Best of Linux

Best Linux Distributions for an Old Laptop in 2022

“Unlike Windows and Mac, Linux still provides lifelong support for older machines with its various distributions. This is what I like most about Linux and its distributions. Even if you cannot carry out larger tasks, you can still carry out normal day-to-day tasks such as web browsing, writing/editing word document, watching movies, or listening to music. So why throw your old machine if you can still make use of it?

So, we will have a look at the best Linux distributions that can be easily used and installed on older computers with minimal hardware. Some of the Linux distributions listed here might be useful for beginners also.

So, let’s get started and have a look at lightweight Linux distros for an old laptop as in 2022.”

1. Arch Linux

Arch Linux is one of the best Linux distros if you’re looking for a lightweight Linux distro that can run smoothly on your old laptop. It doesn’t ships-in with any unnecessary preinstalled packages and applications.

On top of that is a highly customizable Linux distro that can be customized as per your needs. If you go with desktop environments like Xfce and LXQt, then it will help you convert Arch Linux to a lightweight distro. But there is one catch, you can’t install Arch Linux on the 32-bit system as developers of Arch Linux stopped offering 32-bit packages for Arch Linux.

Minimum System Requirements
Processor: 64-bit Architecture
RAM: Min 530 MB
Storage: Min 2GB

2. Ubuntu MATE

Ubuntu MATE is a stable and easy-to-use operating system that comes with a configurable desktop environment. This is a kind of Linux distro that will bring your old unusable computer to life. With modest hardware requirements, it is an ideal distro for older as well as modern-day machines.

The latest release is based on Ubuntu 22.04; it could be a great alternative to Ubuntu, where the computer is not powerful enough to run a composite desktop.

Minimum System Requirements
Processor: Core 2 Duo or Core i3
RAM: 1GB Min
Peripherals: DVD or USB Flash Drive

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3. Bunsenlabs Linux Lithium

Bunsenslab Linux Lithium is a lightweight Linux distribution that is ideal for older computers and laptops with minimal hardware on offer. It shops in with an easily customizable Openbox desktop.

Configuration and resource packages are installed on top of Debian. It is a highly customizable Linux distro that can be molded as per your requirements.

Minimum System Requirements
Processor: 32-bit or 64-bit.
RAM: Min 1 GB

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4. Slax

Slax is a pocket operating system; yes, this is what the developers call it. Slax is a modern, portable but lightweight operating system that integrates well with older machines and laptops. This Linux distro has a clean and beautiful design.

You can install Slax on a USB flash drive so that you can carry it anywhere in your pocket and run it on any computer. Maybe that’s why they call it a pocket operating system. Slax is based on Debian, which ensures good community support and updates.

Slax ships in with a handful of useful pre-installed applications such as Terminal, Web Browser, and others. It is available in both 32-bit and 64-bit versions. This installation ISO file size is just around 270 MB which makes it an ideal Linux distro for older laptops.

Minimum System Requirements
Processor: i686 or newer
RAM: 128 MB (for desktop use)
512 MB (for web browser use)
Peripherals: CD or USB Drive to boot OS.

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5. Zorin OS Lite

Zorin OS Lite is another lightweight Linux distro that runs smooth and fast on machines as old as 15 years. This distro has a Windows desktop layout which makes it ideal for Windows users, as this will make the transition from Windows to Linux easier.

It is also an ideal Linux distro for beginners as it has a simple but attractive user interface which makes it easier to use and get used to.

Minimum System Requirements
Processor: 700 MHz Single Core – Intel/AMD 64-bit or 32-bit processor
RAM: 512 MB
Storage: 8 GB
Display: 640 x 480 Resolution

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6. Linux Lite

Linux Lite is free to use an operating system that is ideal for beginners as well as older computers. It offers a great deal of flexibility as well as usability, which makes it ideal for migrants from the Microsoft Windows operating system.

The user interface is clean and intuitive, which makes it look modern operating system. It is based on Ubuntu LTS and can be updated in just 2 clicks. More than 1000 applications to choose from, which can be installed and used for free.

Minimum System Requirements
Processor: 1 GHz
RAM: 768 MB
Storage: 8 GB
Display: 1024 x 768 Resolution

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7. antiX

antiX is a fast and lightweight Linux distro that is based on Debian. It ships with both 32-bit and 64-bit hardware support, which makes it an ideal Linux distro for older computers and laptops.

antiX can also be used as fast booting live operating system using a USB flash drive on any laptop with minimal hardware resources. The latest release is antiX-21 Grup Yorum.

Minimum System Requirements
RAM: Min 128 MB
Storage: Min 5 GB

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8. Bodhi Linux

Built on top of Ubuntu 18.04 LTS, Bodhi Linux is a lightweight Linux distribution ideal for older laptops. They call this distribution Enlightened Linux Distribution.

It has a very active and friendly community, so rest assured of seamless support. It is faster compared to other Linux distributions. This distro also ships in with essential apps such as web browsers and terminals.

System Requirement
Processor: 500 MHz (32-bit) and 1.0 GHz (64-bit)
RAM: 512 MB
Storage: 5 GB

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9. Puppy Linux

Puppy Linux is a lightweight Linux distro that can be easily installed and used on 32-bit and 64-bit older PCs. It can be easily booted from CD, DVD, or USB flash.

One thing that might go against this distro is that it doesn’t come with some necessary apps installed, but it is one of the fastest Linux distros that work effortlessly on older laptops.

System Requirement
Processor: 900 MHz
RAM: 300 MB

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10. Peppermint OS

Peppermint OS is a lightweight Linux distro well known for its stable and superfast nature. It is a highly customizable distro as it is built on a long-term support code base.

Community support makes it an ideal OS for beginners as well as older laptops. The user interface is clean and modern, which makes it easier to get used to for newbies.

System Requirement
Processor: Intel x86
RAM: 1 GB
Storage: 20 GB

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11. Lubuntu

Lubuntu is a very popular lightweight Linux distro. It is a fast and energy-saving operating system which makes it ideal for low-end computers. It comes with an essential suite of apps like office and multimedia apps.

It gives you a complete desktop experience on low-end computers and laptops. The user interface is simple and clean, making it ideal for new users and Windows users.

System Requirement
Processor: Pentium II or Celeron
RAM: 128 MB
Storage: 2 GB

Get it Here

Conclusion

These are the best 11 Linux distros I have found which are best suitable and can be relied on for older laptops in 2022. There are other distros available but might not provide community support and regular updates.

About the author

Swapnil Tirthakar

A Software Engineer who loves football and passionate about traveling. I often spend my free time playing with gadgets and exploring new possibilities in tech world. I am Linux enthusiast and have about 6 years of experience in web development. I have good command on Python, Java, SQL and system security.