Windows XP Look-a-Like on a Raspberry Pi

RPi based Windoze XP Look-a-Like for people who don't want to learn NEW computers! 

Decommissioned 27 October 2022
remarkably long run!

*** 2022 Update:  Finally updated to Buster on a fresh 32g sd card.  Original Grampi had been running constantly for 3.5 years!  Not bad!  ***

*** 2021 Update:  GramPi is STILL humming along - 2.5 years with periodic q4os updates ***

*** 2020 Update:  First GramPi system is still working fine - 1.5 years on original SD and RPi 3B+.  Tweaks listed in Aftermath section below. ***

Migrated to new site spring 2021.  

Motivation & Goals

The GramPi project focused on managing dated computers for my older friends (80-90+ years olds!).  Older x86 desktop computers were all beginning to fail and I was running out of parts!  System usage is very limited, typically used for email, browsing and card games,  BUT they all knew how to use their systems and were not interested in changing the way they do things - or spending a bunch of money!

The original goal was to replace aged desktop computers for elderly family and friends.  Most of which were already running Linux that looked like XP (Lubuntu).  

Level of Difficulty & Prep Time

Pretty simple project, no programming required but Raspberry Pi and Linux knowledge may be required.  

Possibly 1-2 hours of install/config work if hardware is in place.  

VERY little ongoing maintenance (see Aftermath section).  I do manual Q4OS updates but am pretty sure they could be automated.

This replacement "PC" was well under $100 - cheap/fun project!


Stuff I bought or had on hand

Reused PC Hardware

New Hardware purchases (approx $70 total) 
//*Note:  Affiliate Links, I may get kickback from Amazon if you click/buy!//

Optional hardware that was tested or considered


OS:  Settled on Q4OS (arm) - Donate Here! 

XPQ4 Add-on:  "Windows look'n feel for Q4OS desktop"
- options for Win 10, Win 8, XP, NT ...



The PCs originally targeted to be replaced by GramPi's were are all XP-Class machines, desktops or towers with Celeron or Sempron class processors, 1-2g of memory and small hardisks (<100g disks).   

When Microsoft XP support dried up the machines were reloaded with Linux Lite with the Lubuntu XP theme, which had worked fine on the old hardware for 5+ years.  Users were already used to Thunderbird email and Firefox browser and really only squawked about losing MS solitaire.

CPU performance comparison RPI3B+ vs Sempron 3000+ in chart below - Full Benchmark Spreadsheet is HERE.

Step By Step Install

Q4OS Installation

(in case I have to do this again!)

<Forced reboot here>

Make it look like Windows

Couple of post-boot config tweaks & installation of xpq4 to make it look like XP 

Q4OS Config cleanup via Welcome Screen - see also User Manual

Make it look like XP or other versions of Windoze

Check for any remaining Q4OS updates (orange flower in task bar)

<Reboot A Roooo>

It should come back logged in and looking like Windows XP!

Couple of tweaks via Q4OS Control Panel 

Software Installs

Software install via Q4OS Package manager (or apt)

Misc Cleanup

Misc Configuration Cleanup 


<Time for one more Reboot!> 

Aftermath & Notes

Log/Notes on things that were tweaked since deployment.  


sudo nano /etc/sysctl.conf