Linux used to be an old computer’s best friend.

But with many distributions going all in on 64 bit-only versions, the trend away from support for 32-bit computers is not a good development.

Enter Q4OS.

At its default installation settings, the desktop resembles Windows XP or Windows 7. There is a familiarity that exists and can be experienced for people who are tired of all manner of Windows machinations–save for its familiarity, who just want to try something without a steep learning curve.

Enter Q4OS again.

I had recently tried MX-17 and antiX which were pleasant (for me) upgrades from Windows 10. I didn’t mind becoming familiar with these operating systems. It’s what I do on a regular basis: try out new Linux distributions in search of the elusive Holy Grail of operating systems.

I had also tried Zorin OS 12.4, which while pretty good in its 64-bit variation on a Core 2 Duo HP Compaq, was lacking (for some reason) in its 32-bit version on the Pentium 4 with 2 GB of memory I’m currently typing this piece on.

Enter Q4OS for the third (and final?) time

I was actually thinking of getting a new(er) older computer and bequeathing the P4 to someone in need of a decent-for-its-time computer. I always try to locate the optimal combination of hardware components, application software and operating systems for any PC I have about for tinkering.

Quite naturally I am omnipresently in search of the most speed possible on my old systems. I have very little time to experiment compared with times gone by, but I still love the challenge of optimizing computers so they work for me–and not the other way around.

Q4OS boots up in under a minute on this P4. Love that, especially compared to XP which is what originally came with the computer. XP would tend to run slower over time as it accumulated junk through virtue of regular use.

It was pretty common thinking, or at least it was in the tech circle of friends that I knew at the time, that you should reformat your hard drive and install a fresh, clean version of XP annually–if only to eliminate any bad juju that might have built up.

I’m not expecting to have to do this with Q4OS.

I have torture tested this OS on the P4 over the Thanksgiving weekend. What has impressed me as much as the speed of the system is how durable, rugged and tough it is. Like a colleague said to me, “Bob, I tried to break this thing and it just won’t break.”

That is music to any old computer user’s ears. I have found this to be the case with my P4, too.

With support for 32-bit versions in the Linux world dwindling, I would heartily recommend you give Q4OS a try–especially if you’re considering re-purposing an old Pentium 3 or 4 computer.

There aren’t that many versions of Linux operating systems left other than 64-bit. And as stated in the beginning, that’s bad news for people with old kit.

But it doesn’t have to be. The developers of Q4OS are cognizant of the little touches that can make a difference in the user experience, when they consider design and features.

I was able to create an alias of a start menu item by right clicking on an app in the start menu and selecting “Add item to Desktop.”

Some might say so what? Not a big deal. You can always still do that in XP.

But XP is a security trap without benefit of a modern browser. Q4OS has two of them–Chromium and Firefox.

And aside from being able to run commands from a terminal console without having to enter an admin password (which can be changed manually), Q4OS’s pros heavily outweigh its cons–if only for the speed and familiarity of XP included with its modern operating system default installation.

Pretty huge for an out-of-box installation on a soon to be 16-year-old box.