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Wednesday, 30 November 2016

Introduction

When I wrote a review about Q4OS last year I was emailed about a package called XPQ4 which makes it possible to make Q4OS look like other versions of Windows such as Windows XP.

I therefore set about reviewing XPQ4 and the results were very good indeed.

Shortly after I had posted my review of the latest version of Q4OS I received another email asking me to take another look of XPQ4 because there had been a number of updates.

If you wish to use a Linux operating system but you want it to look like Windows then XPQ4 is definitely what you are looking for.

How To Get XPQ4

You can get XPQ4 from http://xpq4.sourceforge.net/


















There are 2 versions of XPQ4 available:
  • Full
  • Free
The full version uses proprietary images and icons etc whereas the free version does not. Neither will cost you any money.

The webpage has installation instructions but basically all you have to do is this:

  • Click on the download link for the version you wish to install
  • Double click on the downloaded file

  • When the welcome screen appears click "Next"

  • When the license agreement appears make sure the "I Agree" checkbox is ticked and click "Install".

The User Interface























An icon for XPQ4 will appear on the desktop and when clicked the above screen will be displayed.

You can choose between 6 themes:

  • Windows 2000
  • Windows XP classic
  • Windows XP luna
  • Windows 7
  • Windows 8
  • Windows 10

The Themes

The screenshots basically speak for themselves:
Windows 2000 Theme - XPQ4
Windows 7 Theme - XPQ4
Windows 8 Theme - XPQ4
Windows 10 Theme - XPQ4
Windows XP Luna Theme - XPQ4e

The Windows XP Luna theme is astounding. I reckon this could fool many people into thinking they are using Windows XP.

Some Linux purists would ask what the point is but I've never claimed to be a purist and I think the work performed by the XPQ4 team is brilliant.

The Windows XP, 2000 and Windows 7 themes are very close to the real thing. 

Windows 8 doesn't really look like Windows 8 although an attempt has been made to make it authentic by pulling the menu in from the right and having a search bar in the top right corner. To be honest though how many people really want to use a system like Windows 8. It was horrific.

The Windows 10 theme looks good and although the menu doesn't really look like a Windows 10 menu the theme does make Q4OS look modern.

For pure style the XP Luna theme is my favourite. 

Summary

Many Linux distributions over the years have tried to look like Windows including Lindows, to a certain extent Linux Mint and of course Zorin OS.

Q4OS with the XPQ4 theme is definitely the one that has achieved the best results.

Zorin OS looks to be moving in a slightly different direction now and I have just installed version 12 as a dual boot to Q4OS so a review will be coming shortly.

I could have made my experience with XPQ4 better by installing the ttf-mscorefonts-installer package from Synaptic.





















Make Q4OS Look Like Windows With XPQ4

Introduction

When I wrote a review about Q4OS last year I was emailed about a package called XPQ4 which makes it possible to make Q4OS look like other versions of Windows such as Windows XP.

I therefore set about reviewing XPQ4 and the results were very good indeed.

Shortly after I had posted my review of the latest version of Q4OS I received another email asking me to take another look of XPQ4 because there had been a number of updates.

If you wish to use a Linux operating system but you want it to look like Windows then XPQ4 is definitely what you are looking for.

How To Get XPQ4

You can get XPQ4 from http://xpq4.sourceforge.net/


















There are 2 versions of XPQ4 available:
  • Full
  • Free
The full version uses proprietary images and icons etc whereas the free version does not. Neither will cost you any money.

The webpage has installation instructions but basically all you have to do is this:

  • Click on the download link for the version you wish to install
  • Double click on the downloaded file

  • When the welcome screen appears click "Next"

  • When the license agreement appears make sure the "I Agree" checkbox is ticked and click "Install".

The User Interface























An icon for XPQ4 will appear on the desktop and when clicked the above screen will be displayed.

You can choose between 6 themes:

  • Windows 2000
  • Windows XP classic
  • Windows XP luna
  • Windows 7
  • Windows 8
  • Windows 10

The Themes

The screenshots basically speak for themselves:
Windows 2000 Theme - XPQ4
Windows 7 Theme - XPQ4
Windows 8 Theme - XPQ4
Windows 10 Theme - XPQ4
Windows XP Luna Theme - XPQ4e

The Windows XP Luna theme is astounding. I reckon this could fool many people into thinking they are using Windows XP.

Some Linux purists would ask what the point is but I've never claimed to be a purist and I think the work performed by the XPQ4 team is brilliant.

The Windows XP, 2000 and Windows 7 themes are very close to the real thing. 

Windows 8 doesn't really look like Windows 8 although an attempt has been made to make it authentic by pulling the menu in from the right and having a search bar in the top right corner. To be honest though how many people really want to use a system like Windows 8. It was horrific.

The Windows 10 theme looks good and although the menu doesn't really look like a Windows 10 menu the theme does make Q4OS look modern.

For pure style the XP Luna theme is my favourite. 

Summary

Many Linux distributions over the years have tried to look like Windows including Lindows, to a certain extent Linux Mint and of course Zorin OS.

Q4OS with the XPQ4 theme is definitely the one that has achieved the best results.

Zorin OS looks to be moving in a slightly different direction now and I have just installed version 12 as a dual boot to Q4OS so a review will be coming shortly.

I could have made my experience with XPQ4 better by installing the ttf-mscorefonts-installer package from Synaptic.





















Posted at 20:29 |  by Gary Newell

Introduction

In my review of Q4OS 1.8.1 I mentioned that I would be using the system over the course of the month to see how well it works over a period of time.

I am happy to say that I am well in to week 2 and I am yet to have any major challenges.

This update is looking at the hardware support within Q4OS and it also looks at Steam.

Printing

Over the weekend I decided to connect this laptop which is running Q4OS to my Epson Workforce inkjet printer.


















You can get to the main printer set up page in various ways. 

One way is to bring up the menu and navigate to the "Control Panel". From the "Control Panel" you will see an option called "Peripherals" and then you will see an option called "TDE Print".

You will at this stage see the screen shown in the image above.

Another way to get to this screen is to type "print" into the search bar within the menu and click on the "Print System" icon when it appears.

To add a new printer click on "Add Printer".


















As you can see the "Discovered Network Printers" section highlights 2 printers both of which are the same name as my printer. 

I left the default printer checked and clicked "Continue".


















The third screen lets you choose whether to share the printer and you can enter a location and give the printer a name and description.


















The penultimate step is to choose the model of the printer.


















Finally you have to set the media type, grayscale and media size.

Your printer is now set up.

I followed this process and printed a few test pages and it works well.

You can use the TDE Print tool to manage printers and see the queue. You can also find a printer job viewer by typing "print" into the search bar within the menu and choosing "Print Job (kJobViewer)".

USB, Hard Drives And NAS Drives

I tested Q4OS with my WD MyCloud device and I was able to see the device and access the files on the drive.

I can also access files and folders on USB drives and portable hard drives.

My phone was also found straight away and I could access the files using a file manager and Shotwell photo manager.


Steam

I used Synaptic to install Steam:


After the installation I was able to run Steam and the usual update started to download.


There were no errors and I was able to login to Steam.


NVidia Drivers

A comment was left within my previous review regarding the availability of NVidia drivers.

You can use the Q4OS software centre to install many popular applications and the NVidia drivers are listed as one of the items you may wish to download and install.


Summary

So now I have all the software I need installed, all hardware setup and running and I am using Q4OS on a daily basis.

As an operating system I am finding the performance is extremely good and everything is extremely stable.

An Everyday Linux User Review Of Q4OS - Part 2

Introduction

In my review of Q4OS 1.8.1 I mentioned that I would be using the system over the course of the month to see how well it works over a period of time.

I am happy to say that I am well in to week 2 and I am yet to have any major challenges.

This update is looking at the hardware support within Q4OS and it also looks at Steam.

Printing

Over the weekend I decided to connect this laptop which is running Q4OS to my Epson Workforce inkjet printer.


















You can get to the main printer set up page in various ways. 

One way is to bring up the menu and navigate to the "Control Panel". From the "Control Panel" you will see an option called "Peripherals" and then you will see an option called "TDE Print".

You will at this stage see the screen shown in the image above.

Another way to get to this screen is to type "print" into the search bar within the menu and click on the "Print System" icon when it appears.

To add a new printer click on "Add Printer".


















As you can see the "Discovered Network Printers" section highlights 2 printers both of which are the same name as my printer. 

I left the default printer checked and clicked "Continue".


















The third screen lets you choose whether to share the printer and you can enter a location and give the printer a name and description.


















The penultimate step is to choose the model of the printer.


















Finally you have to set the media type, grayscale and media size.

Your printer is now set up.

I followed this process and printed a few test pages and it works well.

You can use the TDE Print tool to manage printers and see the queue. You can also find a printer job viewer by typing "print" into the search bar within the menu and choosing "Print Job (kJobViewer)".

USB, Hard Drives And NAS Drives

I tested Q4OS with my WD MyCloud device and I was able to see the device and access the files on the drive.

I can also access files and folders on USB drives and portable hard drives.

My phone was also found straight away and I could access the files using a file manager and Shotwell photo manager.


Steam

I used Synaptic to install Steam:


After the installation I was able to run Steam and the usual update started to download.


There were no errors and I was able to login to Steam.


NVidia Drivers

A comment was left within my previous review regarding the availability of NVidia drivers.

You can use the Q4OS software centre to install many popular applications and the NVidia drivers are listed as one of the items you may wish to download and install.


Summary

So now I have all the software I need installed, all hardware setup and running and I am using Q4OS on a daily basis.

As an operating system I am finding the performance is extremely good and everything is extremely stable.

Posted at 19:48 |  by Gary Newell

Friday, 25 November 2016

Introduction

I reviewed Q4OS for the first time last September and the review was largely positive.

In that review I had mixed feelings however because it looked like Windows from circa 2000 but was incredibly responsive and worked really well.

Well a year has gone past and it is time to take another look. This time I have tried it on a slightly more powerful computer and for the next month I am going to use it as my only operating system to see if it really will work as not only a Windows replacement but also a Ubuntu or Mint replacement as well.

How To Get Q4OS

Visit the Q4OS webpage to find more information about it before committing to installing it on your system.




When you are happy that this is the type of operating system you are interested in click on the download page.


















There are a number of options available including an installation image, live image and even a Raspberry PI image.

For each option you can choose between 32-bit and 64-bit.

The first thing you will notice is the size of the ISO images involved. The largest image is just over half a gigabyte.

How To Create A Q4OS USB

To create a bootable Q4OS drive I found the best tool to use was Rufus which can be downloaded from https://rufus.akeo.ie/.


Start by inserting a USB drive. Make sure it has nothing on there that you want to keep because it will be formatted.

Make sure the device dropdown points to the drive letter of your USB drive.

For the partition scheme you will want to choose MBR for a computer that runs a standard BIOS or GPT for a computer with UEFI.

Give the volume a name and make sure quick format is checked, create a bootable drive using ISO image is checked and create extended label and icon files is checked.

Next to the ISO image dropdown there is a folder icon which when clicked lets you choose the Q4OS ISO image.

When you have chosen the correct ISO image click on "Start".

The USB drive will now be created and you should be able to boot into Q4OS.


How To Install Q4OS


















The live version of Q4OS works pretty well. The keyboard is set to US English but this can be fixed although it is better to wait until the full installation.

You can connect to the internet by clicking on the network icon in the bottom right corner and from there you can use the live image to really test it out.

The changes however are not persisted so if you reboot you will lose any changes made.

On the desktop you will see an icon called "Install Q4OS".


The first screen lets you choose the installation language.


You then choose your location on the map to set your time.


The next step is to choose your keyboard layout.























You now need to create a user. Enter your full name and a username and then enter a password (and repeat it).

You can choose whether the computer logs in automatically (not recommended) and you can set the hostname which is how your computer will appear on a network.

If you so choose you can also add an image for the account.























Now comes the tricky bit. Partitioning the drive. 

If you are simply replacing Windows or any other operating system then all you need to do is click the "Create Partitions" button. 

Note: The "Create Partitions" button is unforgiving. If you click it and answer yes to the warning you will lose anything that is currently on the drive.

If you want to dual boot with Windows (or another operating system) click on the free space (You can get free space from Windows by shrinking the drive). Then choose edit partitions. You can create partitions from the free space. You definitely need a root partition (/) and you can optionally create home and swap partitions from that free space.


I chose to replace Windows with Q4OS and so clicked the create partitions button and accepted the warning.
























Almost there now. Check the "install grub" option and choose where to install it to.























Finally click "apply" and Q4OS will start to install to your computer. When it has finished reboot the machine and remove the USB drive.

It is much easier to install Q4OS to replace Windows than dual boot. Note that Q4OS has a similar look and feel to Windows and therefore dual booting doesn't particularly seem a sensible option in this case.

First Impressions


















The initial desktop is fairly plain looking and it has to be said old school.

The welcome screen is an important resource and you should work your way through the buttons on the welcome screen before closing it.

The desktop is very much like Windows with desktop icons, a panel, menu, quick launch icons and a system tray.

Connecting To The Internet


















The network tool for connecting to the internet isn't the best I've seen. It is ok but not particularly intuitive.

Click on the network icon in the system tray and choose "connect to a new network".


A list of networks will appear. Double click on a network or choose "Connect and save".


You can now enter the security key and connect and save.

I found this a bit hit and miss. Even though I chose connect and save quite often it just saves. You then have to click the network icon again and choose the network from the saved connections at the top of the little window.

Once you have connected once I recommend installing network manager which works much better. I will show how to do this later on.

Desktop Profiler
















The welcome screen has a number of options on it and one is the "Desktop Profiler".

The Q4OS ISO image was fairly small which means you obviously don't get much in the way of software when you first install it.

The desktop profiler lets you choose to install a fully featured desktop which includes Chrome, LibreOffice and VLC or a basic desktop which has some common utilities and tools.

I chose the full desktop and it began downloading about half a gigabyte worth of data and installed Chrome, LibreOffice and a few more tools. I recommend this option for the average person as it saves looking for it later on.

Depending on your internet connection this can take some time. 

Proprietary Codecs


Also on the welcome screen is the option for installing "Multimedia Codecs". The average person will want to install these as they make it possible to play MP3 audio for instance.

When you click on the button a wizard appears. Click "Next" to get past the welcome message.


Click "Install" to install the codecs. It can take a short while for this to complete.

The Menu System


From the welcome screen you can also choose to change the style of the menu.

As you can see from the screen above there are three options available:

  • KickOff
  • Bourbon
  • Classic
The KickOff menu looks like this:


















The Bourbon menu looks like this:


















Finally the classic menu looks like this:


















Installing Applications

Another option on the welcome screen is the option for installing applications.


























The interface lets you install common and useful applications. 

If you haven't chosen the fully featured option from the desktop profiler you can still install applications such as Chrome and LibreOffice quite easily by clicking on them in the list.

The list includes a number of decent options including Chrome and Firefox, Synaptic, Network Manager, Thunderbird, Dropbox and Skype.

You will notice on the top of the screen there are three buttons:
  • Install application
  • Package manager
  • Desktop profiler
The desktop profiler as mentioned earlier lets you install a complete or basic set of packages and the install application button installs the highlighted application on the screen.

The package manager icon tries to open Synaptic. You therefore need to install Synaptic before you can use this option.

Once you have gone for the fully featured desktop and through the list of commonly used applications I could only find two applications that were missing.

For some reason there is no audio player included and of course Steam doesn't show up.


















After you have installed Synaptic you can easily find an audio player. I personally recommend Clementine which has a really nice interface for playing music.




Steam is also available via Synaptic although I haven't tried to install it yet. As Q4OS is going to be around on my machine for a while I have left Steam and the setting up of the NAS drive and printer until the weekend.

Desktop Look Changer 





One of the applications you can install from the installation screen is the Q4OS look switcher.

There are three options available by default:
  • Q4OS Classic
  • Q4OS Default
  • Spring
The classic option makes your computer run like an old Windows 2000 machine. The default is much like Windows XP and the Spring desktop is the one most people will go for as it provides modern menus and a more up to date look and feel.



The good news is that the performance remains the same whichever you choose. 

Customise The Desktop


















Getting rid of the dull blue background will be of keen interest to most people and you can change the wallpaper simply by right clicking on the desktop and choosing "Configure Desktop".

There are a number of different wallpapers available and you can instantly make your desktop look more interesting.

From the welcome wizard you can also choose to turn on desktop effects and the panel can be adjusted to appear at the top of the screen or on one of the edges. The size of the panel and icons can also be adjusted.

The quick launch bar can be customised to include your favourite applications. 


















To add an application right click and choose "add application". You can then navigate to the location of the application you wish to add to the launcher.
























You can also configure the launcher to allow drag and drop which makes it much easier to add icons to it and you can choose to show the "Show Desktop" icon.

Summary

Q4OS is fairly straight forward to get to grips with and it runs like a dream. 

When I tried it last year it was on a much older machine and really worked well. On this machine it performs magnificently.

The Windows look and feel might not be to everybody's taste especially the use of "My Documents" and "My Pictures" etc but you can easily rename them.

The desktop environment is Trinity and it lacks certain features such as window snapping. 

I haven't tried Q4OS out with my NAS drive or printer and other hardware yet but I did last time around and it had no issues so I suspect it will be the same this time. I will update you in the next blog post about this. I will also update you as to whether Steam works or not. 

As with last time around I can't really fault Q4OS on anything. Well I suppoes there are a couple of things that could be improved such as dual booting and the network manager should be installed by default as the one that comes with Q4OS is a bit inconsistent.

After just a couple of hours effort I had Q4OS installed with every application I need including PyCharm. I am now able to listen to music, watch films, surf the web, write software, edit documents, read and send mail, use DropBox, use Skype and play games. 

Q4OS also comes with WINE which is useful for running Windows software. 

An Everyday Linux User Review Of Q4OS 1.8

Introduction

I reviewed Q4OS for the first time last September and the review was largely positive.

In that review I had mixed feelings however because it looked like Windows from circa 2000 but was incredibly responsive and worked really well.

Well a year has gone past and it is time to take another look. This time I have tried it on a slightly more powerful computer and for the next month I am going to use it as my only operating system to see if it really will work as not only a Windows replacement but also a Ubuntu or Mint replacement as well.

How To Get Q4OS

Visit the Q4OS webpage to find more information about it before committing to installing it on your system.




When you are happy that this is the type of operating system you are interested in click on the download page.


















There are a number of options available including an installation image, live image and even a Raspberry PI image.

For each option you can choose between 32-bit and 64-bit.

The first thing you will notice is the size of the ISO images involved. The largest image is just over half a gigabyte.

How To Create A Q4OS USB

To create a bootable Q4OS drive I found the best tool to use was Rufus which can be downloaded from https://rufus.akeo.ie/.


Start by inserting a USB drive. Make sure it has nothing on there that you want to keep because it will be formatted.

Make sure the device dropdown points to the drive letter of your USB drive.

For the partition scheme you will want to choose MBR for a computer that runs a standard BIOS or GPT for a computer with UEFI.

Give the volume a name and make sure quick format is checked, create a bootable drive using ISO image is checked and create extended label and icon files is checked.

Next to the ISO image dropdown there is a folder icon which when clicked lets you choose the Q4OS ISO image.

When you have chosen the correct ISO image click on "Start".

The USB drive will now be created and you should be able to boot into Q4OS.


How To Install Q4OS


















The live version of Q4OS works pretty well. The keyboard is set to US English but this can be fixed although it is better to wait until the full installation.

You can connect to the internet by clicking on the network icon in the bottom right corner and from there you can use the live image to really test it out.

The changes however are not persisted so if you reboot you will lose any changes made.

On the desktop you will see an icon called "Install Q4OS".


The first screen lets you choose the installation language.


You then choose your location on the map to set your time.


The next step is to choose your keyboard layout.























You now need to create a user. Enter your full name and a username and then enter a password (and repeat it).

You can choose whether the computer logs in automatically (not recommended) and you can set the hostname which is how your computer will appear on a network.

If you so choose you can also add an image for the account.























Now comes the tricky bit. Partitioning the drive. 

If you are simply replacing Windows or any other operating system then all you need to do is click the "Create Partitions" button. 

Note: The "Create Partitions" button is unforgiving. If you click it and answer yes to the warning you will lose anything that is currently on the drive.

If you want to dual boot with Windows (or another operating system) click on the free space (You can get free space from Windows by shrinking the drive). Then choose edit partitions. You can create partitions from the free space. You definitely need a root partition (/) and you can optionally create home and swap partitions from that free space.


I chose to replace Windows with Q4OS and so clicked the create partitions button and accepted the warning.
























Almost there now. Check the "install grub" option and choose where to install it to.























Finally click "apply" and Q4OS will start to install to your computer. When it has finished reboot the machine and remove the USB drive.

It is much easier to install Q4OS to replace Windows than dual boot. Note that Q4OS has a similar look and feel to Windows and therefore dual booting doesn't particularly seem a sensible option in this case.

First Impressions


















The initial desktop is fairly plain looking and it has to be said old school.

The welcome screen is an important resource and you should work your way through the buttons on the welcome screen before closing it.

The desktop is very much like Windows with desktop icons, a panel, menu, quick launch icons and a system tray.

Connecting To The Internet


















The network tool for connecting to the internet isn't the best I've seen. It is ok but not particularly intuitive.

Click on the network icon in the system tray and choose "connect to a new network".


A list of networks will appear. Double click on a network or choose "Connect and save".


You can now enter the security key and connect and save.

I found this a bit hit and miss. Even though I chose connect and save quite often it just saves. You then have to click the network icon again and choose the network from the saved connections at the top of the little window.

Once you have connected once I recommend installing network manager which works much better. I will show how to do this later on.

Desktop Profiler
















The welcome screen has a number of options on it and one is the "Desktop Profiler".

The Q4OS ISO image was fairly small which means you obviously don't get much in the way of software when you first install it.

The desktop profiler lets you choose to install a fully featured desktop which includes Chrome, LibreOffice and VLC or a basic desktop which has some common utilities and tools.

I chose the full desktop and it began downloading about half a gigabyte worth of data and installed Chrome, LibreOffice and a few more tools. I recommend this option for the average person as it saves looking for it later on.

Depending on your internet connection this can take some time. 

Proprietary Codecs


Also on the welcome screen is the option for installing "Multimedia Codecs". The average person will want to install these as they make it possible to play MP3 audio for instance.

When you click on the button a wizard appears. Click "Next" to get past the welcome message.


Click "Install" to install the codecs. It can take a short while for this to complete.

The Menu System


From the welcome screen you can also choose to change the style of the menu.

As you can see from the screen above there are three options available:

  • KickOff
  • Bourbon
  • Classic
The KickOff menu looks like this:


















The Bourbon menu looks like this:


















Finally the classic menu looks like this:


















Installing Applications

Another option on the welcome screen is the option for installing applications.


























The interface lets you install common and useful applications. 

If you haven't chosen the fully featured option from the desktop profiler you can still install applications such as Chrome and LibreOffice quite easily by clicking on them in the list.

The list includes a number of decent options including Chrome and Firefox, Synaptic, Network Manager, Thunderbird, Dropbox and Skype.

You will notice on the top of the screen there are three buttons:
  • Install application
  • Package manager
  • Desktop profiler
The desktop profiler as mentioned earlier lets you install a complete or basic set of packages and the install application button installs the highlighted application on the screen.

The package manager icon tries to open Synaptic. You therefore need to install Synaptic before you can use this option.

Once you have gone for the fully featured desktop and through the list of commonly used applications I could only find two applications that were missing.

For some reason there is no audio player included and of course Steam doesn't show up.


















After you have installed Synaptic you can easily find an audio player. I personally recommend Clementine which has a really nice interface for playing music.




Steam is also available via Synaptic although I haven't tried to install it yet. As Q4OS is going to be around on my machine for a while I have left Steam and the setting up of the NAS drive and printer until the weekend.

Desktop Look Changer 





One of the applications you can install from the installation screen is the Q4OS look switcher.

There are three options available by default:
  • Q4OS Classic
  • Q4OS Default
  • Spring
The classic option makes your computer run like an old Windows 2000 machine. The default is much like Windows XP and the Spring desktop is the one most people will go for as it provides modern menus and a more up to date look and feel.



The good news is that the performance remains the same whichever you choose. 

Customise The Desktop


















Getting rid of the dull blue background will be of keen interest to most people and you can change the wallpaper simply by right clicking on the desktop and choosing "Configure Desktop".

There are a number of different wallpapers available and you can instantly make your desktop look more interesting.

From the welcome wizard you can also choose to turn on desktop effects and the panel can be adjusted to appear at the top of the screen or on one of the edges. The size of the panel and icons can also be adjusted.

The quick launch bar can be customised to include your favourite applications. 


















To add an application right click and choose "add application". You can then navigate to the location of the application you wish to add to the launcher.
























You can also configure the launcher to allow drag and drop which makes it much easier to add icons to it and you can choose to show the "Show Desktop" icon.

Summary

Q4OS is fairly straight forward to get to grips with and it runs like a dream. 

When I tried it last year it was on a much older machine and really worked well. On this machine it performs magnificently.

The Windows look and feel might not be to everybody's taste especially the use of "My Documents" and "My Pictures" etc but you can easily rename them.

The desktop environment is Trinity and it lacks certain features such as window snapping. 

I haven't tried Q4OS out with my NAS drive or printer and other hardware yet but I did last time around and it had no issues so I suspect it will be the same this time. I will update you in the next blog post about this. I will also update you as to whether Steam works or not. 

As with last time around I can't really fault Q4OS on anything. Well I suppoes there are a couple of things that could be improved such as dual booting and the network manager should be installed by default as the one that comes with Q4OS is a bit inconsistent.

After just a couple of hours effort I had Q4OS installed with every application I need including PyCharm. I am now able to listen to music, watch films, surf the web, write software, edit documents, read and send mail, use DropBox, use Skype and play games. 

Q4OS also comes with WINE which is useful for running Windows software. 

Posted at 18:41 |  by Gary Newell

Thursday, 17 November 2016

Introduction

I have received a number of comments with regards to the procedure for dual booting Windows 10 and Ubuntu.

Some people have noticed that the free disk space they created is not available for use when they try and install Ubuntu.

This article aims to explain why you wouldn't be able to use the free space and who will be affected by this.

Who Is Affected?

If your computer uses the Unified Extensible Firmware Interface (UEFI) then you will not be affected. If however your computer has a legacy BIOS then you may be affected but only if your computer's hard drive already has 4 primary partitions.

How To Check Whether Your Computer Is Using UEFI Or A Legacy BIOS

As we are going to be using the Disk Management screen anyway the easiest way to check whether your computer is UEFI based or not is to right click on the start button and choose the "Disk Management" option from the menu.





















Look at the partitions for your hard disk (which will probably be disk 0). If you see a partition called "EFI System Partition" then you can feel very smug and stop reading this article because you will not be affected by the issue.

The Issue Explained


If there is no EFI partition then you could have issues with partitioning when installing Ubuntu.

The older style BIOS only allows a user to create 4 primary partitions on a disk whereas the newer GPT partitioning system allows more than you will ever need.

The problem with having just 4 partitions available is that Windows 10 often takes up a number of partitions itself. There is one for Windows and at least one for a recovery partition. The manufacturer of the computer quite often has a partition for its own recovery partition and then another partition may have been created for another reason.

As there can only be 4 primary partitions if you have shrunk the Windows partition the free space you have created cannot be placed in a partition and therefore cannot be used.

When you try to install Ubuntu you will not see an option to install alongside Windows and when you choose something else as an option you will see unusable space as shown below.






















The Solution

I can't give you a step by step solution to fix this as it depends entirely on what partitions are currently used on your system.

I can however tell you that all is not lost. 

Whilst you can only have 4 primary partitions you can split a single partition into a number of extended partitions. If you can free up one of the 4 primary partitions you can then create a number of logical/extended partitions on that single partition for installing Ubuntu.

How To Remove A Partition

Freeing up a single partition is the difficult bit.

If you have shrunk the Windows partition to free up space then you will want to delete the partition next to it (no, not the Windows one, probably the one to the right).

The issue is however, what are those partitions used for. If the partition is a Windows recovery partition then you could elect to move that partition to an external hard drive.


The partition might also be the recovery partition created by your computer's manufacturer. In this case you should find the software used by the manufacturer as this may allow you to backup the system to an external hard drive or USB drive which means you can delete the manufacturer's recovery partition and use it with the free space you created by shrinking Windows.

Another option is of course to use Macrium Reflect which I recommended as the backup tool as part of the process for dual booting Ubuntu and Windows 10. (Click here for that guide). You can use Macrium to create recovery media on DVDs, USB drives and external hard drives. With the recovery media safely stored externally you can safely delete the Windows recovery and manufacturer's recovery media.

If you have another partition called data then you might wish to move the data from there onto the Windows partition or indeed another drive such as an external hard drive and delete that partition.

You can delete a partition within the disk management tool by right clicking on it and choosing "delete volume".

Windows recovery partitions cannot be deleted using the disk management tool because the partition will be protected. This guide shows how to delete a protected partition.

It may be the case that the manufacturer's partition or Windows recovery partition is quite large and therefore you don't need the free space created by shrinking Windows any more. You can give the disk space you gained from shrinking Windows back to Windows by right clicking on the Windows partition in the disk management tool and choosing "Extend Volume". 

Given the choice between removing the Windows recovery partition and the manufacturers recovery partition I recommend removing the manufacturer's partition. I would however make sure that I had a viable recovery option available via Macrium reflect or another such tool.

The upshot is that you want to get to a position where you have only 3 primary partitions and then a section of free space on your computer large enough to install Ubuntu.

You should now be able to follow my guide to installing Ubuntu alongside Windows 10 to complete the task.

Summary

This only affects people who are using a computer with a legacy BIOS that already has 4 primary partitions in use.

To fix the issue remove one of the 4 primary partitions. 

Important: If you decide to remove a data partition make sure you have backed up the data first. If you decide to remove a recovery partition make sure you have created other recovery media

After deleting one of the 4 partitions you should be left with 3 primary partitions and an area of unallocated disk space.

When you run the Ubuntu installer you should now see the option to install alongside Windows 10.

If you do not get the option to install alongside Windows 10, choose the something else option as the installation type and create 2 extended partitions in the area of free space, the first taking up most of the disk space and mounted to root (/) and the second taking up around 8 gigabytes for swap space. The amount of swap space can be reduced or increased depending on the age of your machine and amount of memory available.





What To Do When Ubuntu Can't Use Free Unallocated Disk Space

Introduction

I have received a number of comments with regards to the procedure for dual booting Windows 10 and Ubuntu.

Some people have noticed that the free disk space they created is not available for use when they try and install Ubuntu.

This article aims to explain why you wouldn't be able to use the free space and who will be affected by this.

Who Is Affected?

If your computer uses the Unified Extensible Firmware Interface (UEFI) then you will not be affected. If however your computer has a legacy BIOS then you may be affected but only if your computer's hard drive already has 4 primary partitions.

How To Check Whether Your Computer Is Using UEFI Or A Legacy BIOS

As we are going to be using the Disk Management screen anyway the easiest way to check whether your computer is UEFI based or not is to right click on the start button and choose the "Disk Management" option from the menu.





















Look at the partitions for your hard disk (which will probably be disk 0). If you see a partition called "EFI System Partition" then you can feel very smug and stop reading this article because you will not be affected by the issue.

The Issue Explained


If there is no EFI partition then you could have issues with partitioning when installing Ubuntu.

The older style BIOS only allows a user to create 4 primary partitions on a disk whereas the newer GPT partitioning system allows more than you will ever need.

The problem with having just 4 partitions available is that Windows 10 often takes up a number of partitions itself. There is one for Windows and at least one for a recovery partition. The manufacturer of the computer quite often has a partition for its own recovery partition and then another partition may have been created for another reason.

As there can only be 4 primary partitions if you have shrunk the Windows partition the free space you have created cannot be placed in a partition and therefore cannot be used.

When you try to install Ubuntu you will not see an option to install alongside Windows and when you choose something else as an option you will see unusable space as shown below.






















The Solution

I can't give you a step by step solution to fix this as it depends entirely on what partitions are currently used on your system.

I can however tell you that all is not lost. 

Whilst you can only have 4 primary partitions you can split a single partition into a number of extended partitions. If you can free up one of the 4 primary partitions you can then create a number of logical/extended partitions on that single partition for installing Ubuntu.

How To Remove A Partition

Freeing up a single partition is the difficult bit.

If you have shrunk the Windows partition to free up space then you will want to delete the partition next to it (no, not the Windows one, probably the one to the right).

The issue is however, what are those partitions used for. If the partition is a Windows recovery partition then you could elect to move that partition to an external hard drive.


The partition might also be the recovery partition created by your computer's manufacturer. In this case you should find the software used by the manufacturer as this may allow you to backup the system to an external hard drive or USB drive which means you can delete the manufacturer's recovery partition and use it with the free space you created by shrinking Windows.

Another option is of course to use Macrium Reflect which I recommended as the backup tool as part of the process for dual booting Ubuntu and Windows 10. (Click here for that guide). You can use Macrium to create recovery media on DVDs, USB drives and external hard drives. With the recovery media safely stored externally you can safely delete the Windows recovery and manufacturer's recovery media.

If you have another partition called data then you might wish to move the data from there onto the Windows partition or indeed another drive such as an external hard drive and delete that partition.

You can delete a partition within the disk management tool by right clicking on it and choosing "delete volume".

Windows recovery partitions cannot be deleted using the disk management tool because the partition will be protected. This guide shows how to delete a protected partition.

It may be the case that the manufacturer's partition or Windows recovery partition is quite large and therefore you don't need the free space created by shrinking Windows any more. You can give the disk space you gained from shrinking Windows back to Windows by right clicking on the Windows partition in the disk management tool and choosing "Extend Volume". 

Given the choice between removing the Windows recovery partition and the manufacturers recovery partition I recommend removing the manufacturer's partition. I would however make sure that I had a viable recovery option available via Macrium reflect or another such tool.

The upshot is that you want to get to a position where you have only 3 primary partitions and then a section of free space on your computer large enough to install Ubuntu.

You should now be able to follow my guide to installing Ubuntu alongside Windows 10 to complete the task.

Summary

This only affects people who are using a computer with a legacy BIOS that already has 4 primary partitions in use.

To fix the issue remove one of the 4 primary partitions. 

Important: If you decide to remove a data partition make sure you have backed up the data first. If you decide to remove a recovery partition make sure you have created other recovery media

After deleting one of the 4 partitions you should be left with 3 primary partitions and an area of unallocated disk space.

When you run the Ubuntu installer you should now see the option to install alongside Windows 10.

If you do not get the option to install alongside Windows 10, choose the something else option as the installation type and create 2 extended partitions in the area of free space, the first taking up most of the disk space and mounted to root (/) and the second taking up around 8 gigabytes for swap space. The amount of swap space can be reduced or increased depending on the age of your machine and amount of memory available.





Posted at 20:07 |  by Gary Newell

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