Dec 9 2017:  Back at it...regrouping
  • Odd Boot Error:  "Sound server fatal error:  cpu overload" - Sound is dead, indeed!
  • Running Versions:  Q4OS 1.8, XPQ4 1.1
  • Updated to XPQ4 v1.11 (Oct 2017) attempting to increase fontsizes, icons, etc for granny
  • Q4OS 2.4 (Scorpion) released in October, no RPI version yet
Nov 4 2017:  Granny Test on Q4OS (Orion/Jessie) + XP4G (1.10 free) - Fail
  • Struggled with appearance - showstopper, she couldn't read 
    • fonts enlarged but icons waaay too small on desktop, panel, etc.  Modify Theme?
    • Need global option to change application fontsizes - LookSwitcher?
    • Need a BigAss Mouse pointer!
  • WiFi:  Periodic "Connect Attempt Failed" popup, even though connection appeared solid
  • Thunderbird hung - no response
  • Wrong solitaire - pretty sure they use AisleRiot 
  • HP Scanner/Printer fail - 
    • ControlPanel/Peripherals/TDEPrint sure looked like CUPS, seemed to come up, configure and run OK, but never got a sheet of paper to print
    • Scan/print currently works on Linux Lite, need to retrace my steps there
  • Performance was so, so - need to retest with youtube, may have had network issue
Solution to power on/off button 

    - Security -
    - security -
    - RPI Desktop -
    - Cleanup -
    - Gmail imap - gmail 


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