5 Reasons Why PCLinuxOS Is Better For Windows XP Users Than Ubuntu


I have recently written a series of articles showing How to install PCLinuxOS alongside Windows XP.

There are a number of reasons why I chose to write about PCLinuxOS over say Ubuntu or Linux Mint.

Here are five reasons why I think PCLinuxOS is a better fit for Windows XP and Windows Vista users than Ubuntu.

1. Hardware

The most obvious reason to choose PCLinuxOS over Ubuntu is that the hardware required for running PCLinuxOS is significantly less taxing on older computers than Ubuntu.

The main area that would be an issue with Ubuntu is the rendering of 3D graphics.

Using PCLinuxOS with the MATE desktop provides a nice clean looking desktop environment without giving up any features that you may find within Ubuntu.

Of course there are light weight alternatives to Ubuntu using the same base such as Lubuntu or Xubuntu.

2. Releases

If you are using Windows XP then you are not the sort of person who likes change. (where computers are concerned)

With Ubuntu you have the choice of being able to use the long term support release or an interim release.

The long term support release gives you a number of years support on the same version of Ubuntu before having to upgrade, whereas the interim releases give you newer functionality with shorter support cycles.

PCLinuxOS is different because it is a rolling release distribution and it really is a case of install once and once only.

All a PCLinuxOS user has to do is let the updates run and the system will constantly stay up to date.

3. Familiarity

The MATE desktop within PCLinuxOS looks very Windows XP like and the transition between Windows XP and PCLinuxOS isn’t all that difficult.

Many of the features within PCLinuxOS are available using a similar point and click approach to Windows.

Ubuntu, whilst a great distro, is different. It does require a bit of reprogramming in the way you use your computer.

4. Privacy

Not a subject I like to harp on about too much but Ubuntu does have the much maligned privacy issues which causes many a debate on online forums and within social media.

The Ubuntu desktop and the web become very integrated. You can view your Twitter messages within a lens on the Dash and you can read your emails, buy books and install software using the same view.

Amazon’s search results are integrated into Ubuntu and some people are uncomfortable with this.

PCLinuxOS doesn’t use the same approach as Ubuntu and if you therefore find integrated online search results an intrusion then Ubuntu may not be for you.

I’d like to add the caviat that you can turn off all the integrated search results and Amazon features fairly easily within Ubuntu.

5. All features work straight away

When you install Ubuntu and you run Firefox for the first time you might be frustrated when you try and watch a Youtube video and realise that it doesn’t work because Flash isn’t installed. Similarly trying to play music for the first time will more than likely fail as most people use MP3s nowadays and the codecs required to do so aren’t installed by default within Ubuntu.

There is a fairly straight forward method of getting all these things to work in Ubuntu but PCLinuxOS has all these thing working from the initial installation and it is likely that people using Windows XP would like to do as little as possible to get things working.


This is not an attempt to disparage Ubuntu as it is a very good operating system and I would recommend it to most people. It is definitely a better step forward for Windows 7 users than Windows 8 would be.

PCLinuxOS however is probably a better fit for people using older versions of the Windows operating system.

Thankyou for reading.

Thinking of upgrading?

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To get a copy of PCLinuxOS

Click here for a guide to creating a bootable PCLinuxOS USB drive
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  1. Interesting post. I tried PCLinuxOS a while back and found it didn't work well on my old hardware (don't remember the details) but Zorin Lite was fine. I would like to see a comparison of the two with most recent versions.

    • Zorin OS Lite still seems to be on version 6 which I have already covered. I have downloaded the Zorin Core 8 which I plan to review in the next week or so and I have the latest PCLinuxOS and so I will review that as well.

  2. Good post!
    Another point is . After many distro-hoping I settled on PCLinuxOS. Not quite cutting-edge but stability means a lot for me. Don't need "the last" kernel(s) which in the most cases is/are still buggy.
    And yes, security is also one of the reasons I'll never touch a *buntu, neither will use any distro which allows the use of .
    Don't want to troll but the way it is developed I see Ubuntu (and its spins) as the Linux Windows.

    Best regards.

    • I picked PCLOS several years ago to breathe new life into my XP machine. I found it very nice – especially the rolling update aspect. But when the machine finally was ready for retirement, I bought a new, cheap HP box with Windows 7 – intentionally avoiding
      Windows 8 and the 'secure boot' issue. But PCLOS still couldn't run on it, because it doesn't support EFI booting or GPT partitioning at all. Not only that, it *tried* to install and trashed what was there. Hopefully they'll get over this issue, though their forum still recommends just wiping out windows and converting to MBR – not an acceptable solution at all (I use Windows to access my company's VPN, which unfortunately isn't accessible from Linux).

      I've since moved to Mint KDE, which is pretty similar to PCLOS – and have mostly not looked back. I still regret having to do a new install every time a new version comes out. But PCLOS stopped being a viable option.

    • You could have done what I do… installed PCLinuxOS, and then installed Windows in a VirtualBox VM. I get the best of both worlds, Windows actually runs faster, and whenever it decides it is suffering too much to keep living and commits suicide, I just click "Revert to snapshot" and in about 1 minute, I'm working again.

      Plus backups are a snap, and I can create a Windows appliance that allows me to reinstall a known-good Windows in minutes if I have a catastrophic hard disk failure.

      Why would you want Windows installed outside of a VM for anything other than playing games?

  3. Certainly my 9 year old likes PCLinux OS the best of all the distros she has tried. It is somehow friendlier to her, and I can not explain it. She uses Linux more often than Windows, so is familiar with different desktops.

    I tend to use Ubuntu for 3 reasons 1) Long term support editions 2) Most support form third party software and hardware developers 3) More avenues of user support.

    Ubuntu is probably the only distro that has a large amount money (at considerable loss) for its community edition. So while there are issues such as privacy (ad slinging/amazon linking are merely ways of trying to earn money), I am not worried by it, and you can make any Linux Distro as light or as heavy as you like.

    • I am currently using Kubuntu and have been since reviewing it at the end of last year. I do now have PCLinuxOS on my older laptop and it is quite nice to jump on to it when the battery has died on this laptop and I can't be bothered to plug it in.

  4. I started using PC Linux. I then switched to a Debian based OS. I find apt-get and .deb better than .rpm. I am now using Point Linux with the Mate desktop. I agree that Mate is the way to go. KDE is to heavy and busy. Older XP computers will find it heavy on resources. Debian is adding Mate to it's OS soon, or you can add it yourself. Yet I would not recommend pure Debian to a newbie. A bit harder to figure out what to download and add non-free software. Great support for HP printers and scanners though.

    • I reviewed Point Linux last year. It is indeed a very good distribution. I don't find KDE as heavy as I used to. It can be as intense and as busy as you need it to be. I still really only use one desktop with a shelf.

  5. Just a minor point, but I think that a check box during installation now adds mp3 support from Fluendo as well as some other codec support that they provide thanks to an arrangement with Canonical. I believe that there are other ways to get support for just about everything that Fluendo provides, but you may have to dig around for it and some of it is of debatable legality. Unfortunately, Canonical's arrangement with Fluendo does not include encrypted DVD playback support, so you still have to either pay Fluendo for that, or get it by another means.

  6. For about the last four years I've had problems with the Intel 82845g graphics on my Dell Dimension 2400 (bought 2004). Many others have had this problem as well since the Linux driver was rewritten in about 2010. These days I just SSH into it and remotely use X-windows.

    I might give PCLinuxOS a try on it before consigning it to the scrap heap

    • Haters are haters. They will not try what they do not know and criticize anything they do not use. Keeping an open mind is a good thing. A closed mind only traps one in what they already know. While I agree with your comment 100% Gary, you will never influence that type of person towards that open mind. I enjoy your site, keep up the good work.

    • Opinions without substance are not very useful. Or interesting. Tell me why it's "shit" when everything else I have tried since 2005 has failed to provide me with what I need to run my business, and get my job done. It's not perfect, but it's the best thing out there for what keeps my bank account full. Not even Windows or Mac can say that.

  7. "My older Laptop runs Windows XP and PCLinuxOS KDE. And PCLOS works very well, so it is a great pick for old laptops or PCs."

    XP was around a long time with many hardware improvements over that time. My machine was from 2001, 30 gig hard drive, 1.6 Ghz processor and 256 mb of ram upgraded to 1 gig. KDE did not well run on it, Mate did.

  8. I am running PCLinuxOS MATE edition on a dual core AMD64 with Nvidia graphics and it runs like a champ. I liked it so much that I tried in on my older Samsung Netbook NC10 that previously had Windows XP on it. It works better than Windows ever did. If you find KDE a bit heavy then try the MATE edition.

  9. I have assisted dozens of Windows users in their migration to Linux over the years, and I do agree that PCLinuOS is a fine and worthy alternative for Windows XP users, including the KDE GUI based release that seems to be just as speedy and easy to navigate as XFCE, or any other Linux GUI desktop.

    The only two issues that could be deal breakers "at this very moment" for PCLinuxOS as compared to a Debian based distribution, for example, are: (a) no Netflix client for down streaming movies by subscription, and (b) the new Steam gaming engine from Valve.

    Just his week I received an update notice on my KWheezy/ Debian 7.2 ASUS laptop indicating my ability to register with Steam and play dozens of latest Valve games. I have not attempted this adventure, as a 60+ plus ancient technologist with fading reflexes and a poor temperament for losing a battle with the Afghan Tali..n.

    Can't use actual T word word for fear NSA will target me for interrogation. .

  10. Except for point two about releases, this article seems like it is mainly about the advantages of using a Mate interface. All the other points would apply equally to Mint, which is after all the main developer of Mate (not to mention Cinnamon). Personally, all else being equal, I'd rather go with/reward/boost the originator and lead developer of a technology than someone who just picked it up. So if the article's points are persuasive, then unless the releases issue is an important one for you, consider trying Mint.

    • Actually, mate was developed by Arch. Mint is the first distro to make it mainstream. I have a bootleg win 7 ultimate on my desktop for visual studio, and mint mate in a virtual machine for when not in visual studio so my shit ain't black 🙂

  11. PCLinuxOS is an awesome distro. I have it installed on both my HP tower and dell inspiron laptop. It recognized and set up the correct nvidia drivers during install, and having an older nvidia graphics card, this is a good thing. The KDE iso might be a little large, but it comes chock full of good software.

    I've done enough distro hopping to know that cutting edge is nice, but stability and security are also nice and PCLinuxOS has a nice blend of current software and security & stability!

  12. But what about security? If it's all set "out of the box"… then what about the firewall? Do I need it? How do I know what settings? Where can I find the information? In the meantime, am I at risk? This is not at all intuitive… nor is it easy to understand where to find the information to do what ought to be very basic things. (I have been attempting to learn PCLinusOS for a few days now – I like it in that it's faster internet searching than windows- but there is never a straight answer to anything… and even the crooked ones are unclear! Sorry for my frustration.

    • Security is easily dealt with. Go to the PCLinuxOS Control Center, and click on the Security tab. Click "Configure systems security, permissions and audit". For a typical desktop machine, in the Basic Security tab, check the "Enable MSEC Tool" checkbox, and select "Standard" security level. Choose File>Save from the menu tab at the top of the window, and confirm the choice. on my system, it makes 64 changes, and then you're done. Close that window, and you return to the security tab of the PCLinuxOS Control Center.

      From there, for a firewall, click on "Set up your personal firewall". It will probably show a check mark next to "Everything (No firewall). Simply uncheck that, and then check off anything you need to allow through. For me, all I have to do is uncheck "Everything", and I'm done. then click "OK", and it will ask which interfaces it should watch for intrusion attempts. It usually has all of them checked, and I leave them checked and click "OK". Then it asks which interfaces you want to protect with your firewall, and I select everything listed and click "OK". It pauses for a moment, while it applies your new firewall, and then returns you to the security center screen. For most people using a standard desktop computer, that's all you need to do. Simple, quick and easy.

  13. hello

    I'm not sure if this is a problem for most Linux users or not. But with the recent retirement of Windows XP, I was forced to figure out a solution for my in-laws and their aging Dell Dimension 2400 box.

    I would have like to have installed a Linux Distro; but everything that I had read, mentioned that Apple Products are not supported under Linux and my in-laws have a couple of iPod devices so I was forced to stay with Windows and installed Windows 7.

    But is what I had read about Apple devices not being compatible with Linux true, or is there a "work around"?

    • I don't know where you've read that, but as a long term Linux user I can tell you that is nonsense. I've just put 'ipod' into the search box of the PClinuxOS package manager and it's come up with 19 possibilities – none of them iTunes obviously, which is probably where your misconception comes from

    • Hi there, thanks for the comment. I am planning on an article this week actually that compares two of the best audio applications for KDE and part of that article looks at iPOD and other music device support.

  14. PCLOS monty is a FARCE!!! it fugged up my hard drive and would not install no matter what I did, it eventually put my bios in an infinite loop, I had just bought the system and a dang nice one, asus z97 pro, i5 6790, 8 mgs gskill, the works

    I thought my mobo fired so I reinstalled the bios everything then for kicks I replaced the hard drive I took out of my older system and it booted right up so I though el no its the HD, fryws wasnt open so for giggles I reformatted the boot sector and SURE ENOUGH I was able to install ubuntu

    this isn’t the first time PCLOS has messed with my computer, back in 09 it FRIED my laptop mobo, thought it was just the mobo going out but now I have my doubts, its either intentional or very SHODDY programming careful if you have a z97 board it will get to the install then the box goes away and that's all it does, don't press it or it might mess you HD up like it did mine, and its not me I have been using linux since FreeBSD network installs from tarballs and I can install ubuntu in a flash, its just crappy coding at best

  15. Your logic skills leave much to be desired. I see several possibilities for what may have been the issue, but it's unlikely that PCLinusOS was one of them. Perhaps you should start learning how to think critically and troubleshoot, and that will help you solve your issues better than attacking one distro or another because you didn't apply logical sequences of troubleshooting steps to figure out what the issue actually was.

    If there is blame from the software end of things, it is likely to be found in one of the components of PCLinuxOS, and most likely the bootloader, which is not coded by the PCLinuxOS staff. So again… your logic is left wanting.

    Had you replaced the hard drive and then tried to install PCLinuxOS again, you would have seen that one of two things was likely:

    A) Your first hard drive was failing.
    B) Your first hard drive was incompatible with the version of the bootloader PCLinusOS uses.

    Furthermore, it likely would have SURE ENOUGH installed just as well on the hard drive you replaced it with. But you didn't do that, so because your logic sucks, you assume that Ubuntu did right where PCLinuxOS was a failure, without knowing if that is really true or not.

    And, Ubuntu may have installed on top of the original hard disk, if you had tried that, because it uses a later version of GRUB.

    So instead of trying "for kicks" to replace the hard drive next time, how about you do some critical thinking and troubleshoot it out before you assume one distro is faulty based on a lack of real understanding of what actually happened?

  16. I have a real soft spot for PCLinuxOS. The Distro hopper stopper! I guess that the type of person PCLinuxOS is best suited to is an old school XP user. It's not a cool distro like Arch. It's for stick in the mud old timers. Stability, remember stability?… Well PCLinuxOS has it in spades. I don't think this guy has the best arguments for why PCLinuxOS might be a better distro for a WindowsXP user than Ubuntu. However I do think he maybe right, well kind of. I see the typical PCLinuxOS user as being middle-aged and up. Using their computers daily but on older kit or at least low cost/ low powered hardware. Not at all interested in new thing just because they are new. Much more interested in stuff that works, and works every damn time. If Linux Disro's were cars PCLinuxOS would be a trusty pick-up truck, reliable and useful, not sexy but gets the damn job done. So for all those people that ask for a distro for their dad or uncle PCLinusOS may very well be the disrto of choice. I think we all know someone like that, tell them about PCLinuxOS they will feel right at home. One thing i hate, its easy to configure vpn on windows xpn

  17. I usually don't mix Linux packages if it requires something from a different DE that I'm using at the time. When I install a different Linux distro. I use all their default software that it installed for me. This is how I learn how the other Linux packages work. And I can see if it's better than the previously one I was using. Linux is fun and enjoyable. Let your system choose which Linux distro to use and I don't thing its difficult to configure VPN in Linux. I am using PureVPN and it is working perfect. For more details about PureVPN Review visit Best VPN Provider.

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